Monday, November 22, 2010

Reasons to Share Your Secrets

I've always thought it best to be an open book (yes, pun intended) with everyone in my life. Personally and professionally, as a writer and designer, I try to be frank (when appropriate) and transparent (when possible).

For my own businesses, Beyond Junk and SleeplessStoryteller's Bits & Baubles, it's a committee of one. So it didn't take me long to decide that I would start to share instructions on how to make some of my jewellery designs that other crafters would be able to easily replicate.

These "Take a Page from Beyond Junk" articles will appear in the sidebar here at Beyond the Junkpile. The first one, "How to Make Quartz Earrings" is live over on the left.

I hesitated only because I've been conditioned by (some) other artists to protect proprietary knowledge. Don't tell anyone the secret ingredient, source, material, fill-in-the-blank-here bit of precious information. I've written about this on my other blog.

I also know that a lot of web-based businesses, many from Etsy, are posting endless articles with little substance, strictly for SEO benefits.

So while, yes, I do want to promote my shops, I also genuinely want to share what I make with anyone who might want to try it at home. I think that's what the handmade movement is all about. I don't think I would suffer creatively from competition or gain a huge advantage by artificially inflating my site.

Don't believe me? Read about the Nash Equilibrium theory.

To other artists, I say that not sharing what you love most about your art or craft isn't going to stop someone from copying your work. Sharing isn't going to give you a sharp advantage either. Do it because you want to be part of a creative conversation.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Beyond Junk is open for business!

I've finally started listing my first few bits of junk over on Etsy and I'm very excited. It's a soft launch; I won't be flooding the 'shelves' or doing a grand opening of any kind. I'll just keep adding treasures, slowly but surely. Keep checking back for more recycled crafting supplies as the store continues to grow.

Here are some of my first few listings: