There’s a reason I am writing it. A huge reason. I am seriously thinking about making a T-shirt with ‘don’t tell me how to sell origami please!’ on it.
Every second person that learns about my origami skills tries to discuss how I could sell it. If you think that happened after I’ve become a master you are wrong. This all ‘you need to sell it‘ thing started way before. It started at the time my works didn’t look that cool. It started with my parents actually. Everybody seeing this huge amount of pretty folded stuff in my room would say “Oh, so cute, you need to sell it!”.
Pretty folded stuff. “You need to sell it!”
The reason I decided to write this is, of course, not my own experience. I get at least 1 email per month asking me how to sell origami or asking for a permission to sell my models or about the tips about selling origami. And I am just a bit tired to answer the same thing over and over again.
Sad truth about selling origami
I am a bad sales person, I know it, it’s not the thing I am good at. I am a lot better in origami than in sales. So let’s imagine this is the main reason for my origami does not sell well. But I need to point it out that I do not know anybody who would make stable money from selling origami. I do not mean the true Masters of origami like Eric Joisel and maybe a couple of other Masters. You could count those people with one hand’s fingers. I mean that average good level folders who fold other’s people’s models don’t sell them regularly. Even if you get some order or somebody buys your origami for a reasonable price, it’s a single sale. It is usually one of a kind thing. And it is not going to be a stable income source. If you do not believe me you can go at etsy and find a lot of origami for sale there. Does it really sell? Not that much… Etsy is a great tool to see what actually sells and at what price. Some people would price their origami $$$ but there won’t be any constant sales (if any at all).
Solution number one for getting income is … trying to have better education and/or job. I write this because I am usually asked by the people who are students and try to make it an income. It will be much more profitable for your future to invest in education, really.
Besides income there is one more thing to consider about origami, which makes us think about selling it. We all love to fold, some of us do it really well, but capacity of our friends to get paper figures as presents is limited. We have a lot of precious creations, but we have no idea where to use it…
The thing that you may try and that worked for me is to donate your origami to some charity. Oh yes, you don’t get the money. But you can watch people buying your creations for a good money and you can feel that money going for a good thing. I had donated a bunch of my kusudamas to Paper for Water charity. This is the charity that sells donated origami and builds drinking wells all around the globe in the places where people lack access to clean drinking water. Besides the fact they are wonderful people, they really know how to sell origami! And I was so happy knowing that my origami can do good for people. I’ve got a lot of satisfaction when I’ve seen it. And oh yes, I’ve never seen anyone else selling modular origami balls