The Virtual Guild for Sellers
Clayers love to ‘travel in packs’. There is something about the medium that just seems to invite interaction to show and tell, to share, to help, to teach, to stretch artistically, and to network. We do that face-to-face in guilds, and we do it online through blogs, flickr, forums, and virtual guilds. For many people, the virtual guild is their key source of information, assistance, exploration, and a way to tap into the wealth of experience available.
Once one has moved into the world of selling their work, there is a whole new list of questions, issues, problems and concerns to be addressed in order to take care of the business side of things. Here, too, a virtual guild has a role to play.
My personal experience with a polymer clay guild that is geared to supporting the business person as well as the artist, is the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of etsy, aka PCAGOE. Every single member of the guild is also a business person. While a ‘bricks and mortar’ guild can only spend so much time talking about selling, in our etsy guild we can emphasize that because it’s why the guild exists. The virtual guild geared towards supporting sellers provides a wealth of information about how to access and use social media, how to use the selling tools on etsy, customer service issues, pricing issues, contractual issues, wholesaling versus retailing, photography, etc.
As a seller, one of the biggest and most important aspects of the virtual guild geared for sellers, is that it can function much like a co-operative. We have the opportunity to find out who is skilled in what areas, and leveraging those skills. Everyone brings some kind of expertise to the table and no one needs to be a jack-of-all-trades right out the gate as an etsy seller. The virtual guild provides a roster of folks who have your back and help you learn the ropes of running a small business.