Back when I made skincare just for the love of it (read: hobby), I never paid much attention to other artisan brands, whether it be food, tea, crafts, etc. and didn’t really grasp the concept of an artisan business. I went to work, I did my job, came home and made skincare on the weekends. I didn’t realize my role in their success.
It was at the urging of friends and family that made me step into the role of “official” artisan skincare maker and almost overnight, the gushing/admiration of friends and family wasn’t enough to sustain an actual business.
In most cases, your favorite indie/artisan brand LOVES what they make, they are passionate about it, they dream about it, they would (and have) worked for free just to do what they love. BUT, and this is a BIG but, they often go out of business within three years because they don’t have enough business to survive.
Case in point, I once tasted the most AMAZING homemade jam I ever ate in my life. It was being given out as a free sample in a little artisan shop I frequent. It was the kind of jam that would make you lie under oath or sell your relatives.
Fast forward 8 months.. we were at the same shop and I asked about the jam. “We didn’t sell enough and she (the maker) went out of business.” Those words hung in the air.
The same rules that apply to “big business” DO NOT APPLY TO ARTISANS…
If you love MAC spice lip liner and never talk about, they will be fine. In fact, they will Thrive. They have billions of Estee Lauder (parent company) dollars to back them.
Your favorite artisan brand does not. In fact, in most cases , they have put their neck on the line and gambled the family fortune to be in business for themselves. They stay up at night wondering if they have done the right thing.
You see, an artisan doesn’t have to be good Just at what they make, they have to also be good at social media, marketing, advertising and packaging. Large corporations have *departments* of experts that handle that, but your local artisan doesn’t.
That’s where you come in.
We live in a new economy where you, the consumer has much more power than ever before; comments on social media have a lot more value than an advertisement, but you have to exercise your viewpoint. We artisans live or die by opinions, votes, testimonials and recommendations.
In the vast universe of advertising, usually the one who has the most money (biggest budget) wins, Period.
If you love your indies, SHARE AND RECOMMEND THEM OFTEN. Your votes (recommendations) go out to the Universe and multiply. Your voice has the ability to propel a virtual unknown into the big leagues (or, at the very least, keep them in business). We can’t succeed without your support, it’s a delicate symbiotic relationship, and one we usually don’t feel comfortable with.
The next time you fall in love with something you find, whether it be at a farmer’s market, on Etsy, or somewhere else, shout it from the rooftops, or it may not be there the next time you go to shop.