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What Makes Your Product Different ?

By Karen Booy
 As published in  CRAFTLINK Newsletter

While at an SCD (Society of Craft Designers) convention, I received the best advice for building my craft business.  It came from my crafting mentor and guru, Marie Browning.  I am not sure if she realized how much her simple advice affected my life and my business, but the repercussions of what she said resonates with me daily.  Her advice? "Karen, just be yourself!" We were talking about designing of course and Marie pointed out that the best designers had a "look" -- it was fresh, unique and not quite like anything or anyone else.  As Marie and I walked from one designer showcase to another, I saw what she meant.  Certain showcases just "popped" out at you, these designers had just expressed themselves, and their designs reflected that, while others just didn't have any "personality".

Start to think like a designer

The majority of crafters do not see themselves as a designer,  they purchase patterns, create the product and then take if off to the craft sale.  Are you one of these copycat crafters?  Well it is time to start thinking like a designer.  When you purchase a commercial pattern - use it as a starting point.  Instead of shopping to re-create the design look for ways to incorporate your style (you may want to give this some thought and ask yourself "What is my style?").  Start by choosing a color scheme and then go shopping for paint, fabric and accents to match.  Follow the basic design of the pattern but add your own embellishments this could turn a regular heavenly angel into a gardening angel.  Think about changing the pattern's style and transform a country bear into a Victorian one.  Make the pattern larger or smaller.   Tall and thin,  Short and fat.  I think you get the idea.  Start to flex your creativity muscle and soon you will find that soon all your products will be of your own design.

Just remember this: If you craft according to the designs of others you may arrive at a craft sale and have to compete with several other exhibitors who have done the same!

Action Plan -- Be daring - be different - be yourself

Take one commercial pattern and experiment with it.  Try to recreate it using different materials. colors or styles.  Don't be too critical, just play at it and have fun.  Then let your craft sit over night.  The next day look at it with fresh eyes - you may be surprised at how good a designer you actually are!

Remember creativity is like exercise - the more you do it - the less it hurts! Let me know how your creativity experiment turns out.

Crafting like crazy.


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