Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Building, building, building....

A building day today.
After chatting with JSmaz about Artfire (check out her store there) I decided to open my own. I like the way the stores look and the features are cool. So I've already spent a chunk of time today getting that started and I'll spend some more time today getting things on the site. I also need to fill out my Facebook page, right now it's just a name.
This afternoon I'm off to help an artist friend build an online presence.

Selling jewelry is definitely not easy, there's so much out there and the competition is tough.

My Beading Story continued

Once I was teaching at the craft store I discovered a couple of things. One was that I wasn't making enough to cover the time I put in writing and illustrating my workbooklets. Another was that it was impossible to be specific about beads for a project because in the time from design to the class (about a month) they had sold out and everyone got frustrated. Yet another was that they don't stock the right beads for beadweaving.

To solve these problems I started putting kits together to make more use of my instructions and did sell quite a few through Etsy and at a couple of craft fairs. The manager at the craft store asked me to submit my kits to the corporate office as she wanted to stock them, and I did this (three times actually) and the lesson I learned was 'don't deal with corporations'. I did get my kits into another local craft store and tried to teach classes there but they didn't have a 'classroom' and my students really didn't like the space.

Now, I think I'm much wiser. I design very flexible classes, take a couple of things the store might sell out of, rotate my classes and teach at a second store in the chain.

I did teach a private bead weaving class until a few months ago and there I learned some valuable lessons too. No matter how hard you work to keep your prices down for kits and classes people will always want it cheaper and producing cheaper kits doesn't make me happy or make me a living. Also, when booking classes with kits get 50% at the time of the booking some of it non-refundable so you're covered for expenses when people back out and you've already bought the supplies for the kits and put them together, even the big companies have restocking fees. Time is money and if I don't respect my time, no one else will.

I now have a schedule of pricing for my time. People can book me as a technical advisor to help them with their own projects or they can plan a group class, choose one of my kits in a variety of colorways and get a huge discount for my time as an instructor. Of course my kits are more expensive thesedays because I only use the best beads (mostly Delicas, Swarovskis, Czech fire-polished and gemstones), sterling silver or gold fill findings and I've quit winding my own thread bobbins.

Hopefully this info helps someone who's on the same path as me and you don't have to go through the struggles I went through to learn these things.

And on a Brighter Side

I'm sending out the newsletters today for the Beading Society announcing the inaugural meeting. Tomorrow the first story about me, my classes and the bead society is published. Things are getting exciting! And who knows maybe my prize for the Beading Daily Forum challenge will arrive today....oooo, I hope so.

Ha...I have three pieces to finish today too! Not to mention the Challenge piece. Come to think of it...laundry might be a good idea too....naked beaders don't go down too well in Utah!

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