I have been reading a lot of post lately, frustrated doll artists who are struggling with sales. Many are newish to this, some have been around awhile.
I have not been doing this very long but I have been making art in general a long time. I don’t like the marketing and sales component, I hate putting a number on my work that sets a value, it feels…yucky but the reality is money is liquid creativity and in order to keep creating you have to generate a little money or win the lottery.
I wrote this in another thread and thought I would share it in hopes that it might be helpful to someone else. I am not an expert, like everyone else I ride out the slow times and celebrate when things pick up.
I hear a lot of people feeling frustrated about this.
I do well on both Etsy and Reborns.com
I make babies for the pleasure of it, my style is slowly developing and I suspect it will keep evolving, I think that is fun.
Slow times happen but if things are slow for and you find yourself blaming the market, you might want to pause and consider that you might need to tweak your game a little.
Buyers are picky because they can be, there are so many babies to choose from.
-Is your photography clean, well lit, free of personal items in the background? Are you providing photos of top of head, left and right side, feet, full body?
-Are you styling your baby in a way that will be appealing not just to you but across the board. Sometimes keeping babies styled simply if you haven’t established a style is the best way to go.
-Have you compared your baby to other babies that are the same kit and artists who are at the same skill level as you? How are they selling, what are their prices like, are you competitive or at the same price point?
-Are you being honest with yourself about your skill level? What are the areas you need improving, what can you do to get to a place where you feel really confident? What are your strengths and how can you show those off with photography and description?
-What sets your baby apart from everyone else baby? Do you have a personal style? Is there something about your babies that stands out like great hair painting, superb rooting, do you have a painting technique that gives your babies a unique look?
Research some prototype artists and look at their work, what makes them unique?
Remember it is ok to be inspired but you need to find your own mojo.
Ladonna Briggs: she is know for making beautiful vintage babies, she shops for unique vintage clothing and accessories. She has a background in restoration so she paints in a way that reminds you of old composition dolls. She has a unique hair painting style.
Bean Shanine: She does alternative art babies, she paints with thick bold color, her babies have crazy hair and unusual eyes, they are all dressed in fun mismatched outfits, they are fun and wild, and no one else uses the color she uses the way she does, she has the eye and the heart of an artists, she makes babies that please her and she finds people that connect with that.
Cierra Watson: She specializes in AA babies, she styles her babies simply so that the doll is the focus of your attention, her skin tones are flawless and glow, no one does AA skin like she does, she has worked really hard to perfect it. She also roots beautifully. She prices her babies fairly, she is humble and kind.
These are just three examples. You would know their babies by looking at them and you would never say, “she paints like…”
To find your style and set yourself apart write down what your dream baby looks like? Do you like ethnic skin tones, fair babies? do you like big kissy lips, dolly faces, big toddlers? What kind of dolls did you love as a child? What kind of dolls do you tend to be drawn to? What colors appeal to you most? If you didn’t have to worry about selling a baby ever and money wasn’t an issue what kind of babies would you make?
Take time away from trying to be a reborn “artist” take time away from creating a “nursery” and just be alone with a kit, some paint, music you like and just paint a baby you love, see what happens.
This should be fun, and be self expression, we are not a factory or a sweat shop, we are people making things with our hands and hearts, that is what makes these babies so special.
We should have a thread here where people can get some feedback and feel safe to ask for that. In order to do that the people who offer feedback will have to have the language to do that, be honest, kind, helpful, and not judgmental.
Remember that this is not a competition, we are all on the same team, when one of us wins we all win, we need to lift each other up and we need to keep this fun, dolls
are historically play things, and no matter how old you are you have to keep playing, be playful.
I have been listening and reading and a couple artists seem to feel that taking other artists down will build them up somehow, that never works, good expands, what you put out will find its way back to you so let’s be kind and honest.
Thank you for indulging me, I never outgrew being the bossy know-it-all big sister.