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Monday, May 6, 2013

Embracing the Thriving Artist Within

It's time for artists, myself included, to release the starving artist routine and to embrace a consciousness of embracing the thriving artist within.  It's time.

Making art is one thing.  Selling it successfully is an entirely different beastie.  Many artists have no or very little business experience.  Many artists are uncomfortable selling, some are nervous meeting new people and/or talking about themselves.  But there comes a point where your home has all the art it can hold.  You have all the jewelry one human can possibly wear.  Your family and friends and co-workers all have all the art from you they can fit into their house. And short of stock piling it or rotating it around, the next step is selling.  

I had a studio in a building with other artists.  I no longer have that luxury as there is nothing like that here (although I would love to create one).  I don't want the expense of overhead for a storefront.  I have opted for selling from my website/etsy/zazzle/bonanza...but I don't want to spend all of my time trying to make the sale.  I also have been experimenting with farmer's markets and craft shows, selling my art wholesale and having trunk shows, as well as teaching classes.  I have selected show cases where I place my work on consignment but I am very careful about where I place this work and to make sure I know the seller well.

My experiment with farmer's markets, flea markets and like (also online) is that the people who are attending are 1) not looking to purchase my items at all (looking for produce and that is it) and 2) if they look at my work, they want it at a yard sale/flea market price and want to dicker...which I don't do.  My prices are set based on my labor, my cost of materials, overhead and my profit x 2 for the retail price.  My wholesale prices are based on purchasing multiples of an item.  Let's face it, I have to make a living in order to be able to continue to not only do what I do, but to love to do what I do.  So, after six months of attending farmer's markets, I am out of that market business.  My experiment has taught me that these are not my buyers.  Time to move on.  There is no point in continuing now that I've realized that this is not the place for me.

Having come to that conclusion, I continue to experiment with what works and doesn't work.  I continue to select craft shows to try out (since I'm new to Florida I'm still finding out what works)...for example, a recent example of a show that did not work for me was for a really great non-profit and it featured a car show.  I sold nothing.  I had very few people even stop by my booth. There were only about 8 vendors at the show.  It dawned on me toward the end of the day that...these people were not here to shop.  Most probably didn't bring any cash or perhaps some didn't even have any disposable cash to spend.  They were there to look at cars.  Lesson learned.  I won't return next year.  Though the price of my booth was minimal, I still lost money from it, not to mention the loss of time spent getting to/setting up/and being there--this was time I could have spent in a better way.  

I'm still figuring it out.  And I have to admit, that the commitment of a blog can become a burden.  I don't want it to be.  I want it to be here because I love sharing my thoughts and experiences and my art.  And the social media...I don't want it to become a chore.  I want to enjoy sharing what I am working on.  The flip side is that I now realize that I have to be consistent with my contacts...and I apologize to those of you who check my blog regularly and find I haven't updated in a LONG time.  I'm going to get back to just enjoying at and hope that you will respond by sharing it with others.  

I'm ready to move back into the arena of thriving as an artist.  I embrace and welcome it.  I'm willing to do what needs to be done so I can continue to create my unique artworks.  I encourage other artists to consider embracing thriving.