Monthly Archives: January 2007

Self-promotion…

As Seen InThis little side bar is a photoshop document about 2.5″ x 10″ tall that I’ll have displayed at my booth in Tucson.  I just love the fun things you can do with Photoshop, even the simple ones, like this.  One of my dreams is to be able to make really really cool things with Photoshop.  I don’t know what I’d do with them but I really admire that skill set in people.  I just don’t have the time to really learn all of the effects.  Even something as simple as this took me a good half hour or more, but that doesn’t count that I had to learn how to use my scanner.

I feel kind of funny putting things like this up but I think that it’s a good idea for credibility…whether that’s an illusion or not.  Yes, in an ideal world my work should speak for itself.  BUT, it doesn’t hurt to give a litte nudge until the day comes when I’ve established myself more.  Yes?  I used to ‘self-promote’ more and was a lot more vocal and that served it’s purpose in some regards.  It just stopped feeling ok though.  What a strange mix it is to make your living being creative and have to promote and sell.  I would bet that the percentage of people selling their art for a living struggle with that…and if they don’t, I bet they did when they were first getting started.  I’ll go out on a limb to predict that 99% of people selling their art would love nothing better than to just create and not have anything to do with sales.

I’ve always encouraged people to write articles to ‘get their name out there’ and I have to believe that it is a good thing.  I think it’s a better thing if you can do it on a regular basis.  However, I will be honest and say the time and work that goes into it does not yield an immediate return, dollar or otherwise.  My sales have increased in the last six months but I think it has more to do with my ads in various magazines rather than the articles I’ve written or bee included in.  Though, I would still do more if I knew what to write about and where to submit because I do like writing.  I take that back.  I love writing my blog.  I like having the finished product of an article.  Writing of articles, to me, and photographing, is tedious.  But what a cool feeling of accomplishment to finish one and know that someone wants it.

I would probably write more if I wasn’t such a chicken about the submission process.  It’s really no big deal.  I just don’t like rejection…but who does?  Didn’t I just write about ‘no pain, no gain?’  Hm.  Tucson (this week) is my last show until September so writing should hopefully kick back into gear for those inbetween months.  I have so many ideas, I just need to decide if I want to do them.

Advertisements

Five things to do at an artist’s booth…

If you are a fellow artist-like person, novice or pro:

1.  Be honest.  Don’t try and pretend that you’re a customer so you can get a better look at your competition or glimmer of inspiration.  As you know, the other artist can usually tell if you’re a potential customer or there just to get ideas for your own work.  It’s like getting caught looking at someone’s cleavage…you both know it happened but no one says anything.

2.  Don’t block the view.  Whether you’re old friends or just meeting for the first time, be cognizant of what is around you.  If you see people coming towards the booth, end your conversation and step out of the way…you have all weekend to chat…go out to dinner for that.  That might seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many people don’t realize this.

3.  Trading.  If you have the idea that you want to trade your goods or services for someone elses, go ahead and offer but if you get no response or the other person never comes by to see what you have, don’t bug them and ask again.  That might just be their polite way of declining.  Don’t put them on the spot.

4.  Copying.  Of course, don’t take pictures or whip out your sketch book and copy anything.  If you’re going to be cheesey enough to copy, at least buy the bead(s).

5.  Man your own booth.  If you need someone to keep an eye on things while you run to the bathroom and have no other option, ask your neighbor to help out but don’t abuse it.  Don’t shop on the way back or ask them to watch your booth while you go look around.  If you like to do that at shows, bring a helper or use the booth sitters that some shows have for that reason.  If you do go, and it’s alright with your neighbor, don’t get mad if you come back and they’re busy and not able to watch as closely.  Also, take a cell phone if you can so they can call you back.

If you’re a customer:

1.  Spend lots of money.

2.  Remember that we’re not invisible and we hear you too.  Try to refrain from saying things like, ‘I can make that myself,’ even if you can.  Educate your friends and spouses on this one.  We hear you when you say that and we want to roll our eyes at you, or better yet tell you to ‘go ahead, try it’.  Not that I mind if you do, just don’t say it in front of me please.

