So you like art / hand-made jewelry / custom wooden iPhone covers.
You’ve found an artist at a farmers market / on Facebook / in a little shop on the square and her stuff is right up your alley. You love to go check out her new stuff, even though right now you can’t afford it / have nowhere to put it / don’t need it. You always tell her how talented she is, which she greatly appreciates, but the thing is, to continue to do the awesome things that creatives do they need to at least occasionally sell things.
We tend to assume that our actions don’t make much of a difference, if we can’t afford to buy something we just admire it and move on. There’s obviously nothing wrong with that, nobody expects you to buy something you can’t afford or don’t really need, but there are a lots of small things you can do to support creatives, artists, and the economy as a whole (because artists buy things when they have money).
Like and Share
If your favorite creative is on Facebook, Twitter, Etsy, or has a website of their own you can be the best marketing tool they have. Don’t just comment and tell them how great their work is, share it with your friends. Most online shops make it super easy to share on social media with the click of a button.
If you don’t like it, don’t share it. Simple as that. But if you do, share away. You never know when one of your friends might be looking for just that thing and suddenly you’ve helped your friend find an awesome product and the artist get a sale, which results in her being able to create more art for you to look at and share. Congratulations, you’re part of organic marketing!
Similar to liking and sharing, only with less buttons. Don’t keep quiet about cool things you’ve found. Spread the word. Two friends having a conversation about the lack of cool phone covers? Tell them about that shop you like on Etsy. Find something you really love but don’t have a place for? Tell someone who might also love it and have just the right spot.
Put A Pin In It
Pinterest is an incredible tool for creatives to get their work out to lots of people, some of whom are probably looking for just that sort of thing. But it can be hard to get seen without others pinning as well. If they’ve pinned a piece of work that you like, by all means repin it. If they’ve provided a Pin It button on their website use it. It will link back to their site and potentially lead to a sale.
I know what I said, but you’re going to spend money at some point on something, right? Before you run to Wal-Mart for that birthday gift, anniversary card, replacement for your broken whatever, think local. And global. There are literally millions of creatives selling almost anything you can imagine online. A lot of them are little guys trying to make a living doing what they love, and one more sale can make a big difference.
If you live in an area with boutiques and farmers markets check them for gift options before you head to the big box store. Instead of waiting until the last-minute to buy a generic Valentines Day card head to Etsy a couple of weeks in advance and get something unique and maybe even customized sent right to your door.
This doesn’t just work for special occasion items either, almost anything you can think of is made my a craftsman somewhere. Soap, clothes, jewelry, belts, wallets, hats, music, scarves, shoes, make-up, bags, Beard Sauce, the list is literally endless. It may not work out every time, but if you look around before buying you’ll find there are tons of great options out there.
Vote with your dollars, no matter how small. Added bonus, you’re usually going to get a better quality item from a craftsman than from an assembly line in China.
The bottom line is this… the economy runs on the hard work of small businesses, craftsmen, creatives, and artists. Don’t assume that you can’t help that economy thrive. Before you ooh and aah and click away from something you love for lack of money, space, or need, ask yourself if there is one small action you can take to help promote that business. Just one thing.
This is obviously a short list of what you can do, an attempt to get the conversation started and keep it going. Give me more ideas in the comments, and then click one of those share buttons down there and help us get more people in the conversation!