Thursday, May 12, 2016

Happy 15th Anniversary - Part II: Beads and Bubbles

After the first sale and going thru the process of incorporating as a sole proprietorship,  I teamed up with a good friend, Maria, who had started a soap making business. We held our first joint sale that following summer in my home. My initial "look" was one of bright colors and whimsy. I used a piece of clip art for my logo.
I choose a font that I felt reflected that theme and created business cards, tags, signs and sale post cards. By that fall, Maria had incorporated her soap business into Earth Essentials and had plans to expand into other types of personal care products. We enlisted the help of my neighbor, a graphic designer, to develop our next iteration of sale flier. She coined the phrase "Beads and Bubbles" and our sales were called that for several years.  

My home was situated in a strategic location, excellent for folks to stop into on their way home from work on a Friday. We'd add another artist here and there for variety. I would enlist the help of a friend or 2 to work the floor and Maria and I would run the check out. Folks would hang out in the living room sipping wine with friends after a long week of work. We were a hit!

Then I decided to make the move to the west coast. We had a final fling to help me reduce my inventory. I have not had a sale that big since! Friends clamored for me to return, so I would go back once a year (usually before the holidays) to do sales in other peoples homes. I had planned ahead for this and left a set of display items with a friend. I would pack all my jewelry in a carry on suitcase. Boy did I get wacky looks from the TSA scanner folks when all those little pieces of metal showed up on the screen! 

After a few years I started doing holiday sales in my new home. Those early sales were a challenge, as I was still building a following and my new house was a destination instead of on the way to somewhere. I usually tried to find someone to partner with, that had a larger list of friends than I did. And mother nature threw me some challenges, in the way of storms and no power! But I did not give up.

After couple years I added a spring sale and began to expand my list of other artists to include. Sales unusually had 4 to 6 artists. I even had demos and live music. At the same time I opened an online store in Etsy.

 Stay tuned for the final chapter.............

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