3.  Discounts.  Feel free to ask about discounts, show specials or wholesale but don’t be offended if an artist-like person doesn’t offer one.  Personally, my beads are priced to sell.  I offer discounts at certain price points but they’re not full wholesale.  If you know what you’re looking at, you’ll see that my beads are not in the highest priced category.  I want to sell to designers and stores so that they can re-sell…I’m not as geared towards collectors but you might want to get my pieces now at these prices before I get a big head and change my mind in the future.  And please, DO NOT ask, ‘can you do any better than that?’ regarding pricing.  If you already asked for the price points, that is what they are.  We’re not doing this for the sheer pleasure of it, we need to eat too.

4.  Ask questions.  Artist-like people are often shy and very often not good conversationalists (I’ll speak for me, anyway).  Ask them questions so they can tell you about their work.  I do my best to engage people if they seem to be interested but I don’t like to seem too sales-y.  I hope my work can speak for itself but there are some interesting stories behind how some designs have emerged.

5.  Ask for more. Don’t be afraid to ask if there is more of a particular style.  If you don’t see enough of what you want, there might be more under the table (not everything fits on the tables) or you could possibly order more.  At my shows, if you place an order for something that can be recreated, I will give you a 10% discount.

Am I raising wimps?

I was just going to write:  ‘I better get my rear in gear and get some advance posts written so you won’t be lonely while I’m in Tucson,’ and I totally had a flashback.  No, not the LSD kind, just a flash of memory from growing up.  My mom had all kinds of sayings she used to say and ‘rear in gear’ was one of them.  I’ve carried that trait into my own mothering.  I think it’s the politcal correctness of motherhood.  We use those cute little sayings instead of yelling out how slow you think your kids are being.  God forbid we might plant the seed in their heads that they’re slow and it comes true, you know.  Don’t want to give them a complex. 

Which brings me to an article that I read not too long ago in Psychology Today about about raising children into ‘wimps’.  I have mixed feelings about the article but sometimes I do wonder if I’m doing the right things with my kids.  I know I’m getting old when I say things like, ‘When I was growing up, we used to get smacked in the mouth for talking that way.’  Don’t get me wrong, we were never ever abused but one good smack sure got the point across and we learned respect very quickly.  It didn’t take too many instances.  These days they’ll take your kids away.  I just get exhausted from being composed and controlled and saying for the millionth time, ‘Honey, we don’t talk that way’ and wondering just when it will sink in and they’ll stop doing it.  ARGH!  Am I raising wimps?

Now, some would look at the cool, calm method of parenting a ‘good parent’.  But just what does that mean?  That it looks good?  Or are we really doing what is best for our kids?  It’s an interesting balance and I try to keep a little of each in there, short of beating them.  I’m not the mom that will turn around on the way to school because Grover forgot his show and tell and he’s just devastated.  While it’s hard to watch him be upset, and it would be so easy to just go get it, it’s an opportunity for a lesson learned.  He won’t do that again, and I won’t have to watch him be upset again.  (Mind you, I reminded him about 4 times that he needed something and he chose not to).

One thing I am learning about parenting is that the longer you put off their pain of consequences, the longer they go through it.  He was very upset about forgetting something, even before I made the decision not to turn around and go back.  He was experiencing pain before I told him ‘no, that is the consequence.’  I could have alleviated more pain by fulfilling his need.  But if I would have done that, he would have felt that pain again the next week when it happened again.  Guess what?  This week he had his show and tell planned in advance.  No crying that he forgot it.  No pain.  So I guess the addage is correct.  No pain, no gain.

Are you warm and fuzzy?

New Ruffled BeadThe other day I was writing an email to a business group that I belong to and I wondered, once again, how do I come across to people?  I know how unintentionally misleading emails, or IMs or even a chat can be.  You think you know someone from what you read in their emails or on forums but when you meet them they can be really different.  And other times, they’re exactly like you expected. 

