While designing new work can be time consuming and complicated, it’s important to go step-by-step, deliberately and thoughtfully creating work that will sell.
Design is evolution, not revolution
Take a look at what you have made so far. Find the best piece in your collection, and follow that style by changing proportions and colors. Every product line begins with one or two great ideas and grows into a group of complementary pieces.
Like branches on a tree, the core elements of your design concept are used to develop related items that work well with the major pieces that anchor the line. Then, because product development never ends, you will find yourself making adjustments – adding to your line, improving it, honing it to make each piece an integral part of your collection that also stands alone.
With every item or idea, include features that require hand fabrication—things that can’t be stamped out, quickly molded, or printed to achieve the same look or effect. If your work requires hobby level skills like assembly, arrangement or another skill that can be learned quickly by a hobbyist, you’ll have trouble selling it at a high enough value.
Are your skills excellent? You must master the ability to make your line professionally in order to have a collection that will sell and command a profitable price. Keep up with best practices, and continue to expand your abilities. Whether you take classes, workshops, or put in long hours in the studio perfecting your techniques, it is essential that your skill level is the best it can be when making your handmade work.
Avoid making your work too simple
Basic forms and shapes, and simple handmade pieces don’t have that important signature look, and their perceived value is lower than more complex, unusual pieces. “Simple” can be easily competed with by imports, which will sell for less. Don’t compete with mass-produced work that has a similar look. You have skills to make your work different and unusual, so use them in designing your line. What is the concept behind your designs? How does your work express this concept, and do people “get” it?