Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Recuperation and relaxation. After 3 months of total focus on The Bead and Button show, I'm taking a deep breath and "relaxing" (which really means shuttling my kids, but not working in the studio)

I have mixed feelings post-show. The show is always a good gauge of what's working for me and what's not, but I left that show TOTALLY confused about my product line. I worked for 3 months straight on the Flora Flora kits...totally focused on them because they were the new big project. Did they sell?? Not really. That was a BIG bummer for me. It's not that the time was wasted...I have 3 classes coming up and I'm now in good shape for the classes...I'm just confused why they didn't sell at the show and the other things did.

I changed my booth and made it less cluttered...had lampwork as a sideline not the main thing...what did I sell a lot of?? Lampwork!

I focused on my big wowza project...My most popular kit? The BEGINNER ring... The Say So ring which is a simple beaded strip with one of my lamp worked flowers. Before you make the assumption that it was because there were a lot of beginners at the show...not so. I only sold it to 2 people who would be classified as beginners. The others were all sold to advanced beaders!! I totally couldn't figure it out.

My Sweetheart bracelet is another SUPER easy project, but looks fancier...did it sell? Sort of, but not as well as I thought once I saw the beginner project selling. So I'm left confused... Marie, who worked the booth with me said that people seemed to look at the bigger projects as too that the problem?

Do I make more beginner things that LOOK beginner? Do I change my display back to the cluttered way that it was? Do I give up and get a job at Starbucks? I'm going to give it a week or so and reevaluate before I head to Baltimore for the next show.

It's a hard knock life for us artists!

Tiny blah blah blah..

Coffee? as we "speak" I'm sitting outside Starbucks typing on the iPad enjoying an iced CDL

Music...not right now. I'm eavesdropping on weird conversations that my fellow patrons are having! Lol

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Home from Bead and Button 2011. Exhausted from the cross-country drive, but energized creatively. Taking a couple of days to just rest and re-group then it's back to the studio prepping for my next show (Best Bead Baltimore) next classes (Best Bead and Great Lakes Beadweavers Guild) as well as creating a couple of new projects to "shop" around for other teaching venues.

This is short, but I wanted to just say "honey, I'm home" and share the picture that Jane Mahneke (who is fabulously wonderful) took at my booth. Isn't my new banner pretty??!!! Love how it turned out!

tiny blah blah blah...

nothing. no coffee, no music. quiet quiet day.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Bead and Button.... 1 studio day left....2 days to finish kits and pack...1 1/2 days of driving...1 day of setup... then SHOWTIME 06/09/11!

I have worked soooooooo hard getting ready for this show. Preparing for Tucson was the first step of this... I made inventory for that show that I intended to be the back-bone of the lampwork collection for B&B. The show went not so well, so that inventory didn't need a lot of replenishing.

I focused on beads for kits kits kits. B&B is a beadworkers show. There are definitely metal-workers and beadmakers and designers, but there are HUGE numbers of bead-weavers and THAT is my customer. I fill a niche in that world that isn't really available from other designers... WHIMSY. My work is bright and fun and makes you smile.

I don't try to compete with the beautiful elegance that is available from other designers... I'm just fine being me. PLUS my work is totally different because it FEATURES lampwork. If there is glass in a kit from other designers, it's usually just an accent...because lampwork is soooo pricey. Since I'm the one making the beads for my kits, I have an "in" with the beadmaker and get a good price and that lets my work be all about the glass, with the beadwork framing it. It also makes my kit prices crazy to figure out.

I remember the first year that I took kits to Bead and Button... I had someone (maybe more than one) walk up to me during setup and basically laugh in my face at the fact that I was selling my kits for $145. (I've probably told this story before... sorry if I repeat myself). I tried to explain to them that there was $95 worth of glass beads in the kit which would make the remainder of the kit AND the instructions $50!! And other bead kits at the time were selling for $80-100 for kits of a similar scale. BESIDES that... there was NOTHING else like what I was doing anywhere in beadworld...and that deserves some sort of markup, doesn't it???

Well, I pretty much sold out that first night, so I guess I wasn't that far off in my pricing.

THIS year, I'm selling kits that have glass contents that are well over $100 in each kit. Pricing them was really hard for that reason. I know that my "competition" (and I say that just because they are other people selling beadwork kits, not because I feel I'm in competition with any of them... we all have our own place in bead world) is selling their kits for MUCH MUCH less than some of these kits will be. It might be tough to explain again... but I can say, with all confidence that the time put into these beads makes these kits worth the $$ that I'm charging for them.

I have worked on the glass ALONE since March 23rd. How do I know the date? Because I posted the first Blackboard of Bossiness for Bead and Button on that date and it looked like this...

At that time, I knew that the list was sooo long that it would look daunting putting the whole thing on at once. I focused on one color palette at a time, knocking them out and moving onto the next one.

Well... today, the blackboard looks like this...71 days of beadmaking and I have one to go. (my original countdown date assumed I'd be done a few days ago... NOT! I even had to cross one color palette off the list. I didn't account for the kids-being-home for summer factor and how that changes the whole working at home thing)

So.... I have a lot to do in the next few days as far as finishing up kits, but I have ROCKED getting ready for this show. My challenges are different than other designers and I'll still struggle with how to balance being the production department as well as the new-project designer... but I'll figure it out.

I hope that I have time tomorrow to blog some big thank yous that need to go out to everyone who is helping me behind the scenes. If I don't...then I'll thank you afterward, but you all are wonderful. I have been standing on the precipice of being a self-supporting full-time artist and I've been a bit scared, but I know that all of you have my back AND I've got some pretty heavy-duty help coming from above. I did it for years, supporting a family as a full-time artist, but it was different then. I saw myself in control...and I wasn't. I know better this time and it makes me have a lot more peace going into this show. God has control over this big gig next week and I go into it confidently knowing that I've done my part in preparing diligently... now I just have to sparkle at the show and be grateful for whatever comes of it.

Off to setup for my demo at Flametree tonight! Hope to see you ATL people there!

tiny blah blah blah...

homemade coffee and same old playlists on the ipod.