Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Peering Through the Murky Darkness

I see a ray of light. Or hope. Or whatever it might be that makes me feel a bit better. I'll take it, whatever form it chooses.  :)

My last two shows have been very good to me - not huge moneymakers, but solid returns. And the customers have been excellent! Especially this past weekend in Nashville - a very similar reaction to the last time I was in Nashville. Warm and fuzzy, buying bigger ticket items, and very interested in the design work. It feels like a really grow-able market for me. With where I want the jewelry to go, I have to play a long game of sorts...not expecting huge dollars at every new show, but hopefully building a mailing list and loyal crowd of collectors. And Nashville feels like it could become part of that.

Finished it last week, sold it last week. It's hard to keep these in my inventory. 

In my last post, I mentioned that I sold 9 stone-set pieces at the Atlanta Arts festival. In Nashville, I sold 13 pieces. !!! (I had made 12 between the Atlanta and Nashville shows). I had no back stock to replace them with by the end of the show - whatever was on display was all I had. So guess who's going to be at it again, making a bunch of pieces to replace the sold items?? Yep. I have almost four weeks before I head to Memphis for my next festival. Hopefully it will be enough time to accomplish all that I want / need to...leaving, I also hope, some time to work on OTHER designs. I sold several of the mosaic pieces in Nashville (finally! a market that likes that series!) and need to make new ones not only to sell, but to send off to be photographed for jury shots.

So. I'm starting to see some things clicking into place. Patterns are emerging. I first introduced the newest line in April, and it sold regularly, from the very first show. So now I have to refine what I can, like having stones that really suit those designs, or having someone else help with cleanup or stone setting...to free up some of my own time to design, create, move the business forward.

And the mosaics...they didn't work out as well as I thought with casting the pieces. Sloooow movers. So maybe they're not meant to be cast. Maybe - light bulb - not everything I make is going to be cast and available to the masses. These, with their high labor factor, are more collector-type pieces. So far they've been rather niche-y; they don't appeal to everyone. Or they appeal...but not as much as some of my more mainstream work. So I'm going to treat them as they deserve to be treated. I've fabricated chains for the necklaces I made this year with the mosaics, and made bigger, more statement-y necklaces. I don't think I've quite hit my rhythm yet with these designs, but I'm working on 'em. I have a whole series of smaller, less labor-intensive designs to start working on whenever time permits, but they're never likely to be my bread-and-butters. And that's okay. I want to push outward and upward with my jewelry, and these will let me do that.

It's been several years since I've been comfortable with what I'm creating. And with what I'm displaying at festivals...the fabrication journey has been a hard one. I used to have this stuff figured out - but I think I'm moving toward having things figured out (as much as they ever can be) again. I can feel ideas flowing, designs coming together so that my creations look like a cohesive whole.And I just listened to a webinar yesterday that made me re-think a lot of things...got a lot of pondering to do while I'm working.

And this quote is now on the bulletin board:

"Follow your passion, do not settle, see beauty in the unexpected.
Oh, it will be difficult if you want to be the best, you'll have to deal with that as a constant."

- Todd Reed, jewelry designer  (want to see his web site? The work (and the overall aesthetic - for his designs and how he lives) is amazing! Click here

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