The nature of hand-craftsmanship often means the products created will cost more than those mass-produced, with prices rising even higher the more artistic and individual the piece. However, the thought of selling statement handmade crafts to rich people makes some makers feel uncomfortable. This is down to a variety of reasons, including the fear of losing sight of their vision by chasing the money, or not being from a wealthy background so feel intimidated, leading to a lack of confidence.
As a business owner you can’t afford to be bashful about making money. If you want to raise your prices or create gallery-quality pieces then the chances are high that your customer will be those who have a high level of disposable income, in other words rich people, when compared to the average low- or middle-income consumer who would have to save up or spread the cost to be able spend more on an expensive item as a special gift or treat for themselves.
If you are creating high-end artistic pieces you are going to have to find a way of getting comfortable selling your creations to an affluent customer. Even if you sell your high-end statement crafts through a gallery you may still have contact with collectors through in-person events or be asked to present your work at a craft fair.
Why does selling statement handmade crafts to rich people makes some makers feel uncomfortable?
Wealth is seen as an invite-only club open to the privileged few. When you add society’s complex relationship with money and those who have it, purposefully targeting a rich customer can come across as crass. We don’t like to appear to want to do so because of what others may think; that we’re greedy, a selllout or have high opinions of ourselves and so forth. But you’d be wise to keep in mind that throughout the centuries artists and artisans have benefitted from having the patronage of wealthy customers. It has enabled the realisation of important works of art and craft. For today’s makers, focusing on producing high-end statement pieces or offering them in addition to their affordable volume pieces can make smart financial sense by diversifying the sources of income.
If selling your statement handmade crafts to rich people makes you feel uncomfortable, here’s what to do:
Build your confidence
The key to selling your crafts to rich people, or any other customer demographic for that matter, is confidence. I know this is stating the obvious, but confidence matters and this stems from valuing what your work is worth. A reluctance to charge high-end prices is often tied to a fear of rejection, which gives rise to an inferiority complex around your work not being good enough to attract those who can afford what it’s worth. Of not knowing what to say or how to behave around rich people. If this is you, remember you are not your customer and you do not have to be wealthy yourself to sell at this higher level of the craft market.
Look the part
How you present your statement crafts both on and offline is crucial. It’s one thing if an affluent customer sees your work in person in a gallery or at a craft market and buys it there and then, and another thing entirely if they see your work digitally and have to judge if it’s worth investing in without being able to physically assess it. Either way our in-person and digital presence have to reassure the customer, giving them the confidence it is worth the investment. Your brand and portfolio has to look the part, so investing in professional presentation and communication become a priority.
Confront the stereotypes surrounding rich people
When we think of rich people our perceptions are often shaped by media, which likes to portray images of snooty aristocrats, entitled celebrities or megalomaniac billionaires. No wonder we can feel uncomfortable selling our work at this level. Step outside these depictions, however, and you will see that there are many weathly people going about their business just like everyone else. The only difference being they have more money to spend on the things they love, including investing in collectible statement handmade craft. There are different types of rich people from the modestly wealthy to the super-rich. Some may have inherited their wealth, while others may have more in common with you and me, individuals who took an idea or skill and turned it into a business. In their case a financially successful venture, meaning they understand you and empathise with you more than you know. So think of that when selling to affluent customers.
Take the time to understand the affluent customer
Successfully selling your high-end statement crafts requires understanding your customer, and targeting an affluent customer demographic is no different.. This involves carrying out research to gather the necessary data such as their age, location, income, job, publications they read and so forth. This data will help you brand your business and draw the right people towards your high-end creations. Those who can afford to pay for it. One great way to do this is to attend the markets and fairs that attract affluent customers and spend some time observing how the visitors interact with and respond to the work on display. Body language can reveal so much. And, if you are brave enough initiate a conversation with one or two people around you to get their opinions about a piece that is attracting a lot of interest.
As with selling to any customer, getting comfortable selling your high-priced handmade statement crafts to a wealthy customer takes practice. The more you do it the more comfortable, and therefore confident you will become.
– The Wonderfully Well Made Team