I found a post on a forum I participate in, written by someone who just realized how big her competition is. Discouragement raised its ugly head. What to do?

Everyone in the handcraft industry has competition. We all have to deal with that.

I get discouraged, too. Does the world need yet another jewelry designer? Another fiber artist? More polymer clay widgets? I’m on major pain killers tonight and cannot spell tchochkes. Hey, I did it! But you’re going to have to suffer through my bad sentence structure and wandering points…. No spellcheck for those issues.

Back to competition. What do you do when people can buy what you make at the mall?

On one hand, there’s nothing new under the sun.

On the other hand, there’s no one else like YOU in the world!

Your product either has to be unique, or it has to be all about YOU.

By that I mean, it’s just as important to sell YOUR STORY as well as your product.

There will always be jillions of other people/companies selling soap, jewelry, clothing, whatever.

When people choose YOUR product, it’s because they perceive it as better in some way. It’s up to you to tell them why it’s better.

Perhaps because it’s made with loving hands, or because it’s made in smaller batches.  Maybe it’s nicer (how??) or maybe it’s for a good cause.  Maybe there’s a cute or poignant story behind your work.

Tell it.

This is your “hook”. It’s at the heart of your marketing.

I wrote a better article about how to get to this hook here.

Figure out what your “hook” is, believe in your product and believe in yourself.

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.


  1. You are right, there is a huge amount of competition for products and it is very difficult to have a product that is both unique and competitively priced.
    One thing they teach in business school is the idea of a competitive advantage. I think that is what you are talking about. You can compete on a lot of different levels price, quality, speed of delivery, quantity, etc.
    Marketing of course is quite complex and I could ramble on for a very long time.
    Regardless, you are spot on with your assesement of telling a story. Everyone likes to hear a story. I wrote a blog awhile back that was titled Tell Your Readers a Short Story. If you are interested in reading it, please do.


  2. Luann I have been reading your blog for about a year. I’ve commented a few times and I just have to say, that once again you have struck a chord with me. I went to bed wondering who was my audience? How could I contect with them? What would they like? What story can I build?
    This led to a very unrestful sleep. I woke up thinking why am I trying so hard to please the audience? I remember once you wrote “belive in your work and your audience will find you.” I think this is very true.
    So this morning after reading your latest entry and reading the “Why, why, why” entry again I find myself more centered and peacful about what I want to say with my work.

    So thank you for your words once again.
    Kind regards
    Deborah Hill


  3. Thank you, James, for the concept of competitive advantage–that is EXACTLY what I was trying to get at, and you put it succinctly. I look forward to reading your blog essay.
    Deborah, I apologize for giving you a sleepless night, but I’m delighted it’s given you insight into your next step forward. :^)


  4. Absolutely on target! I had a husband once (“had” is the operative word here) who is a photographer. When we first married, he didn’t let me pursue graduate school immediately. His reasoning: “someone has to work while I look for a job…because photographers are a dime a dozen.” I argued, pushed, encouraged him that you can be unique and stand out. I tried explaining what you just did at least thirty years ago (holy cow — am I that old!). If he read what you posted, I’m wondering how he would react?


  5. A long time ago I was forced to realize there’s more to running a business besides just the product. I started my business with literally no idea of how to run a business. Making jewelry was just the fun part of that process.

    3 years later, I’m making baby steps that I’m proud of. Selling my work is hard. It’s hard for any of us who do this. I’ve had my share of desperate moments when I just wanted to toss in the towel.

    Then one day I realized that even if I did toss in the towel, I will always make jewelry. I might have the most fabulous personal collection of jewelry, but I will make it. With or without a business.

    Recognizing that fact, it’s made it easier to run my business. I do not count on it as a sole source of income, which is probably easier on me than on those who do rely on it for a living. But knowing I can leave the business aspect behind and still have my hobby to satisfy my soul, I don’t worry so much about competition. Making jewelry feeds my soul.

    That’s enough for me. Anything else is a bonus.

    Love your site. Thanks for your thoughts and insight.


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