May 2020

Dear all! I hope you are doing better than many others) So much time has passed, it seems more than usual. I even forgot it is May outside. Honestly, it is the first time in years I have somewhat lost my bearings. After I started doing leatherwork and design a few years ago, I knew exactly where I was going and what I planned to achieve. I understood how to source materials, where to learn skills, and when to adapt strategy. In today’s situation, I am slightly disoriented, and the future is not very clear.

Even simple issues like how to communicate in social media raise questions now. Writing posts takes some careful thinking as not to irritate people much. On the one hand, craft objects, art items, fashion pieces, and other products of artisans and artists are obviously not essentials, unlike PPE, medicine or food. You watch daily news describing human tragedies and dramas nearby, so appreciate well that craft products are somewhat irrelevant today. So it feels awkward to promote such products in these times too actively, even if the items are hand made by you, required lots of high-quality materials, time and effort to create, represent beauty and artisanship. On the other hand, craftsmanship is your full-time job, and this is how you earn your money and feed your family. In theory, it ought to be appreciated by the audience. Still, it is unpredictable whether the readers who have no idea what is going to happen to them tomorrow will share this logic?

At some point, you panic and consider announcing a colossal sale and offer everything for a penny, or run daily giveaways. Then you reconsider in the knowledge how much effort, time, materials have been invested in the making, so it is not quite right to give away to such panic moods, and unjustifiably devalue the product of great work. You start to realize that new online marketplaces are emerging, and there are various campaigns of the type artistsupportpledge/makersupportpledge where artists and colleagues support each other. These developments are exciting, but it takes time to understand what works and what does not.

On the positive side: I have discovered many new customers who not only buy my DIY craft kits but happy to send comments and share photos of the resulting products. It is very inspiring and incredibly supportive! My Italian suppliers are slowly returning back to life, so the world is gradually coming back to some form of normality. I have started exploring new creative directions: made leather wall masks and have just finished an entirely hand-stitched bag. So I keep going somewhere and not stopping).
I wish all the best!