Monday, March 19, 2007

Better Business Savvy for Artisians

Dear Fellow Artisians-

I'm going to lead you to the key of good business sense -and hopefully success will soon follow. Remember the cash and sex job I referred to months ago? (Cash is your day job supporting your sexy job you love to get home to) Well, Niche Magazine talks about Donald Clark's Book, "Making a Living in Crafts" by combining business and beauty to assist artists understand the value of recognizing trends. Simply, one just cannot continue the prima donna attitude of forcing others to adhere to one's artistic world, unless that's the sexy counterpart of cash.

Back in design school, we understood from the starting gate that there would be parameters -budget being a big one, if not the biggest. Budget also opens the door to creativity with parameters and with parameters, limitations are understood. Knowing one's limitations help to quell anxieties and my suggestion? Go shopping -for yourself and for your customer.

Budgets, no matter how big or small, have restrictions. In this example, I'd equate small with that of a couple shopping in a gallery for a new piece in their home vs a corporate client looking to fill the office buildings within their business park. Clark talks about "wanting craftspeople to shift their attitudes, to see themselves not just as artists, but more as business people who produce art. Artists "have to price correctly, market correctly, break down all facets of the business," he says. "The competition is huge. We're competing with the mug made in any number of places on this planet."

Clark continues by indicating that "retailers can help by demanding of craft artists both professional business practices and competitively priced work. "Artists need to go shopping and discover the range that people are paying for items-shawls, bowls, mugs, earrings. Customers are doing that; they know what things cost." Further, "Artists may not want to compete with the low end, but they need to know where the low end is." Clark's new book, Making a Living in Crafts, includes charts to help artists keep track of materials and time in order to develop a product line they can make at a price that competes in the marketplace.

It's imperative that artisians make a conscious decision to participate in the system [of understanding SWOT: Strengths, Weakneses, Opportunities, & Threats] in order to thrive as business professionals. Wanting to jump on the bandwagon with the next big craze is fun, but be sure you aren't selling what all the hobbyists are selling. Getting serious about your art will transform your afternoon hobby into a business that profits and you you have to ask yourself just how far will it [your art] get you in terms of authenticity and uniqueness? It's just not enough to use a different color.

When you do begin to see a consistent profit from your work, then take a moment and do some experimental work -and this becomes sexy side of your job enriching your self-made 'day job.'

Niche: Combining Business & Beauty

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