Since “Making A Living in Crafts” was published in 2006, I have been fortunate to communicate with crafts people around their concerns about running a successful business. Read all the questions and answers that have appeared over the years in my “Just Ask” column in The CraftsReport.
I have just finished a 6 day craft show that was well attended. At many times during this show my booth was jam-packed with people. It was suggested to me that I need to pay for a larger booth but I am not sure this is true and would like your opinion. Shopping frenzies are a good thing and I know from being in catering for years that people have more fun when they are crowded. What is your take on this? Thanks, Alice Continue reading
How should I organize my line sheets? By collections or by category (such as earrings, necklaces, etc)? Thanks!
Sonia Schimke, via e-mail
“I am going back into arts and crafts after ten years. I am going to do a lot of personalized items like country wreaths with names painted on them. I’m even going to do personalized dog collars and belts—anything that I can personalize. These are some of the items I used to make but I got out of it to help my aging parents. I am now retired and would like to do it again, but I’ve noticed a lot of the craft shows have gone commercialized (not handmade). Could you please tell me, with the current state of the economy, if you think this is a smart idea? Before I get too deep in inventory, I would like an honest opinion. Attached is a picture of one of my wreaths.” - Cherry McIntosh, via e-mail
I’ve been wondering about this for a while now and haven’t figured out how to handle it. I sell beaded jewelry and have my pieces on consignment at a number of shops. Occasionally, a show owner will call to tell me a customer has broken her piece of jewelry and she’s asking me to fix it. Am I responsible for these repairs for the life of my work? The breakage isn’t due to any manufacturing problem on my part. Part of me wants to do it for the PR. Where do I draw the line, or do I just suck it up and do it?
My son was helping me around the woodshop over the past few years, but he will be going to college next fall. Unfortunately, I think I’ll still need some part-time help, but don’t have anyone I know that I can bring in. I’ve heard that I might be able to get an intern or volunteer? If not, where should I look? I can’t pay a lot and the hours would be limited—how can I find an apprentice-type assistant?
After 12 years in my handcrafted clothing business, I decided it’s time that I give my paperwork a makeover. The one thing I am most concerned with is the invoice I send with all purchases. My old one was hand-written and now I realize it should be more professional. What kind of information should I include when creating this form? Continue reading
My husband got a new job and we will be moving to a whole new region of the United States. Along with this comes a new phone number and address. What can I do ahead of time to let my customers know about these changes? Can I send a press release or a postcard? Also, what should I do in regards to my jewelry business once we move? Do I have to change anything with the state, city or county? Continue reading
I am an Indigenous silk artist from Australia. I have developed and trialed a range of silk scarves and found a niche here in gallery shops. This is a market I would like to explore overseas and also possibly look at supplying high end chain stores or boutiques. I was wondering if you can advise on how to find these outlets and contacts and the best approach to take, e.g. use a commission sales agent (how do you find them?) Or approach the retailers direct (once found) as I have done in Australia? - Kind regards, Eva Wanganeen Continue reading
First Published in Ceramics Monthly, January 20, 2010, by Donald Clark
Chateau Bud Vase, 6½ in. (17 cm) in diameter, designed and introduced in 2008 by KleinReid.
“Today in any definition of the craftsman there is still inherent the idea of the man who makes things by his hands, one at a time with his skill, his tools, his intuitive gifts of form, color, and use of materials and techniques.” These words, written by John Smith, appeared in the British Journal of Aesthetics in 1971. This definition of the craftsman (and by implication the and made) is quite indicative of the attitude that fueled the crafts movement in the second half of the 20th century here in the United States. The GI Bill had educated thousands of men, many of whom became potters who were performing all the steps needed to produce each piece they made. At the same time, a large educated consumer class emerged that was eagerly seeking relief from the anonymous goods that had flooded the market. It was a perfect match and the result was a time that was rich in production and also in dollars. This rich relationship drove the marketplace and in turn defined how most clay pieces were produced. Continue reading