Monday, December 13, 2010

Self Promotion and why it's hard for women

I've been reading about marketing lately as I do need to work on plans to get myself more recognized in the knitting world as I grow my pattern portfolio. As I review this material it strikes me how difficult it is for women to market themselves. I catch myself thinking , "Oh, I couldn't do that!" We are typically taught not to promote ourselves in our culture in a way opposite to that of men. I struggle with this as do others. Recently a professional friend with a yarn line apologized  for offering me yarn to work with! I really need yarn support at this point in my designing career and she hesitated to offer it to me... and even worse I didn't  think to ask in the first place. So I wonder why the heck not?

I think is has to do with our society's female style of self effacement, generally accepting recognition is proscribed and we are taught not to show off our special talents.

At my guild I hear designers being criticized for too much self promotion. I've had an ongoing debate with a friend about the professionals in our guild; she feels they should not talk about their business there. I always felt that their presence ups the standard of the guild and gives us all credibility. I think it helps change the general public's view that knitting is something that only little old gray haired ladies do.

This year I agonized about being in the fashion show. I'm not sure I should be in the fashion show because I'm a professional now??? I've been in the show every year except one since I joined the guild. I made the decision to go pro partially based on feedback from members of the guild yet I have the sense I should be excluded now and I can't really articulate exactly why and what's driving my discomfort. I've shown off my knitting every year up until now and always had a lot of fun doing it so why would I stop now?

When I go to social events with my husband other men promote their selves like mad to him. They try to book appointments to see him during business hours and when I asked him if they were annoying him he said to me "of course not, I would do the same thing in their position".

Some time ago a friend was passed over for promotion even though she was more qualified then the colleague who was promoted. She eventually got up the nerve to ask why and was told "because she never said she wanted the job, so no one knew she was interested"

It seems clear that I have to get better at this!

As practice I'm including a picture of one of my own designs in this post and giving the link so you will know where it can be purchased.

1 comment:

  1. Well, if your fellow guild members are giving you a hard time, that's a lot of negative feedback right there -- no wonder it'd be difficult in those circumstances. I would think a guild would be proud of its designers and would use them for classes, talks, programs, etc.

    Do you think it's also a generational thing? I'm in my early 40s.

    I don't worry about asking for yarn support -- the worst someone can really do is say no, as long as I've asked politely. I try to approach companies with yarn I like & values with which I agree, yarn that I'm happy to promote. I want it to be a win-win situation.

    I don't worry about posting stuff about my new designs on my blog -- I'm generally excited about new designs being released into the wilds, and I post things about which I'm passionate.