But that’s not really what I’m talking about.  You see, someone had written to the list asking for help and feedback on something that was very frustrating for them.  My response was to give that help.  It wasn’t anything that really asked for an opinion but more like, ‘who would you recommend’and why?’  So that’s what I did.  After I sent it I noticed that someone else responded more along the lines of ‘I’m so sorry you have to deal with that.’  And I thought, how cold am I?  You’d never believe that I have an advance degree in counseling by the straightforward, matter-of-fact, problem solving answer I gave, void of any compassion at all.  That got me to wondering, and I don’t know if I really want to know the answer, but, how do I come across?  I think I can come across a lot different than I am.  It’s my age-old issue of caring too much about what people think.

Spandex and Hairspray…

Monet EarringsEvery once in a while I click on one of those links that will take you to a random web site under a given category.  I think they’re called ‘Rings’, or at least they used to be.  That sounds kind of outdated to me though.  This time I clicked on a link to go to a random blog.  Now, that’s pretty wide open.  It took me to a blog where the woman writes about her life growing up in the 80s.  Spandex and Hairspray.  Now, while that could be boring talking about big hair and parachute pants (unless it’s done right, of course, then it could be hilarious if that was your time) it sounds like it would be a blast (does that sound 80s?) to write about your specific life during your school years.  Meaning, writing about all of the old boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, parties, angst, fun, etc.  That also could be boring considering you don’t know any of the people being talked about.  Again, it would have to be done well.

I’ve thought about that.  Writing about old boyfriends and friends and some of the crazy things we did but I always stopped myself because, for one, I don’t want someone googling their own name and leading them right to me, and two, I don’t know how flattering it would all be and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  Not that they would ever even know my blog exists but you gotta write expecting that the last person you’d expect to read it will.  And not that it would be a bad thing if someone found me.  It’s funny…I guess I’m more weirded out about people I’ve known, reading about my life than total strangers that I’ve never met before (you) reading about my life.

Find the fake smile…

How well do you think you can read people?  Try this:  Find the fake smile.  I did better than I thought.  What about you?

Top 5 things for a seller to take to Tucson…

Astral Taco BeadsWith Tucson drawing near (next week!) I’m digging out my show checklist and thought I’d share some things that are essential to a successful show.  In no particular order, here we go:

1.  Thick skin.  You just never know what those wacky customers are going to come up with.  At my last show I got, “Oh, what a nice hobby.” Thank-you-very-much.

2.  Chap Stick.  Medicated Chapstick in the light blue tube, is preferred.  I don’t know why, but at every single show I do I get chapped lips.  The only thing I’ve been able to surmise is that I smile more than I ever smile in ‘real life’ and the stretching of the lip skin provides more surface area that is exposed to the elements that usually isn’t.  That leads to chapping.

3.  Duct Tape.  Aside from the fact that it can do just about anything you need at your booth, it also heals blisters.  So, if you’ve forgotten your most comfortable shoes because I didn’t put them on this list to remind you, and you get a blister on your heel, put a piece of Duct Tape on it each morning.  You will be amazed that at the end of the day when you go to remove it, it doesn’t stick to your skin.  It just lifts right off.  And you didn’t even notice your blister all day!!!  I hear it works for warts too, and recommended by doctors.  Read my previous post about it here.

4.  GPS.  This one only applies to those who are driving to the shows or renting a car.  I can’t tell you how much time I spend reading maps on how to get to restaurants, and then back to the hotel and then to the show in the morning.  Not to mention how many times I get lost trying to find the place.  By the 3rd day of the show I know how to get to there…just in time to go home.  Also, did you know that GPS (I’m not sure if all of them do this) can tell you where to find your favorite restaurants and destinations just by entering their name?  You know I’ll be typing in “S-T-A-R-B-U-C-K-S” and saving it to memory.  Anyone want me to pick one up for them?

5.  Bathing Suit and Robe.  I know it’s February and even though it’s Tucson, Arizona, it’s still cold.  BUT.  If your hotel has a hot tub, there is nothing like it at the end of a long day for sore muscles.  I wouldn’t know that firsthand because I could only sit and drool as I watched a few other people in there at the September show.  I was SO sore from standing and smiling all day that I could just FEEL how good my body would have felt if I were in there with them.  This time, I bring my bathing suit.  Heck, if you don’t have one, bring shorts and a T-shirt…you’ll wish you would have once you see them in there and you’re left in the cold.  Literally.