This weeks topic on Flaming Hot! is “How do you diversify?”
My main focus of diversification is in product line. Though, I admit florals do seem to take over and are the main theme of my work. What can I say? They sell well and nothing is a better motivator for a self employed artist than when something sells well.
I really admire artists who are continually changing and coming up with new styles and ideas. The ones who do it really well. You know, the ones who seem to turn everything they touch into a masterpiece. It would seem they cannot make an ugly bead. Oh, I know you are thinking, yes they can, they just don’t show those. Well, that is what I thought too, until I meet some of them in person and had a chance to see their rejects. At one point the rejects of an admired bead maker, were miles beyond what I was trying to sell. I literally did not know what was wrong with them, nor did I care. I happily pocketed them when they were offered and still admire them (though I still have trouble seeing what was so wrong with them even four years later and a lot more beads under my belt).
My point in telling you that is this: I just don’t seem to be the type of artist that color and design come naturally to. I have to work at it, keep working at it, and then work some more. I have always thought I was slow learner. Slow, yes, but I do eventually get there, if I try hard enough and with enough repetition.
So I keep beads that I have spent a lot of time perfecting in my product line. I have added simpler ones I call simple elegance. Simple beads, ones I deem easy for me to make, certainly can make a beautiful piece of jewelry. It all doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Then I continue to work on what I call, Collectors beads. Art beads. Beads with expression maybe. It takes a long time for me to perfect these beads. Sometimes I lose interest along the way. Other times I put them away and then come back to the idea, and sometimes, rarely, one takes off pretty quickly and a new line is born.
Recently I learned to make marbles. Okay about a year ago, but this year I have been steadily working on them. They are a different animal all together. I don’t consider what I make in marbles a part of my product line, though the sparkly floral ones could be considered that I suppose. Marbles get to be all about expression and I like that. The buyers are a different breed from bead buyers too. With marbles it is all about collecting, while beads are mostly for design. Though there is some crossover in the buying public.
So my diversification in how I add to the bottom line is; a production line I can fall back on and marbles. I sell it all online in different venues. Website, Ebay, Justbeads, and Etsy. It’s all about exposure you know. I don’t really make jewelry to sell. First of all, I think jewelry is something you need to see in person, or most people do before they buy. Since I don’t do shows, that doesn’t work for me. Second, I don’t have much time to make jewelry. Third, my customers are much better at it that I am. Why would I compete with that? (However, I can make simple pendants and bracelets and things, so if you are not a designer but want some of my beads made up into something, it never hurts to ask. You just won’t see much in the way of finished product in my outlets).
Yes, you heard that right. I don’t do shows. Should I? Maybe. It’s just that the cost of booth fees, airline, travel and food to do them are really expensive. I’m just not sure doing a show would be economically sound. However, the networking and connections to be made are probably worth it. So I didn’t say I would never do shows. I just don’t do them now.