Monday, February 7, 2011

like an ostrich

this weekend i went into a new organic food shop in santa barbara and ordered a green food smoothie. when it was handed to me i saw the cup had a cardboard (throwaway) sleeve on it and so i took it off, politely handed it back while reaching in my bag for my own 'green sleeve'. feeling all happy and good about not adding to landfills. then, the owner came over and asked me:
did you make that? me: yes. he: i need to sell those here.

i immediately got that flustered, excited feeling and could feel my head lowering.

he was talking and i was looking for the door.

but i did ask (over my shoulder) "so i should bring some back?"

he: yes.

safely outside, still blushing furiously, i called my husband. guess what??
he: did you talk about money? me: no. he: did you discuss when you should come back?
me: no. he: are you sticking your head in the sand? (he didn't really say this, but i felt it)
me: yes.


i love to make things. i love to give things away. but i don't like to sell things. i mean, sell my own things. it's terribly difficult to walk in someplace and say 'here are my things, do you like them?' i know you don't really say that, but it's what it feels like. i would be so happy to stay in my space and make till the cows come home. but to go out and try to sell anything, ugh. even drawing attention to my etsy shop was not an easy experience.

is it too late for me to change? do i even need to? maybe i could beg my husband to do it for me? what do you think? is it hard for you, and do you have any tips or helpful advice that's helped you? i am really nervous about going back with my sleeves.

i had to laugh when making this post, i had taken all these photos within the last few days, with the exception of the lovely ostrich here (which was taken in 2009, in zimbabwe) do you think these guys are trying to tell me something?


  1. Hi Lori, I got the biggest kick out of all those head-hiding pics --- especially the one with the simple caption, "me" Take your sleeves back to the guy, I say! And proudly, because it IS so environmentally the right thing to do. I know, it's hard for some of us to promote our stuff for sale, but really, it's OK, because selling some of your things will ultimately help you to continue giving, like you always have...and that's a good thing!


  2. You are JUST like my mother! We always have to hang around her at her exhibitions otherwise she talks people out of buying her paintings because they're not good enough! Which we all know is not true!

    I'm the same to a degree. In fact I am about to offer to create a play for free. I can hear myself saying 'charge them, charge them!' But I can't!

    So I'm not the best person to offer advice but tell yourself you're doing it for the environment. And you need to sell (and not give them away)them because well... just becasue you do! Creativity needs to be recognised xxx

  3. Silly girl, Lori, hahaha! I know so much how you feel. When I started teaching children I thought, this is so much fun for me, how can I charge the parents? But there is a German saying, Was nichts kostet, ist auch nichts! ("Only things that cost something have a value"). And it`s true! So I asked my neighbour, a proper teacher, how much she`d take for private lessons. Then I took half of her price, and from that I started sending my parcels to Africa. But I was surprised how gladly the parents accepted my "fees". You`ll see, so will the shop owner! Include all your material costs, your work hours, and a little extra in your price. And if he doesn`t accept, say, Okay, I`ll go someplace else! Become a bargainer!! Good luck, Lori!

  4. haha I love it - and the pictures - and yes there is a message in that you have been noticing all these buried heads; but Angela is right! good luck xx

  5. That's awesome!
    Now don't be the ostrich (ps I've never seen one with its head in the sand!!), rather take a percentage of your after-costs profit and share it with your African charities like the Kasane Day Care Centre, the Matsopane School and then you can even donate to my Children In The Wilderness. . . .
    Just a thought . . .

    WELL DONE on creating this awareness in your actions

  6. Lori, I know how you feel. I really dislike the selling and marketing part of being a creative person. But here is the truth of the matter: your work is charming, it is green, it is tactile and lovely, and that guy KNOWS IT. So he is adding something to his shop that makes his place, his dream, a little closer to his vision of it. These small things add up. A customer buys a sleeve to put on his coffee, it gets that person to think green for a few days, maybe longer. It's all goodness! lol! And do not forget this: it costs you money to make things. It costs your time. Make him some sleeves, have a price on them, ready to go. Smile and let him do the talking if you get shy. Be sure you know the very bottom price you can go on them and DO NOT BUDGE. Or I can fly out to sunny CA and do it for you! I love to sell other people's art. :) xox! Pam

  7. Hahaha!
    Those pictures fit the post!
    I can sell other peoples art and ideas better then my own. So I can relate to what you are saying but you go back without feeling nervous girl!
    You didn't force your sleeves on him. He has an organic food shop your sleeve fits his concept! He asked you! Wow how cool is that! And you know what I think? I think a lot of other stores would love to sell your sleeves as well maybe you should give the universe a little hand........
    Go girl!

