Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Importance of Listening to Your Customers...

One thing that having a flea market booth at Renningers in Mount Dora, Florida did for me was to help me hone my ability to listen to what people really want so I could sell it to them. I've learned, though, that sometimes what people WANT or LIKE and what they BUY are two different animals. When you're selling vintage items and stencilled burlap, you're got to get it right or you could be in the hole quite easily.

So I guess I had to learn to "listen between the lines." Because I already deal with nit-picky mandates in my day job as a teacher, I have no desire to create drama for myself trying to meet someone else's expectations. No "a quarter of an inch to the right and make it a little bigger" for me.  For that reason I prefer not to do custom work. I'd rather figure out what someone wants, make it and let them decide if what I made fits their vision. If not, so be it… someone else will want it.

Before a color wash was added

But that doesn't mean I don't listen. I just act on my terms in accordance with my artistic goals. For example, I know that people like particular sayings and that they like a subtle background. And in the case of the wings above, Mr. Vintage suggested a spot of color. So maybe I'm open to a bit of tweaking.  For the "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things" I got to select which background and which stencil I used.

I'm adding hunting and fishing designs for father's day presents [starting after Christmas] due to listening to people at the Fancy Flea looking for presents for the men in their lives. {Sorry, ladies that fish and hunt, I'm not trying to leave you out!} I also just started doing religious designs due to a request at the same show due to a sincere young lady looking for something less secular for her home. The response has been amazing.

Once again though, I don't do any work that compromises my sense of what I should be doing. Life is just too short to roll that way.Personally, I think I'm pretty lucky to get to work as I choose. It probably does cost me more in materials to offer such a wide variety but I think I make up for that in sales.

All in all, I think I'm one lucky girl. And you can bet I'm listening all the way home. : )


  1. I'm with you, I won't do custom orders either. I can see where religious saying would sell well, because you can't find them anywhere!


  2. Thanks for sharing that with me. I thought I was an anomoly in not doing them.