Last year I embarked on an attempt to expand into wholesale shows. I learned some valuable lessons. I would be lying if I said it went as expected. Social media is great to show the shiny final product but I feel truths are lost under the filters of what is really going on with a business. What I learned is the following:
Capitalism is ruining my craft. Whether local or national the constant “hustle” mentality of always trying to push your business and yourself faster and harder is not for everyone. I would rather work on less orders and put more craftsmanship into each piece then try to maintain a pace that interferes with the integrity of my work (and my damn soul!). And I would rather work with patient customers who appreciate the time, care and attention I put into their orders.
Two big shows in a year is too much for me to handle and do well at this point. I don’t think people realize the time the classroom takes up. Between managing kilns, contractors and students its a separate job in itself and one that will soon require me hiring a studio manager to help keep it going.
What’s good for one business is not good for another. Sorry folks but you can keep watching what your competitors do but its not going to tell you what’s going on with your business. If you mind your own business I guarantee you that your to-do list won’t be so staggering.
I learned that my work and my booth stuck out like a sore thumb (and I mean that as a compliment to myself). I am not big enough for tabletop. I think I would have been out of place in handmade. It was crammed and shoved off to the side of the convention center and merged directly into the items made in China with no clear delineation.
My customer is different than I thought. And to my surprise it means I’ve been spending my time making more things I enjoy versus what I thought would sell.
For the rest of the year I’m editing. The first step is a new plan. I’ll tell you how it goes but sorry some secrets have to stay in my creative brain due to copycats far and wide. Its not a new business plan but rather a more streamlined way of doing things. Starting with making a to-do list so that rather than flying by the cuff I have a strategy. In the meantime enjoy some photos of my booth at the last NYNow and some new work that has been created since the show.
PS to my wholesale customers who want to shop my catalog online shoot me an email with your store name, your name and tax ID number to firstname.lastname@example.org
To wholesalers on Faire I do have my work on there but its not the complete catalog. I do have a great selection of my top selling items at this time! And some of the items with the speediest turn around. Shop here.