Friday, May 13, 2016

Happy 15th Anniversary - Part III: The Big Leap

Let's see where were we.....I think this brings us up to my big leap of faith.

In 2009, after a hiatus from working for someone else, I began to job hunt. Between the big crash, and not finding anything that really interested me, things were going no where fast. I began to ponder, could I make a living with Beadware? That October a local farm was holding a harvest festival and were looking for vendors. Hmm. Could I?

I had no outdoor set up. But luckily, my old Beads and Bubbles cohort and I had visited outdoor art fairs to take notes and get ideas. We were pondering our options. And then I moved.  In September I dusted off those notes, got online and started shopping.You may be surprised to see that my very first outdoor set up uses many of the same components I am still using. I did a trial run in the backyard.

October was here before I knew it. Here is my very first booth at a public event.

My sister suggested I try the Fremont Sunday Market in Seattle. I made the commitment to try it for a year, rain or shine. While in the end it did not pan out financially, I would not trade that experience for anything. I refer to it as vendor boot camp. Putting your booth up every Sunday, tweaking, learning, networking with other vendors, making new artist friends, learning how to work with customers, etc. For several shows I even did a shared booth, but I quickly out grew that. Here is an early booth, a shared booth and a booth towards the end of that year.

That experience gave me the confidence to start doing other shows. That first year I participated in 49 events. Crazy!! I have learned what shows are a good fit and now do 20 - 24 events a year. I have started to do some wholesaling. That is a whole new world! In 2013 I took a business refresher course. Last year I began taking some metalsmithing classes in the hopes of adding some new techniques. The challenge I have been having with that is time!

Of course my work itself has changed over the years. I now do much more work with stones and less with bright colored glass beads. My techniques have become more precise and better quality. You can browse through the galleries of past work on my website to see how things have changed. My photography skills have also improved over time.

In my last post I said this was the final chapter, but that is not true. There is still more to come! Thanks to all the friends, family and customers who have come along with me on the exciting ride. 

No comments: