I'm ready to reveal what some of my future plans will be! Being very passionate about what I make, and meditating very intently on what has been working for me in the past few years and what hasn't... I've come to the conclusion that I need to re-prioritize (again, again) my efforts. If you're a creative, you'll understand how each decision can feel expensive, how rearranging how you do things feels like saying "no" to opportunity. If you're someone does not relate to this, let me tell you: it is expensive to be an artist, and it is even more expensive to try to make a living doing so.
My general practice has been to apply for as many local craft markets as I could afford, newer ones being easiest budget-wise. Although the organizers of these fairs typically work very hard to have a successful show, and some of the vendors find their earnings to be satisfactory, I've been losing a lot of my barely-there cash in such ventures. These events are not just for money, and I've gained a whole lot of great feedback and exposure doing them. My FAVORITEST thing is bonding with people over something I've made. Never do I want to slight a market organizer for my own losses unless said market truly behaved poorly. It happens, but usually it's not the event that's to blame for my empty wallet at the end of the day.
The reality is that those fairs are not the right venue for me. I had been suspecting as much for a while, and went through a lot of phases in this discovery. I've been learning a lot about who my patrons are over the years, and it has dawned on me that the people that support my work the most are those that *think* about their jewelry purchases for a while. People who do not necessarily have the budget to impulsively buy a piece at a market without being familiar with the artist. Though I've been working to create some simpler pieces that will appeal to impulse shoppers, statement pieces will forever be my heart... so what to do?
Apply for the shows that make me really nervous. The ones that cost more to get into, are juried more stringently, but attract way more people with the intention to get something wonderful by the time they leave. Apply for the trade shows, the shows for just jewelry, the markets that need me to have a brilliant application for them to put me in the "maybe" pile. The application fees sometimes are about what one might spend as a vendor fee at a smaller market, and the booth fees often are more than my rent. Not always, but often, and often double. YIKES.
THANKFULLY, there are smaller types of sales that are more accessible but more niche and more MY niche. So I'm starting there. I applied for a jewelry sale that I was sure I wouldn't get into because very limited spaces were available, and actually got in! I made myself apply even though I was ABSOLUTELY SURE that there would be enough applicants that would be favorable over me... I literally had to talk to myself OUT LOUD to complete this application. The requirements were scary, the photos needed to be professional and not look like shit when large... I ended up using old photos (the ones that serve as the background photos for this site*), hoping that the reviewers haven't gotten tired of them BECAUSE I haven't gotten new photos that fit this requirement together yet. Getting there. So yeah, I did the thing, and it worked this time.
My work is for picky people, which is annoying sometimes, but ultimately beautiful to me. My boyfriend and I had a home art show a few months ago, and a lot of the people that came and got pieces from me had the same few things to say. They had been wanting something specific from me for some time, but they had to save up. Or, they hadn't decided what they wanted but knew they wanted something special, just for them, and wanted a more intimate setting to try things out. Also, that might online offerings need more freaking info. (Which is something I'm working on, for real!) The best thing to hear is that someone has been dreaming of having something I've made and that they finally can get it. I'll take that over an impulse buy any day.
Who knows if bigger craft shows will be a good fit for me, but I will try for a little while. Trade shows still seem mythical to me, so I don't even know what to say about that. What I am spending most of my attention on is this here website and blog. Which brings me to this:
*The gorgeous background photos by the equally gorgeous Anna Demetrides, and featuring the glowing Christina Yin, will soon be put in an archival gallery and cease to be background photos for this site. I'm going to clean up the design, hopefully making clicking around go a little more quickly. All the feedback I've gotten over the past few years about what would make my site easier to use is being taken into consideration. I want all of the darling picky people to be able to obsess over current, detailed information in the comfort of their own vicinity, with or without pants, and know all they want to know about my work. That way, more people come to me knowing about my work.
I have other things up my sleeves which I'll blab about soon. Until then, feel free to shoot me a line to tell me how YOU think my website could be better.