Let’s talk about quality sewing skills. Let’s face it, just like most people are average, most hand-made Ebay and Etsy items are average. That’s just a fact. But what makes something average versus awesome?

Is your work less impressive than others? If so, you need to be realistic about what you’re going to get at auction. Is it time to get a better product, learn a different technique, go back and take more classes. Are you making something exactly like a million other ladies? I love that quote by Dolf De Roos,

“Don’t learn the tricks of the trade, learn the trade”

I’m happy to admit that I’m not a great seamstress, in fact, it’s probably the weakest part of my work. So when I say you need to evaluate your skills, I’m not trying to be overly judgmental, or discourage you. Many of you are much better seamstresses than me.

But here’s the good news. You’re probably your own harshest critic. Sometimes this isn’t true, but lots of times artists are brutal with themselves, and the average person, not informed on the tradecraft, will look at the finished product and be very impressed. So go easy.

Get other people’s perspective. Take your best shot at selling, and if the response is flat, ask yourself the hard questions about quality. But maybe it’s just your listing that’s bad. Maybe it’s just your photography. Maybe it’s just your credibility indicators. Maybe it’s just your pricing strategy. That’s where the Auction Blueprint might come in handy. Remember the story about Picasso and the lady.

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

You’re Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.

So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

It’s perfect! she gushed. You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?

Five thousand dollars‘ the artist replied.

B-b-but, what? The woman sputtered. How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!

To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life”.

What’s the morale of the story? I suppose there are a couple of ideas that stand out. As an artist, people will always try to impose their reality upon you. Their price, they’re schedule, they’re ‘deal’. They’ll try to compare you to others, to explain to you why you shouldn’t get the price you want. You’ve got to know how your quality compares to others, and hold your ground. If it doesn’t compare well, keep working at it. But if it’s awesome, then stand firm.