A sick kiln thwarted the glass project I was going to show and tell. Therefore, I thought I would continue along the lines of a recent post about hobby versus business. No matter where we are, if we see a glass place, my husband always asks if I want to go in. Why, yes, thank you!
I have seen some wonderful work and met some very interesting people who are always willing to share some insights with me. The one insight that we hear repeatedly though is that once they started their business, they felt they lost some of their creativity because now they make what sells. Makes sense since you need to make money if this is your business. But as an artist, this sucks! (Can I use that in a blog? Sorry, if not. :-)).
In analyzing what fused glass pieces sell most on the web (admittedly a pretty limited search), it appears that it is the smaller objects like soap dishes, spoon rests, night lights, coasters, and of course jewelry. The problem with jewelry is that there are hundreds of sellers and so it is hard to differentiate yourself. For soap dishes, night lights and coasters, some sellers seem to focus exclusively on these items so when someone searched for say coasters, you see a plethora of their coasters. Whereas I have one or two of each for sale but then a myriad of other items, shapes and sizes.
In analyzing my own sales for my larger items, these glass plates and sculptures sell for holidays, Mother’s Day, weddings – basically special occasions which is great, just not that often. Therefore with a lack of substantial smaller items so my shop populates a search for say coasters, it is less likely that my one or two offerings will be seen regularly and bought. Perhaps I should focus on smaller items for a while to see if this makes a difference.
I guess the real challenge is finding that balance to continue to be an artist, explore new dimensions, fuel my creativity and yet, make money since the raw materials aren’t free.
NOTE: I wanted to start my selling small so all of my sales to non-friends have been using Etsy, a social commerce website for artists to sell their handmade goods which has millions of items in sales each month. My interviews with people though were in their store or at art fairs. Of course, your experiences in selling may be completely different and I would love to hear what works and doesn’t work for you.
My foray into spoon rests. I think I will try some more of these.