“How do you go about selling your work?” That’s the question asked of me at every workshop and lecture I give and it’s truly one of my favorites to answer and discuss in depth. Social-media marketing takes time . . . lots of time. Time = money. As a full-time potter/artist, that’s the truth. To discuss selling and connecting with customers via social media we must backtrack to the beginning steps to streamline this process.
I’m a list maker, through and through. If I didn’t make lists, my ADHD would completely take over and I’d be running around like a chicken with my head cut off not knowing what to do next.
I use the Notes app on my iPhone to create a note labeled “Deadlines” with the current year. At the top of that note I add in dates I plan on having a new webshop update open to the public. From there I figure out when those updates go live to my mailing list. Then finally, a deadline to have all images and descriptions of work for sale uploaded to my website, to send out marketing emails, and post images to social media.
On another note labeled “Daily to-do lists” I add my personal deadlines; when firings need to be completed, when photos and videos should be taken, followed by photos edited, images uploaded to my site, and related social-media postings.
Truth be told, I edit all of my images and videos on my phone…while taking a bath. Yup, you read that right. If you can make a part of your process more enjoyable and relaxing, why not do that? Using the iPhone Photos app I edit the lighting, contrast, and color of images to make the pots truer to life. I utilize editing apps such as VSCO, Retouch, and InShot to further enhance images.
Let’s say the current date is October 15 and I know I’m having a shop update on November 27, I will begin marketing the sale via social media immediately on October 15. Posting in-progress shots, techniques, finished work, and any other teasers I can think of. On those posts, I always attempt to bump up my mailing list by letting my audience know they’ll receive early access to my sales before they go live to the public if they sign up. We’ve seen social-media apps go in and out of style (remember MySpace?), so ensuring my email list is increasing is of utmost importance. I use Bio Sites, a free app through my Squarespace website subscription, to add one link that takes you to several different links, to all of my social-media platform profiles. Bio Sites is similar to Linktree, just a bit more design friendly.
With all of this said, I use social media as a means to connect with other makers, art admirers, friends, and collectors. I see it as a means to share what’s going on in my life, work I’m making, exciting upcoming events, hardships, and more. Everyone decides how they present themselves and their work differently, and that’s totally okay! Some of my friends have multiple social-media accounts for sharing their ceramics, sewing, and personal lives. I’ve always seen all these aspects of my life as one. To truly understand my work you need to understand my life—my full life.
In between shop updates, I do get messages from followers asking if I have more specific pieces available. I will always respond to those DMs and make any and all work available that’s finished and also take on commissions. This is a great way to get to know individuals within my audience even more and I adore these interactions.
All these bits of information work well for me and they bring me joy. If any of these steps in my process stress you out, then don’t do them! Change your own algorithm to sell and market. Everyone has their own way of engineering these processes that work for them. I want to ensure my bills are paid (including my dreaded student loans), I can go out to eat about once a week, buy my two dogs all the treats and toys, and add a bit of money into a retirement account (VERY important to do this as a self-employed artist). My number one life goal: ensure I’m living a happy life, as much as possible.
Didem Mert (she/they) was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received her BFA (ceramics) from Northern Kentucky University in 2014 and her MFA (ceramics) from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2017. They currently live in Sebastopol, California, and work as a full-time studio potter and artist. To see more, visit www.didemmert.com and @didemmert_pottery on Instagram.