As I noted before, I am house sitting for potters and spending too
much time reading through their library of Clay Times. However,
having reached the Jan/Feb 2005 issue, I came across an article on
research done by the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (further details at
http://www.craftemergency.org/) that gave me pause.
Median annual gross craft sales=$53,000
Median annual net earnings=$8,000
Yikes! And there’s more like that. However, what interested me most
is that the most growth is in studio/showroom sales, while the
biggest decline is in wholesale craft show sales.
This is born out by the anecdotal evidence presented in Clay
Times–the potters who are making a living (sans day job or teaching
gig) almost all say it’s because they sell out of their own
showrooms, usually in rural areas (tourists + low costs = survival).
What does this mean for jewelry “craft artists?” Unlike most
potters, most of us have security issues, so we tend to not want to
sell out of our studios (or even to tell people where they are).
Could there be a relationship between this and what I noticed at last
years ACC in SF? There seemed to be, proportionally, a lot more
jewelers than usual, and one of the most famous and successful told
me the show was a wash.
Maybe some of you have some wisdom to share about this dilemma. I
now feel that my (very!) long term “business plan”–to aim for Buyers
Market, so that I could do 2 shows a year and not have to rep
myself–makes no sense. And that my instinct–to stick with glass and
silver, rather than aim for high karat gold and pink sapphires
(except for my own pleasure, when I’m already rich enough to afford
that!)–might be on target. Has anyone who works solely in silver and
otherwise “non-precious” materials ever had a robbery? Do you sell
out of your studios and find this profitable?