    Have a magical day!

  8. Laughing as I type :-). Yes, I too am shy, but I force myself to do it as I want to paint and make things more than I want to go to my job and the only way that happens is if I sell my art. After you are rejected enough times it gets easier.But in this case my dear, it fell in your lap, the man is already sold, just go back (today!) with say 10 sleeves and he may put them on consignment instead of buying, but that is okay, they will sell fast, I hope you have a lot of them :-). And just think about all the trees you will save! XOXO

  9. I could go on and on about this subject. As a matter of fact I just signed up for a "go at your own pace" course by SARK on living your creative dream, and of course part of it is charging for your work. I can't put a price on my worth because some days, wel, I feel worth-less :(
    I know I'm not though.

    You've gotten some great advice here. And yes, HE came to you!

    I loved every duck picture and the ostrich of course.
    None of them are you ;)


  10. Hi
    I hopped here from Annie's (Blissful Bohemian) blog.
    Please make three samples of your 'green sleeves'. Take them back to the coffee shop guy with a price quote for a dozen of each.
    Good luck and let us know how it went.
    Beautiful photographs.

  11. Dear Lori,

    Return with at the minimum a dozen sleeves. Have a bill of sale made out and get your check. Be confident:
    You are doing something positive for the environment and passing it on. He is lucky to carry those wonderful green sleeves.
    I know I sure cherish mine.

  12. lori -- yes, i can sympathize with these feelings. you're not the only one by a long shot who has trouble asking for what they are worth.

    the guy in the store really wants your product because he knows he can sell them. julie whitmore pottery says it perfectly, and i agree with her. so return with your dozen and have a bill of sale made out. believe me, he will go through those like wildfire and will be calling you for more.

    love you lori -- you are the sweetest person in the world ♡

    p.s. just yesterday i made sure my greensleeve was in my purse to take to cal! ;-)

  13. oh lori that is so cool! you should totally do it and be proud you were discovered! : ) i love your creative space by the way... boy what an opportunity! you could have just started something very big for yourself. santa barbara loves supporting its own local artisans. just think where this could lead! you could make all kinds of things.

  14. Lori, I know exactly how you feel...I have so much of that in me. It's something I'm really trying to steps help, though. This one is being handed to you, and you really have to follow through with it.

    Take a deep breath, and just go for it. You can do it, and you're more than worth it!

  15. Those pictures show your feelings exactly and I can so relate to your thoughts on the sleeves, but this is such a perfect opportunity ........... go Lori , I say !!

  16. Oh, Lori! How exciting! Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes, I know exactly how you feel. Pushing my own wares and asking for a fee is yucky shmucky. I hate it. So I understand feeling shy about going back. But if you think about it, this is the ideal situation! He asked YOU! He approached YOU! Your sleeves would help his business, so think of it that way. You'll help the environment AND help his business. You'll be doing him a favor! That is awesome news! Go get 'em! YAYYYYY!

  17. i'm totally with you on this. I'm at work so shouldn't be posting but oh my...I could be rich and famous if only my husband would sell for me!!! (read pimp)

  18. dearest lori, i view this differently. perhaps because i actually like the business of selling, perhaps because i have had the honor of teaching artists how to price and market their worth and goods, perhaps because i so love you and know how worthy your work is, everytime.

    honestly i don't understand the modesty. i can understand the fear of rejection, hahaha, once JB and i made picture frames for our neighborhood street fair and the whole day we sold only one--to a 3 year old little girl! but why be modest about a fair exchange between a buyer and seller?

    this man wants your sleeves, they fit in his shop, the cause is good. all that's left is the quantity and price. and I-I-I can help you with the price. i can.


    you have to.


