Tag Archives: jewelry

Thoughts from a Meeting with the SBA and New Work

A couple of weeks ago I had a meeting with someone from the local Small Business Administration (SBA). I got a lot out of the meeting and would recommend that any artist who is having trouble with or just needs some advice on the business side of art give it a try. My meeting was specifically about writing a business plan. It is something you have to do if you want to get funding, but my goal  is to be able to provide myself with a road map with some clear goals.

I went in concerned that I was crazy to want to dive into a full-fledged craft business in a rocky economy. One of the first things that the counselor told me was that the art and craft market is a little different from other sales markets. In part, this is because people buy the connection with the artist as much as they are buying a unique item. So one suggestion she gave me is to make myself, not just my product, stand out.  A bad economy is not necessarily a bad time to start a craft business.  Planning and hard work can make it viable.

Another suggestion the counselor gave me was to go over my prices carefully.  She said artists and crafters tend to undervalue their time. I am certainly guilty of not tracking my time very well. It can be difficult to do when balancing working at home and caring for an exuberant young child. But I have started recording the time I sit down to work and the time I get up, even if only for a moment. It has been an eye opener.

Finally, the counselor gave me some great general advice on craft fairs. She said that each craft fair is a different market. What sells at one may not sell at another even if they are close geographically. It can take some trial and error to figure out what to bring to each fair. She also suggested bringing a portfolio of my work that includes items that I have sold or that I didn’t include in the fair. With this customers can see the full range of what I can do. If I advertise that I take commissions and do custom work, I may be able to get more sales.

My first craft fair is coming up soon (Applefest in Peru,NY on Sept 17 and 18). I hope that I can use what I have learned and make it a successful and enjoyable experience.

*****

As for new work, I have a lot of it. Here is a sample of some of my most recent.

copyright Christina Kester 2011

 

copyright Christina Kester 2011

 

copyright Christina Kester 2011

New Work 8-16-2011

Here are some of my latest pieces. They will be posted for sale in my Art Fire store soon. The box is made of pine and is one that I got from a supplier. The pendants are maple from a tree a friend cut down. The experience cutting and sanding them was fun. I am hoping to get some other woods from local sources to turn into pendants.

copyright 2011 Christina Kester

 

copyright 2011 Christina Kester

 

I have also been working on updating my main website. I haven’t used it in quite some time, but it still gets pretty high on Google’s list when you search for me. It just wont do to have an out of date website anymore. I am also scouring the area for small local craft fairs to show my wares.  I’ve applied for one in Glens Falls, NY in September. I’ll post more details as I get them.

Cheers

Wood Pendant Preview

A friend cut down a small oak and gave me some of the wood. I am planning to do a whole bunch of pendants and maybe rune stones with the wood.  Here’s a preview of the first two –

copyright 2011 Christina Kester

I am still deciding how I want to finish them and how I want to handle the cord (bead or no bead). I may be drilling a larger hole so I can hang them differently. I’m looking to sell these around the $7 to $15 range (depending on the design).