Promotion, promotion, promotion" or "Production, production, production"?  


Boxes of drawstrings packed and labelled in our studio
Boxes of small drawstrings, packed and labelled in our studio.

The last few weeks we have been quite focused (apart from our move) on getting some new products designed and produced and it's made me think a lot again about the endless cry of "Promotion, promotion, promotion" that goes up in most of the art/craft forums whenever someone complains that their work is not selling.

Here are some of the things we've been doing to get a limited number of really good new products on to our shop this upcoming summer and autumn.

  1. Designing new wraps - we have our first four pattern samples now and all four will need some changes and alterations before we can go into even a very small run. Initially we hope to have one or two patterns in half a dozen prints.
  2. Deciding which pictures will go on our new shoulder pouches, and which silks to combine them with. Then doing about 1500 prints.
  3. Negotiating with the factory making our D rings, clips and buckles for the bags - all in special sizes. Trying to get them to ship them - on time, or not on time. Just SHIP them!
  4. Negotiating over our laptop bags - endlessly. At this point this mainly consists of insisting that they are made on time and that delays are not okay.
  5. Getting the cushions organised again - this has been going on forever as we try out different designs and try to get them actually made. At last.
  6. Working on new tote bag samples with a very enthusiastic young woman in Hong Kong. Who is convinced we also need glasses cases.
  7. Doing the first designs for needlepoint cushion samples. Trying to get one of our Bohemian Cats pictures to look right at 20 stitches to the inch in 20 colours is proving challenging!
Some of these things are tedious, but others are the exciting part of design - I love doing new patterns and pictures. The point is that they are all very demanding of design, production, communication and organisational skills. But they're the very most important, central part of the work of any studio business.

Next time someone tells you about their ideas, ask them about how they will put those into production. There's a common fallacy that creativity is mostly about coming up with good ideas and then marketing them well. The reality is that ideas are easy. It's getting them designed and produced to high quality, at the right price and in a repeatable way, is the hard part.

In the end, however good your marketing, branding, public relations and customer service, you'll sink or swim on the quality of your products.