One of the things I have struggled with this week is customers. Not a lack of them, but figuring out who is my customer. Last weekend I was so frustrated with the majority of people who shop our local farmers market that I took a weekend off. Instead I focused on developing my Etsy shop. I returned to the market yesterday morning and for the first four hours I only made $6 from selling some soft set jam as syrup at cost. I planned on leaving at 11am because of the heat, but I decided to wait until noon like I have in the past and I am glad I did. I didn't sell a lot, but I did sell more syrup, half my dog biscuits and a bag. In addition I got orders for a couple more bags to have ready next weekend and a couple of Texas Longhorn knit hand towels I designed.
From 7am to 11am, locals walked by my table. They would either glance at me and walk quickly by, not even look at the table and make excuses not to stop, or they would stop and balk at my prices (which I have been informed by many outside the county that I have my items priced too low). There were several people who came out with their dogs and I met them with one of my homemade peanut butter dog biscuits. The dogs were so overwhelmed by all the people around them that they didn't instantly take the biscuit, but after a moment would devour it and start looking for more. The dog owners though were quick to dismiss me and tell me their dogs don't like my product. One lady told me her dog is spoiled by Ol' Roy brand (I fought laughter) and another walked away and threw the biscuit in the garbage. By 11am I was fighting tears. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.
I realize now that I'm not doing anything wrong. My products just aren't for everyone. The chapter I read tonight in "The Boss of You" discussed identifying your customer. My customer is going to be someone who cares about and values quality. They are going to care about handmade, made in the USA with quality USA originated materials. They want to support their local economy and help promote local jobs. They don't want something knit or crochet that was made by an exploited child in a third world country. If they buy from a third world country they will prefer that it be something sustainable and fair trade. My customer is going to care about what kind of food they give their pets and appreciate the high quality ingredients I use in my dog biscuits, not something that could potentially be poisonous from China.
So when people walk by my table and criticize me I will simply know that they don't appreciate taste and quality and aren't the kind of person who would take care of something I make. I want my items to be cherished, not tossed aside because it was cheap and disposable. They are not my customer.