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Monday, April 26

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As much as I like to natter on about being an art carnie, I am, in fact, a businesswoman. *shudder*

I like to think of my art business as a glorified excursion into funky art land, but it's not. Every year I do what any CEO does. I review and adjust and calculate and analyze. What will I need to do to make this season a success, based on what I know and what I think.

I know the economy is shaky although it seems pretty stable here. Western NY has had years to adjust to recession and while some areas are in a downward spiral, we seem to actually be surfacing here. At least I hope so. But I still need to be able to offer work that is affordable to a range of spenders.

So, here's the plan. Last year, as every year, my photo frames flew off the shelves.

I will continue on with those, working on the collage element which I think is getting better every year.

The magnets I came up with in the Fall have been immensely popular. They are only $5 at the shows and I can't seem to have enough of them. Same with the cards. Those are only $4.50. Both of those items give people a chance to walk away with a little bit of art. And they add up nicely. Usually, they pay the expenses.

The heart of Simplesong, the books, are getting a boost with a new design. When I started making a smaller journal (5X7) at the suggestion of a customer, Russell thought they might impact on sales of the full size journals and he was right. But the problem is that I was basically just making the full size journal a bigger version of the small one. When I started to do some more intricate books, with raised collage on them, they always sold first, even though they were more expensive.

I am not the fastest learner, but I do catch on eventually.

This year, I'll have tons of the smaller books and then a selection of more intricately embellished bigger ones. I've been working on a new idea. A cut out window with a little melange inside. I'm planning to use vintage jewelry and botanicals and beads, etc. I'm enjoying the experiment phase.

Last season I added book earring to go along with the little book pins and, although they are a true pain in the patootie to make, I will have them again this year. They make me and the the customers smile. And they sell.

I'm also experimenting with mixed media collage and, if I get any done that I like enough, I'll share those, too. Jury is out on those.

I want to have a booth full of lovely things that are made mostly from the most humble of all materials: paper. It pleases me to take those sheets and scraps and bits and make artful things from them. Because until I did, they were just...paper scraps. I wonder if my customers really appreciate that.

I use paper the way others use clay or wood or paint or silver. I learned to use it by learning to make it. I respect its beauty and toughness. It is forgiving and adaptable. Now that I buy most of my paper instead making it all, I get to see the incredible variety. A sheet can look like bark or a rainbow or a painting. It has the ability to energize me when I think there is not a drop of creative energy left in my brain.

So. some of my business decisions are made by crunching numbers and analyzing trends. The rest are made when a color or a texture catches my eye and my imagination.

I don't know too many CEO's who can say that they had a really good fiscal year due to a new shade of banana bark.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

is that true?