What's selling? Survey Says! - Page 3 - WarmGlass.com

What's selling? Survey Says!

The forum for discussion on business aspects of working with glass.

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Jeri D
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: Martha's Vineyard.MA

Postby Jeri D » Sun Jan 11, 2004 1:19 pm

OK, I'm jumping in being a yearling who most definitely wants to make a living with something I am truly passionate about and in love with. :!: Formerly my creative juices were stimulated in the restaurant biz) I still do work part time bookeeping to carry me through until I hopefully establish myself.
My first season of showing was a tremendous learning experience and also gave me the opportunity to increase my skills and knowledge of what people visiting my area want. I have a very unique situation living on Martha's Vineyard where I can show for 4 straight months and 2 times a week in July and August without traveling . There is a large artist community here with a juried Artisan Fair that gets both a very transient client and your well heeled seasonal homeowner.
I digress. I have sold small soap and ring dishes for the low end but find the middle does not move as well here. I have OK with bass and trout hangings, being a fishing community, and larger platters. What I intend to do is customize more and am currently working on end aand sofa tables to add a higher end to my line. I switched from Stained glass to fused because of the opportunities it provided and I can't, or want to compete with the pretty decent work coming out of China. I understand everyone's concern about competition , I worry myself, but this is something I truly do care about and have altered my life significantly for the craft. I do not have the luxury of a trust fund or wealthy spouse and still I choose to pursue glass as a career because it truly makes me happy(when things work!!!)
So much for my 2 cents
jeri

Jeri D
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: Martha's Vineyard.MA

Postby Jeri D » Sun Jan 11, 2004 1:26 pm

Sorry for the double post. I clicked before I was done.
Brock, who knows what is happening with the glassworks. I think it was sold and they represent quite a few blowers who work and intern there. Thanks for the suggestion though.
I did not feel ready to approach galeries with what were truly small retail items( not able to wholesale those items, better to sell myself), but I am talking to a few for next years season.
Thanks

Brock
Posts: 1519
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 1:32 pm
Location: Vancouver, B.C.

Postby Brock » Sun Jan 11, 2004 1:46 pm

. . . I do not have the luxury of a trust fund or wealthy spouse and still I choose to pursue glass as a career because it truly makes me happy(when things work!!!) So much for my 2 cents jeri

Hey Jeri, happiness beats money. At least that's what I've been told. Never had the opportunity to compare them myself. Hmmm . . . I wonder if it was only wealthy people who said that? Brock

Jeri D
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: Martha's Vineyard.MA

Postby Jeri D » Sun Jan 11, 2004 1:51 pm

Brock, i just want you to post again to hit that 1000 mark :D
All I can say is, I thank something for those folks with money who support the arts. It sure as heck isn't our government, the heathens
J

Brock
Posts: 1519
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 1:32 pm
Location: Vancouver, B.C.

Postby Brock » Sun Jan 11, 2004 1:52 pm

Hah! I just did. Brock

Jeri D
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: Martha's Vineyard.MA

Postby Jeri D » Sun Jan 11, 2004 1:54 pm

Bravo, kudos to "THE Answer man'

Brock
Posts: 1519
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 1:32 pm
Location: Vancouver, B.C.

Postby Brock » Sun Jan 11, 2004 1:57 pm

Jeri Dantzig wrote:Bravo, kudos to "THE Answer man'


Hopefully it's veracity, and not just volume.

Probably depends on who you ask. Brock

Kitty
Posts: 437
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 4:12 pm
Location: Gig Harbor, WA

Postby Kitty » Sun Jan 11, 2004 3:22 pm

i'm reading this thread rather late ... been away from home for awhile. i noticed someone mentioned the competition coming from glass made in china and mexico. about a year or so ago, a fair amount of this imported dichroic jewelry started showing up, retailing at pretty low prices, which was annoying to me. i was worried about it flooding the market, and damaging my sales. for one thing, the imported jewelry has sterling bezels on the pendants, which i don't do. but surprisingly, it seems that it hasn't affected my sales at all, and oddly, i dont think it sells that well, although i dont know why because the appearance is fine.

as for the influx of "wannabees," every year a few local newcomers show up with their work. one thing about jewelry is this: it's harder than beginners think to make jewelry that is pretty, and that people want to buy.

because of the economic situation here in the Islands, focusing on selling large and more expensive pieces is not a good business idea, if you need to earn enough to live on. for the last 10 years, locals and visitors have been spending less, and this is especially true for high-ticket items. additionally, glass is harder to sell in this area than artwork that is visually about hawaii; and glass is a problem to ship, which scares customers. i had a gallery in Honolulu in the 90's, and i dont think i could sell as well today as i could then with high-end art. in order to market high-end work here, what's needed is to be in a primo location, with a constantly changing clientele of those with sufficient disposable income

i have noticed that a man from the Pacific NW is selling a lot of his glass plates in galleries here. maybe financially it works out better to make the wares on the mainland and sell them to hawaii galleries, rather than a hawaii artist importing a kiln, the glass, all the other materials, paying more for electricity, and then paying local freight to ship to the stores around hawaii. all of those things interfere with pricing the final product, and probably also have a lot to do with why there aren't very many glass people here.

Dennis Brady
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 9:06 pm
Location: Victoria BC
Contact:

Postby Dennis Brady » Sun Jan 11, 2004 5:12 pm

Although the increased cost of bringing everything to you is a disadvantage, it's balanced by the marketing advantage of being able to claim your product is locally made. The tool and materials cost is a very small percentage of final cost. It's mostly your labour that determines the final price. If you can keep that in line, you can be price competitive.

