Saturday, October 25, 2008

story of your work

Yesterday, when I blogged about my latest cuff, fellow beadweaver Kerrie Slade said something that meshed with a line of thought on my horizon: "That's a pretty amazing piece Sarah, the cuff, the photos, the story - well done!"

It's the part about the story. I signed up for David Weiman's free Jewelry Seller Newsletter a few weeks ago and on the 10th he did an article about telling the story of your product.

Etsy sellers tend to keep their listings short, because people sometimes don't even read the entire listing! Me, I'll read the listing, the profile, the shop policies, their blog, the listing next to the one I'm interested in, the shop announcement . . . You get the idea!

When I had my 100th post giveaway and asked for comments to improve my blog, one commenter said that I wrote too much. On some front I'm sure they were right, and yet, I find myself on blogs where each post is a paragraph long wondering why people bother to blog if they aren't going to blog. I've already resigned myself to writing for readers, people who, if they weren't reading my blog would be reading someone else's, or the news, or a treasured story or the back of the cereal box. You know who you are . . .

I've found with friends that they want to know the story of a piece. They want to know what the beads are and where they came from, even if they'll forget 80% of what I tell them, they'll pass 20% on to everyone who admires the piece.

I frequently compliment people's jewelry because that's what I notice. When I do, I pretty much expect them to tell me that they inherited it from their mother who was a great beauty with classic 20's taste, or from their mother-in-law who was born in India or that they bought it on a cruise and it was the only opal piece the store had that would fit. I like knowing these things. It interests me.

Weimen says that when people are really interested, they'll read long copy and if they'll read long copy, surely they'll listen to the story at a show. He goes so far as to claim that the story makes the piece special, enhances value. He says, "Given several similar alternatives, the story behind your products and services may make all the difference to a prospect."

Perhaps, but I have an issue with discerning who is open to listening and who isn't. It's embarassing to start telling someone something you think they're interested in and they cut you off . . .

So what do you think? How big a selling point is a story when you shop? How much is too much? When you're selling how do you play it? Does it make a difference if your selling in person vs. on line? Or to friends?

Daily Dose of Art:


  1. I think it is important to tell the story. I'm a writer and I tend to be long winded, so I'm with you. But, I think practicing conciseness could be of benefit. It might enable you to tell the same thing with not so many words.

    Or, get the most important things said in the first couple of sentences and elaborate more in the body of your piece. That way you can be assured that those who are only going to read the first part have the same info as those who read the whole thing.

  2. My BIL said that when they had their jewelry store, they loved the artists that would bring in post cards or notes to go along with their pieces that would tell "the story". He said it was a great selling point and the majority of people really enjoyed reading the story behind the piece. It made the piece that much more unique and special.

  3. Interesting post, one that makes me think. I'm one of those one paragraph bloggers, I'm afraid of boring people! Your posts are always interesting and never too long. I think I'll try your way next time, and see if it makes a difference. Thanks for the perspective.

  4. I love to tell a story when I sell my jewelry. In fact, I tell two stories in my Etsy listings... one about the inspiration, and one about the materials.

    I really dislike it when I look at an item and the seller has said almost nothing about it.

    A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I'd like the picture AND the words, please!

  5. I like hearing stories behind pieces. After all, the story is part of what makes it art!

  6. Making each piece a story is very important to me..and from comments I get I think it is part of what has made me a success on Etsy especially...I agree, keep writing, keep telling your stories:)

  7. Melody-- I have to confess, your paragraphs are some of the most interesting! I read all your posts. You have a way with word!