Sunday 31 October 2010

A Way With Words

Two weeks ago, in my post The far east challenge, I asked your ideas about how to compete with the low prices of our far east Etsy colleagues. Several of you responded with very bright insights in the matter and I wanted to thank you all.
One of the comments that spoke most to me, was Ingermaaike's. She says, among other things:
The story is vital, the product is of course a product but also a piece of an illusion, an idyll. This is something we all need to make better use of :)
Yes, I couldn't agree more, we need to sell the story, more than the product self.

To illustrate this, a funny example of a purchase of mine. I had seen 'candlewicking' mentioned a couple of times as an old historic american craft, so when I saw a candlewicking pillow kit on Etsy, I read the product
describing on the kit. It went like this:
'This lovely pillow kit is a combination of 2 American traditions. The design is based on a documented example of nineteenth-century folk art in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center in Williamsburg, Virginia. Included is a picture of the actual design along with its fascinating origin and rich early american history.'

So, I bought it and when the kit arrived, said candlewicking was revealed to be (mostly) french knots.

Self I would have described the item as follows:
Embroidery kit of a traditional motive executed in french knots with white thread on white muslin.

Accurate?: Sure. Would I have bought the kit?: I don't think so.

We have a lot to learn, people. Besides creativity and photographic skills, we need also a way with words.
Oh dear...

In the mean time, I am making french knots to my heart's content. Kind of zen, really. They should call them Washington knots for maximum patriotic effect, though...


  1. Agree with you totally. But I yet have to find my way with words :)

    Thankfully there are a few people on Etsy I can learn from ;)

    And the kit looks lovely. Have fun !

  2. Thank you for this post!

    But I'm afraid, I'd feel a bit disappointed to find something rather common behind the words suggesting something really unique ...

    And I have bad experience with one of my customers, when some of my sea stones looked more beautiful in my pictures as they were in reality

  3. yes, something to think about more!

  4. yes, I think you are right... We have to sell an image, a special world, not a simple product. As a scientist working with facts only, I am doing very hard with this....

  5. I rather have it the opposite way, less marketing but a very good product. So you don't get disappionted when it arrives. You need to make customers that come back, not hardselling !

  6. thanks for this post. I think (listening to Rita's words too), it is best to try and find a balance between way with words and ofcourse the quality and uniqueness of the product. I get some hilarious images of shallow products (not 1 in particular) with a wonderful story with it. Would be very ironic. But to provide your audience with the feeling of a product-on-a-distance is very important I agree. On the other hand: I often see products on Etsy for instance, selling well, without 1 word going with it (perhaps I am bit exaggerating here, having my way with words lol).....
    But you made us think Star, and Inger too, and Rita too. And thats what is all about. We all have the opportunity to fill it in as we think fits.



  7. I am so inspired by you and your endless quest to learn new techniques and produce more unique and gorgeous items!

    Quality materials and unique products help you compete with the east. Not everyone is aware of the amount of time certain techniques require so to have that info in your listing would be a plus I think.

  8. Thanks for this very interesting post! I always tell myself next listing I will focuse on a story to depict my jewelry...but every time I failed, maybe I'm too lazy.
    I also agree with Rita, Sandra and Nancy, I don't want my customers to be disappointed...another equilibrium to find!