  19. Oh dear Lori!
    It sounds to me, like they sold themselves... take in a few samples and see what happens. Be brave. Be BOLD! Don't let this opportunity pass you by.
    Do a bit of research and decide before you go, how much you want for each one. Don't undersell yourself. You have nothing to lose.
    Imagine how good you will feel when you go in for a smoothie one day and see someone walking out with your very own hand made 'green sleeve'. How proud you will be that you are amking a difference.
    I have total faith that you can do it.

  20. I know the feeling - I also would rather just give everything away! Hoe you do sell lots of greensleeves to this organic shop, and to many others! You are creating what they need, and all your things are exquisitely handmade!

    I had to read through lots and lots of old posts now to catch up - can never miss out on anything! I love the duck photos, and all the others too!

  21. I know it's hard to put a price on what we have to offer, but everyone knows that we all need to make a living. If this idea of yours is something that helps you do that, then you are part of a new way of supporting each other. May we all be able to live, by the love we have to give.

    I must visit your Etsy shop!

  22. Hai, i like the picture, nice


  23. In Denmark it's seen as a bad thing to promote yourself or tell other people about your successes/how good you are etc. I've gotten a tiny bit better at it after living in the US.
    But CONGRATS, can't wait to hear the continued story on this :-)

  24. oh do i know the sister-in-law has a wine shop with gourmet type food items in it and one year she asked me if i would like to make butter toffee for christmas...i did...but it made me nervous too. i didn't know how much $$$ to ask...what if nobody liked it...i figured by the time i bought all the ingredients for the candy...butter, chocolate, nuts... not to mention my time and packaging it with the tags and bows...all in all i was losing...i must have made so much candy that year.....

    listen to julie..i saw what she thought..julie is one SMART business woman..i liked her idea... and btw...your sleeve looks so darling on her teacups ...

    guess what..i have signed up for a knitting class this weekend on how to make socks....very excited...

    happy to visit here today, my friend

    hugs to owen

    kary and teddy

  25. I love you and your heart and ostrich-like tendencies so much.

    No. You don't have to go back. Make your husband do it.

    Here's my theory: there are some things that, if we change them about ourselves, we just wouldn't be ourselves. So that's when we ask for help from others.

    Let your husband help you by going back in with you and negotiating how much the seller would sell them for and what percentage you would get. Use him as an asset and instead of beating yourself up, be grateful that you appreciate that non-ostrich, money-wheeling quality in your husband.

    And then tell us how it went. :)

  26. oh that phoenix! she not only IS clever, she can write about it with clever ease! she makes a good point...

  27. Where can I get one of those sleeves?

  28. Oh, Lori, can I EVER relate!! You know, I don't often read all the comments on posts I comment on (otherwise I'd be at the computer 24/7), but I did with this one.

    I went through all of this with Daniel for years and had no problem telling him to put a price on his art and services (like school visits), but now I am experiencing it with my own creations and it's sooooo hard!

    I am so like you - I think all my pretties should be free, except I force myself to put them in a little shop and I sell some and not others. And it's hard!

    And then I remember how good it makes me feel when I buy something one of my creative friends created. And then I think I could be giving others a good feeling just like that!

    It's complex, but I love some of the suggestions and ideas people have shared with you and us on your post! And your photos are wonderful!! As are you!!!

    Love, Silke

  29. By the way, are you going to put more sleeves in your etsy shop?!?

  30. see the duck on the right... that's me ;-) x

  31. Oh Lori!! You shoul dbe so proud of the beautiful things you make, and you deserve to be proud and confident to accept money for what you make. I was only thinking how much I love the cowls you made and that you should sell them, I would buy one!! I think all those photos are saying 'stand up and be proud, dont hide' :) (ps I love green smoothies too!)

  32. I know the feeling... it's beautiful that you blush and feel awkward about asking money for your creations, but you have to overcome the embarrassment.
    Like Amanda says, bring the man a stash and soon enough he'll be asking you for double the amount. In times like these, we simply can't turn away business!

    Brava Lori, I'm so proud of you!!
    Now I want to see the sleeves...

  33. You know...I kind of like reading the backwards...cuz I know this has a 'happy ending'...Yay!! You are not an ostrich now!


xoxo lori