Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quantity vs. Creativity

Those of you selling your jewelry online know what I mean when I say that it's a buyer's market. I've been perusing Etsy a lot (even though my fiance says is kills my creativity, he's right ya' know) and I've noticed a lot of shops with a lot of work in them, I'm talking 9 or 10 pages of listings. Some jewelry, and some pottery, handbags, etc...

But what I've noticed is that most of the items all seem to be exactly the same (the wrapped briolette comes to mind). Now, I'm not talking about one person doing the same thing in a variety of colors, but I'm talking about the same design spanning many different designers. I do understand the concept of creating a brand and marketing yourself along a specific vein, but I always had this idea when I opened my Etsy shop that I wanted to really do one of a kind. That someone who purchased something from me could be sure that no one anywhere would own the same thing.

And then it dawned on me as I was perusing one of those fashion mags at the grocery store. I don't know if we can do one-of-a-kind. I wonder if we've become such an I-wanna-look-like-her culture that we gravitate immediately to what is trendy and not necessarily what speaks to us as art.

And so I struggle with wanting to make things that I know will sell, or to make things that to me look like art. Art that a person can wear and be proud of wearing while saying..."Yep, it's one of a kind." So, what do I do? Do I go with quantity and pack my shop with 9 pages of the latest trends, or do I stick with creativity and only create things that I'm totally proud to put out there and say it's mine?

I have to refer to a wiser woman on this one who told me at the beginning of this endeavor that if for one moment I started bowing to trends and creating to get sales that I should stop. I agree with her completely, and I make sure that I'm telling myself that everyday.

If it's a question of quantity vs. creativity...I'm stickin' with creativity.


  1. I agree with you, stick with creativity! Your pieces are gorgeous and one-of-a-kind! Keep up the great work and stick with what you love to do!

  2. I agree as well your work is "one of a kind" and first I think it might squash creativity if you mass produce an item because it loses its flow but... if quanity of sales is your goal then you have to decide. I don't sell I like unique pieces each one speaks to me. If I had unlimited funds I would be snapping up some of your creations in a minute because they speak to me too! Go with whats in your heart!

  3. I forgot I love the new look!

  4. I am struggling with this right now myself. And I am in the midst of opening my own shop (have yet to put one thing out there...for fear of just what you are talking about!). I am all for creativity. I think my Etsy shop will be light in the offerings, but tops in the quality and uniqueness (is that even a word?).
    Love the new header. It is totally you.

    Enjoy the day!

  5. ... and you're really really good at it.

  6. Listen to the wise woman. Go with your beautiful creative spirit. But I do know what you mean about getting into the Etsy thing and you look at the work of 'top' sellers. But I really think you will be happiest if you go with what speaks to you. Your work is unique, beautiful, and expresses you.

  7. I think do what feels right.
    If making the same design in every color scheme you can imagine feels good to an artist, then go for it. If only making a design once feels right then do that.

    I tend to love to do the first option. I like to make similar things in series... Or make the same bead and see how many different ways I can use it, or play with color. I see it as building off the first idea.

    All kinds of people you know.

  8. Listen to the whispers, follow what you feel is right. Your designs are creative, they are just beautiful... I'm a fan :0) . Your business will grow from strength to strength if you believe in your work and create what speaks to you.

    I sometimes get a tad stressed when I browse Etsy and see all the talented jewelry designers and their fantastic designs, but at the end of the day, I can only create what is inside me, my vision.

    Seed beads rule :0) Wishing you a magical weekend...

  9. Interesting post and thoughts. And you put my feelings when I look at all those etsy-shops in such elaborate words. But please stick with quality, quantity might pay the bills in the short run but in the long run it dosen't make happy. Neither you nor the customer. I just have to think about my scarf-collection. The only ones I really appreaciate after so many years are the designer-pieces who cost me a fortune then, but I worn them so many times that it was a good bargain:-)

    regards Stefanie

  10. This is a very good post and worthy of a discussion, not just a blog comment. But I would like to express my opinion here.

    All of your points are very valid ones and it is quite possible to get to the point where one can successfully create unique, one of a kind designs, from the heart and do so comfortably.

    By comfortably I mean earn money to provide for one's creativity with the supplies necessary to complete projects and live well off their earnings. It does happen, and if it is someone's dream to do so they should go for it with all their might.

    But keep your day job.
    You know, the one that pays the bills and provides food and clothing and other necessary provisions?

    My day job is catering to the trends. I search for colors that are being worn a lot, shapes that are repeated in fashion and interior design and "looks" that are being sold in magazines. "Following" these trends has allowed me to provide for my family. I still get to create and I do not have to work a third shift at Walmart which is where my level of education would put me.

    There is always the need to be individualistic and I encourage that in everyone but there is also comfort in numbers. Because we are all really the same.
    Do you see?

    So much more to say, but I don't want to take up that much space in your blog comments!
    Love you and your work!

  11. Thank you so much for posting that. I couldn't have said it better. I have thought(occasionally) for a long time that maybe I should give up what I'm creating to make things that would be less expensive and quicker/easier to mass produce and therefore, make more money. But, I can't do that. It's not in me. Each piece I create is unique. I couldn't be a mass producer artist (I don't even know if there is such a thing). Because of other things in my life, I don't have time to upload hundreds of items to my web store. But I love creating my art and eventhough I won't get rich or famous, I will continue! Rock on!!