Learning From Customers

It’s incredibly valuable to see and hear how people react to what you make — what they like, what they don’t even notice, how they interact with materials. So Saturday’s studio sale was a great day for us on many levels.

Open house and sale at Donna Kallner's studio.

Neighbors started arriving early and we were busy all day except for a short lull around 1 pm, when I finally got some pictures.

Holiday open house and sale at Donna Kallner's studio.

No, I didn’t take any pictures of the back of the studio, which looked like Fibber McGee’s closet.

Studio open house and sale.

We hide a lot of my stuff behind the rolling design wall and my big work table, which we stand up on edge, tie off to the ceiling, and cover with draping. There’s an open path to the back door, but the rest of the space behind the screen gets piled pretty deep. Before I start piling, I try to think of all the things I might need from back there. By the time I remembered the staple gun, it was waaay too late to reach it.

Open house and studio sale.

Saturday went by in a flash. And then it was Sunday. We took down the screen, started putting things back where they belong, and thought about what we could learn from the sale.

People asked great questions — not just about things that were for sale but also about things that were still tucked here and there: Strainers and colanders. A basket of things I never had a chance to get prettied up to sell. Tools and materials I hadn’t hidden in back. When someone reaches for something you hardly even notice any more, it’s good to pay attention.

So I have much to reflect on this week, and much to be thankful for. The people in our rural community came out to support us, to support handmade, to buy local, and to help us learn more about how what we do fits into their lives. Bill and I are grateful, and we’re learning.


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Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin

2 thoughts on “Learning From Customers”

  1. Ah, yes. The joys of interacting with the public – educational, both ways. 🙂 It’s always fun to gain new perspectives!

  2. Selling online is sure a lot different than in our previous life. When we sold canoes and kayaks we knew our customers right down to inseam and shoe size 🙂 But then, you know your loyal customers that well, Andrea. That’s what makes them so loyal!

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