Words of wisdom from the Felt hivemind

Over the years we’ve asked sellers on Felt to share their advice about selling online, running a business, and living a creative life. These talented people have done the hard yards, scaled the learning curve, and responded with absolute gold. The collective wisdom on Felt is invaluable, whether you’re already established, or just starting out. And sometimes it’s just nice to know that others share similar values, face the same challenges, and find joy in the same things. So, here is the first instalment in a Felt Tips series, straight from our hardworking hivemind!

 
Photo by Elena Putina on Unsplash

On motivation, confidence, and purpose


“My advice would be not to compare yourselves to others, everyone is at a different point in their journey and that’s important to remember.” Danilo R Reyes

“Pick something you have a real passion for. It is not always easy starting out but if you are making something you truly love and believe in, it is worth the setbacks.” Angela, Pale Grey Skies

“If you have a strong passion for making something and know what you really want to do, don’t think too much, just keep going! That way might be not easy, hard sometimes, but trust yourself and have fun. You will not have regrets, it’s all worth it, enjoy!” Maki, Sew Mama

“You’ll learn more once you start doing it than you ever will researching and wondering, so go for it. You won’t start out 100% how you want to be or exactly where you want to end up, but every step you take along the way will get there. Also, I believe in you 🙂” Fiona, Fantail and Co Jewellery

“Just do it! Putting your work out into the world is the hardest step but once you have done that, you will realise that it wasn’t so hard after all. Then you’ll be ready to take the next step and the next…” Sarah Greig

“If you love what you do the rest will come, what you really need is a true passion for your craft. The old saying “if you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life,” might be corny but it is so true!” Qi, Coast Craft

“Don’t give up. You may not get a sale right away. Not everyone will want/need your handmade item. Some may not even like what you make. That’s fine, they’re not YOUR customers. But it’s your job to find your people. Post regularly to get your work out there. Keep making, always.” Kelly Vize

 

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On running a business


“Remain organised from the start, especially around keeping track of orders and matching payments from customers. I’ve learned to do this along the way, as I’m naturally disorganised. Also be realistic about what you commit to within specific timeframes.” Rob, Wooden Kiwi

“More often than not, you don’t need all the fancy tools and equipment, start with the basics. Especially when you’re starting out if you can, use what you already have and then eventually you can slowly start to purchase the fancy tools! Don’t feel like you have to quit your day job and become a full time craft business – unless of course this is something you want!” Sally-Mae, Shapes by Sal

“Personally, once I had hired an accountant all the pressure of ‘the business’ just melted away. I am not good with numbers and definitely not good with ‘a plan’ either. So, I’m probably not the best person to take advice from… but I guess the main things are: Take it slowly, make sure you continue to enjoy your craft, use social media to its fullest (after all, it’s free publicity), take good photos (advice I need to heed myself), and get a fantastic accountant.” Hayley, The Art Room

“I think continuation is a key ingredient to being successful in a crafty business. You need to keep doing whatever you do for a very long time. People will notice when you are producing something unique and are faithful to yourself and to people – you will build your own clientele over the years. You just need to keep going.” Eiko, Studio A and Co

“It will likely take longer than your business plan expects to get where you want to go. Enjoy your encounters and the changes along the way – the reason will become clear!” Jennifer Strange

 

On valuing your work


“Do not sell yourself short. Your work is worthwhile, your time is valuable. Make sure you price your work properly to reflect that.” Hilary, Wellhandled Ceramics

 

On balancing work life and home life


“Stay focused on your goals. We creatives tend to become distracted by our abundance of ideas. Stick with the plan until you are in the best position to diversify. Also, keep good boundaries between work and play. When your work is something you love to do, it’s easy to just keep on working and, before you know it, the balance swings away from playtime. So take as much care of yourself as you do of your business. Oh, and never lose that spark of madness.” Karen, Nuku

“There’s a lot more work involved than you think. It takes a lot of time and dedication. Don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t grow as fast as you expected. Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Mike, Walker’s Woodturning

 

On community, connection, and finding your people


“Be nice to other crafters and stallholders, they are on a similar journey and everyone is battling unknown issues and challenges which may not be obvious to us. Collaborate instead of competing with others, take risks, and find out what works and what doesn’t.” Andy, Fat Spatula

“One awesome thing for me has been that my partner has a creative business too, so we’ll go for a walk on the beach and chat about hard lessons and learn from each other’s strengths, as well as discuss creative ideas. So my advice would be to find someone who has a crafty job that is completely different to what you do, because there’s a lot of cross-over lessons you can learn from each other, and no conflict of interest sharing-wise!” Astrid, Plum Billy

 

On showing your best side


“One thing that Felt pushes is to have good photos, so I got some good photos. And then the sales started happening. All my photos are taken with my Samsung S10 – lighting is the key.” Matt, Liberation Jewellery

“Know your ‘story’, work out your niche and what makes you different.” Suzie, Curlicue NZ

 

Photo by Lala Azizli on Unsplash

On professional practice, upskilling, and learning


“Do your research into the market. Learn all you can about what it is you are wanting to do. Find people that you can bounce ideas off and test the market. Never forget the reason why you started and never stop telling your story.” David, WoodgrainNZ

“Ask for constructive criticism. My long-suffering family (aka the artist’s unpaid advisory committee), are frequently asked questions like – ‘does this look cute, or just weird?’ A fresh eye is incredibly helpful sometimes after you’ve been working on something for hours.” Sarah, Mousewhisker Studio

 

On creativity, originality, and inspiration


“Limitations are a perfect excuse for creativity.” Adele Stewart

“Just keep going and never stop learning. Be open and remain humble to being teachable. Criticism is really hard not to take personally but I am learning to sift through to find the gold in the critiques. The more I continue in this creative journey the more I realise how much I don’t know. Fibre art in particular is vast and the forms it can take are numerous. I am continually searching and practising to find my particular signature and niche.” Gina, Luxi Home NZ

“My advice is to take your own path and stick to it. It can be quite competitive – so find a point of difference and work that. Follow the things that make you passionate – that keep you awake at night with excitement (oh that didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it to!). If you believe in what you are doing, then other people will as well.” Cathy, Tuahiwi Botanicals

 

On Felt


“Felt is a fantastic platform that allows me to showcase my work to a large audience and has helped me in realising my dream of starting my own business. If you are starting out, you know where to showcase your creations.” Nina, CodeKiddie

 

We’re so grateful to everyone who has shared what they’ve learnt from selling their work. If you have some advice, an experience, or a handy tip to share, comment below!

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