Well I haven't really started a new blog... but I have picked-up and moved! In honor of moving my little blog over here I'm doing a giveaway! Please hop on over to my new blog location and get all the details! And just to make sure you know where it is it is here... www.monkeysalwayslookshop.com/blog
Admittedly at times I have felt burnt out and a little less than excited about all the tiny details and huge responsibilities that come with running a handmade business. I have been VERY fortunate that I have had plenty of work to keep me very busy and I wouldn't trade that for anything. But sometimes I just need a little boost. For me, the act of pushing myself in a new direction gets me excited about my work. A number of months ago I was trying out some new stuff with silverware and wound up at my stepdad's workshop. He is a world class metalsmith who, along with his amazing skills in creating new work, also teaches. What started out as a fun trip to play around with some old silverware with my very patient stepdad ended up taking me down a path I had never really anticipated.... JEWELRY! I sawed a few designs into some spoons and soldered a couple forks together and was hooked! After a few quick lessons using copper and silver I was off! I was in love. I have been having so much fun and feel like I have had the most creative freedom and growth in a long time. I'm slowly adding new designs to my shop and allow myself at least one day a week to just design and create new jewelry... motivation problems over. I LOVE MY JOB.
A few weekends ago was my first ever craft show! And is a word, it was a total success! Never having done a craft show I wanted to write a very candid post about my experience in an effort to help others who, like me, had never done a show before.
The show was more of an experiment for me rather than a full frontal money making opportunity. I wanted to experience a show and evaluate whether I would continue to do them. Yes, I did want to make money but my sales goal was very low - $500. Which was the amount I spent on everything related to the show hotel, food, display pieces, show fees, etc. I also put a number in my head that was the I WOULD BE SUPER DUPER INSANELY HAPPY if I made this much. That amount was $1500. Why $1500? Because of this insightful information from Sara. How did I do? Hold tight and I will tell you.
I'm the kind of person who gathers as much information about what I'm going to do before I do it. I read numerous craft show check lists, booth conduct articles, customer interaction tips, and anything else I could get my hands on about craft show. Even though I read and read and read there are things that no one tells you..
1. You will NEVER feel ready no matter what. I could have spent another 2 months creating items to sell but at some point you have to stop. Be happy with that you have finished and get some sleep, you are going to need it (see #2).
2. It is exhausting! Time and time again I read that you should stand the entire time. But what they don't tell you is that it gets exhausting. I consider myself in pretty good shape and by Saturday afternoon my legs were so swollen they felt like sausages in jeans.
3. People are mean. I overheard people say things like...
"I could make that"
"I can't believe she is charging so much for that"
"Oh I don't like that at all"
I wanted to say, "you know I can HEAR YOU!!" But I just smiled and kept standing (did I mention my sausages in jeans legs?) Everyone is entitled to their opinion but it would be nice if the artist didn't hear your negative opinion about their work.
4. People take tons of pictures of your work without asking. Most photographers don't take photos of people within hearing distance without asking. My work is very personal so I felt like they were taking photos of me without asking. After the second or third time this happened I just ask people what their were shooting for. Most people had a blog and wanted to post about my work or some people really, really loved the work and just wanted a picture. Which was wonderful on many levels; making blog author contacts and starting a conversation with an admirer of my work. Double bonus!
5. Children can ruin your merchandise. I LOVE kids and very often I have my 6 year old niece help me in my studio. I would take any opportunity to take my niece and nephew to a show like Renegade to expose them to the awesomeness, so I think the kids should go to shows. But more then once kids came into the booth, grab items and handle them in such a way that one kid actually damaged a piece. So it is something to keep that in mind when you do a show; don't hessitate to politely ask children be careful with your stuff if it is fragile.
Now on to the positives...
1. Oh hi, that's what you look like. You really get to know your demographic in a way you never get to when you sell online. I really had a particular "girl" in mind when designing the jewelry. What I found out was that "girl" was even more tattooed, more pierced, and had more black clothes then I had envisioned. This will help me in marketing and helping me take the line further now that I know better who the lines appeals to.
2. Lot of metaphorical high fives. You get a lot of instant positive feedback which is a great boost.
3. Ca-ching. There is a total rush when people are handing over money to you all day long!
4. You make craft show friends. Kind of like camp friends but the friendship lasts only two days instead of all summer long.
5. Craft show are addictive because of all the reasons above.
So how did I end up doing? $1850 in two days, many new newsletter subscribers, and some potential new wholesale accounts! And the conclusion? I will see you at the next show, so come say hi!
I'm launching a new line of jewelry and have been super busy squirreled away working working working! It will be a combination of metalsmithing work like the love necklace and an entire line filled with vintage elements brought together with modern components. I'm describing it as Vintage Modern Industrial with an Edge! I will be debuting it at Renegade Los Angeles Craft Show on July 24-25 but stay tuned for more sneak peaks here!
I have had the true honor of working with photographer Elizabeth Messina for some photo props for her amazing endeavor in the South of France called A Lovely Workshop. She is a true talent and so much fun to work with. Check out her blog Kiss the Groom. You can see my handy work in the first few seconds of her amazing video.
I'm have been squired away due to some big orders but what I'm most excited about is a new project I'm collaborating with my mom on (or Momoo as I call her). More details to come. Very excited. Hi MOM!
We had another awesome day in Napa Valley today. We stopped at my favorite store to date, Artefact Design & Salvage. I bet you can guess which one of those items I purchased (they were available in small, medium and large).
Mr. Monkeys Always Look and I needed a little time off since we haven't had a proper vacation in over 2 years! We both love our jobs so much that we kind of forget that normal people want to take a break. I know, weirdos! So we have taken off for a few days up to the San Francisco Bay Area and then to a super deluxe hotel in Napa Valley for a few nights. Oh joy! Photos to come soon. White Grapes by findcarlie.