Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rule #1 Stay Visible

My work is expensive, and the economy is in the pooper. It isn't fair to myself to price the work lower than my fellow craftspeople in hopes to stay afloat. That just brings everyone's value down. Plus, it makes me look like an amateur. I am a well educated woman and a fine crafter. My furniture is made well and made smartly, I definitely should not sell myself short.

So, what to do while we wait for the economy to "bounce back"? Will it ever bounce back? My most profitable year was 2003. Back then, I was a fiber artist, making colorful framed collages. Everytime I sold one, I bought a powertool. Believe it or not, I had a complete woodworking shop after 18 months. But I also had small children...which made using the shop darn near impossible. Seven years later, I am making the best work of my life, with the smallest profit ever.

I caught myself fantasizing about owning a food truck. How awesome and simple would it be to sell a $2 cup of lemonade? Or a $3 chocolate eclair using my grandma's recipe? A gourmet food truck where when parked in the right location you could make $1000 in a weekend! It just sounds so lovely...and easy.

When I turn the volume down on all these crazy ideas, I step back and ask myself, "How do I make this business work when folks just can't buy?" Stay visible. Be Seen. Let people know that you own a legitimate business. That you can design, and construct something beautiful that you can't just run to Pottery Barn and get on sale! That you have credentials. Toot your own horn-no one is going to do that for you! And be smart. Have a small ticket item to sell in the local craft shows, something that doesn't take 40 hours to make, but rather you could make 40 in a week! And show the lovely furniture beside it...

Stay visible. I could apply to as many shows as I can afford. I could accept any invitation to show anywhere even it is totally a hair salon. Just to stay visible. I can blog until my fingers cramp up, and become a facebook junkie, and maybe even tweet. I will not stop working towards kicking 2003 in the butt.


  1. I learned the hard way to never let the dream go. Stay with it. If you have to, support yourself/family with whatever job you can stomach, but, never, never let that dream slip away, no matter what.

    The dream, held close to your heart, will take care of its own survival and growth. Your work will be full of that dream and the right people will see it in your work.

    You have the choice to be a mini factory and make inexpensive things that may sell. Or you may choose to transform such repetitive tasks into a single statement of your own style exuding the joy you have for it.

    Never, never embrace a reason to let the dream leave your heart. The dream will be even richer when you grow old.

  2. Great Comment Bruce. I'm not letting my dream fade away either. I may not be able to spend every day in the studio as I would like to because I need to work at less interesting work to bring money in. Those days that I do get to spend in the studio are even more special for me because I can do what I love to do, make furniture. Hopefully soon more days will be spent in the studio and less spent working away. It was great to see you both at the show. We should do a group get together every once in awhile. Maybe organize our own small showing somewhere / sometime?

  3. My tab is actually on your tab. (smiles)

    Another idea, we could walk to Hawaii to raise funds for a really nice workshop. Lover's of wood would take us in and feed us. We would get new shoes as needed. We could do celebrity appearances at art fairs all along the way. Once in Hawaii we could hug a Koa tree. (bigger smile)