I live in Victoria, Canada. Another place that relies almost entirely on tourism for income. We have thousands of artisans here trying to make a living selling their work. The great majority constantly complaining about their inabililty to compete with imports. It's ironic that one of the most frequent questions I get from the stores I sell to is, "Can you recommend any good craftspeople?". Most of what's sold in our local shops and galleries is made somewhere else. WHY? It's NOT because the stores don't prefer to buy locally made. It IS because not enough of the local producers have professionalized. They just don't spend enough effort at controlling their production cost or presenting a reasonably professional image.

I bet the attitude of shop owners in Honolulu is similar to those in Victoria. They love selling handmade work, but HATE dealing with the people that make it. Shop and gallery owners start with the expectation that, until you prove otherwise, you're an unreliable artsy air-headed flake. That's not fair, but it's true often enough they start with that expectation. The going gag is, if a local artisan promises delivery next Monday, be sure you've agreed on which month. Every buyer has endless tales of the times they've ordered something to be told by the artisan, "I'm tired of making those".

Make a good product at a fair price and people will buy it. If your product isn't selling, YOU are doing something wrong. Find out where you're wrong, correct the mistake - and your product will sell.
DeBrady Glass Ltd http://www.debrady.com
Victorian Art Glass http://www.vicartglass.com
Glass Campus online classes http://www.glasscampus.com

Kitty
Posts: 437
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 4:12 pm
Location: Gig Harbor, WA

Postby Kitty » Sun Jan 11, 2004 5:39 pm

i dont have trouble selling -- i've got an established business with about 40 stores carrying my line in hawaii, and a half dozen museums on the mainland. but i think it's hard for newcomers to break into the market here.

it is indeed true that "made in hawaii" is a definite selling point, even outside of hawaii.

also, your point about some crafts people being unreliable is well taken. part of the reason i do well is being very service-oriented to my stores. i'm never late, and i listen to what people tell me works for them.

Dennis Brady
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 9:06 pm
Location: Victoria BC
Contact:

Postby Dennis Brady » Sun Jan 11, 2004 6:05 pm

I agree it's hard for newcomers to break in. I think that applies everywhere and believe it's primarily because the prospective buyers are so tentative about working with someone new.

The solution for newcomers is to do everything they can to present themselves first as professional businesses - second as artists. Then be patient and persistent. Perservance is a lot more valuable than talent - even more valuable than luck.
DeBrady Glass Ltd http://www.debrady.com

Victorian Art Glass http://www.vicartglass.com

Glass Campus online classes http://www.glasscampus.com

Kitty
Posts: 437
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 4:12 pm
Location: Gig Harbor, WA

Postby Kitty » Sun Jan 11, 2004 6:39 pm

one last comment from me on competition from imported jewelry, or for the matter, competition from hugely underpriced goods that may even be locally made:

one of my slow-performing stores positioned a small display of dichroic earrings on the counter near my display rack. the competitor's earrings were HUGELY underpriced ... i think less than $10. it was a craft fair person who was able to get their goods into the store based on price-point. some stores are too influenced by price, and not quality or profitability or appearance. dont ask me why, it's a mind-set that doesnt seem to make sense.

anyway, in this instance, the presence of these much cheaper earrings did diminish my sales, in a store that already wasn't a strong performer. what a screwy thing! the store didn't profit from the arrangement, either, since they were earning less per pair. it doesn't pay to offer the customer too many choices.

i give my stores a tropical-style display rack for my line, without charge, as long as they agree to not merchandise any other stuff on the rack. people have always been circumspect about this arrangement. the rack attracts a lot of attention, and helps "dress" the area of the store where it's located.

i asked my my rep to talk to the store owner about the cheaper earrings undercutting my sales, and to suggest that since they had placed a competing product right next to mine, they could buy my jewelry on an "open stock" basis, and not use my display rack. i expecty sales of at least $2500 a year from a store with my rack, and this store was falling very far below that expectation.

my rep told me that the cheaper earrings were not nicely made, had sloppy glue, and shouldnt have even been in the store, but that this particular owner just really looks hard at price before anything else. i might add that this heavy perception that price matters more than anything else is a Hawaii thing ... it's related to cultural and historical issues.

i'm not upset about giving up the account since it wasnt that strong anyway. i can't put my line in a position where it's in direct competion with a product selling for half the price. as we all knows, not all customers look at merchandise the same way. some can see that one pair of earrings is really pretty, and the other isn't. some see that one pair is $8, and the other is $22.

i'm still on friendly terms with the store owner because this situation was handled gently -- the rack was removed, but the offer of buying open stock was on the table, as was an explanation of what kind of sales the rack is supposed to generate.

Arlene from Poway
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2003 8:29 pm
Location: Poway in the middle of nowhere Ca
Contact:

Who's selling what....

Postby Arlene from Poway » Tue Jan 13, 2004 7:57 pm

OK, OK, had to look at " Dichroic glass" on E@#Y, found this statement on an auction ad..." I THINK, FOR THE MONEY, MY WORK IS THE BEST DICHROIC GLASS THAT YOU CAN FIND ANYWHERE,,,, " Now I'm not saying my work is the most swell in this hemisphere, but , I do have a teeny tiny fan club. Buy I almost gagged. I'm sorry and I hope I haven't offended anyone but you have to see these "words" to believe them. Well, my friends call me a " glass snob" but I know what I like.
Oh, look up the name " artistnow" maybe they are right, maybe they are the best?

Arlene
aka
fuser the snob

Hi Geri, I wasn't slamming the work, just laughing at the verbage, Methinks YOU took it wrong dear, SORRY.


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