You're busting your butt doing a craft show on a hot and humid Saturday.
Your booth catches the eyes of two women and they walk over.
They look interested!
They flip your product over and look for a price tag.
Oh uh, sticker shock.
They don't quite notice you standing there in your booth.
One of them whispers too loudly to their friend, “I could make this myself” and walks away.
Kind of stings, doesn't it?
This is definitely one of those roll-your-eyes moments.
Or imagine for a second what it's like in my handmade jewelry business, where my primary medium is polymer clay.
You can buy 2 ounce blocks of polymer clay in any color you desire at virtually any craft store in the US for under $3 each.
The price of my material cost is a known fact to many polymer clay hobbyists.
And hobbyists know that I'm only using a small fraction of a 2 ounce block of clay to make one $28 necklace.
They also think they could make the jewelry that I make for a living.
This is an important discussion to have, especially with the recent viral video where an art curator explains why you couldn't really make that art.
I bet at some point in your creative business, you've had someone say this to you too.
“I could make that.”
I asked a few creatives in my private Facebook mastermind group how they would respond to this
Here are a few brilliant answers (that I think are better than the response from the video linked above):
Dolores Shier from D'licious Treats: When I first started selling my baking I got that all the time. They not only said that. But they would point out they could do it for cheaper, as they scowled at me. I would smile and say I'm sure you could. But beleive it or not the comments didn't bother me as much as the way they looked at me when they said it. But I stuck it out and now I get” wow” I'm sure glad your doing the baking so I don't have to.
Kyle Looby, Fickle Fox Design Co: I hear it a lot at craft shows. I just smile and say you should try-it's really fun. But this took me xx number of hours to make so if you don't have the time or money to invest in the tools I use to make it, you might want to consider buying this one and doing something you really want to do with your time. And lots of times they didn't realize how much money and time went into it and they buy my item.
Nandi Duszynski from Bliss Joy Bull: It seems to come from people who are seamstresses themselves (I make clothing and accessories). I've said something in the vein of it's not easy, is it? Also, it's fun! I love to sew. And try to engage them and talk about sewing. These interactions have also made me thought of selling sewing patterns, so people COULD actually “do that”. I have yet to start on that endeavor!
Krista Nolan-Benskin, Dazzling Peacock: I would say how I often think the same thing when looking at other booths, but then have to ask myself, “Do I have the time to make it myself?“
Vanessa Jimenez, Lala's Party: I've never had anyone say it directly but I have had people write it in comments on Pinterest. At first it annoyed me but now I don't worry too much because most people on Pinterest don't actually do the DIY-ing and just go buy it lol.
People who think they could make it themselves are not your ideal customers
Unless you're selling instructions, patterns or teach classes that show people how to make your craft, these people are never going to be customers who will buy your finished products.
There's nothing wrong with them.
They're just not the right people for you.
I normally take a cheerful position when responding to “I could make that” comments.
It's unlikely they'll ever buy something from me, but there's no point trying to set someone straight and risk getting into an ugly argument.
It's all part of providing amazing customer service, even to people who aren't your customers.
I would say:
Yes! You probably could make this yourself. You can get all the materials you need at Michaels or Joann craft stores and you can bake the clay in your own kitchen oven. It's totally safe.
The positive note leaves them feeling nice inside (maybe even empowered?), and you always want people to leave with a positive, lasting impression of you and your brand.
Even when they say distasteful or tacky things to you.
If they're truly inspired by your work, they'll try to actually make it themselves.
But they're going to have an epic fail and as a result, they'll have deeper respect and appreciation for your skill and craftsmanship.
Let people think what they want to think.
It's not our position as makers and artists to educate our customers about life.
But you can be that person that makes them feel good.
How would you respond to “I could make that”?
Let me know in the comments below!