I mostly create jewelry and sell it so have not done enough custom
work to judge, but I will tell you that I have talked to a lot of
people in various fields of entrepreneurialship (is that a word?) and
they all are struggling.
My jewelry is in a local shop. She does wonderful custom bedding and
decorating and has very unusual, reasonably priced home decor items,
baby gifts, etc. She has maybe an average of three customers in the
door per day. Another acquaintance of ours has a furniture store. She
says the lack of interest is the worst she's seen in 20 years. I have
a customer who is a wholesaler who told me last year that their show
attendance was down 60% over previous years. I do shows once a year
at a potter's art center. Their sales had been way down when I was
there last year.
I was so happy when I juried into some of the "hard-to-get-into"
shows last year. The public attendance was terrible. The other shows
I did last year had horrible attendance too and the other artists
(not just jewelers) were complaining that other shows were down.
In Texas, our sales tax receipts are up! "Great economy" is what you
hear and read in the news! I've looked at the breakdown of those tax
receipts and they seem to be fairly evenly weighted, e.g., furniture,
groceries, auto sales, etc., etc., and then there's a miscellaneous
column that you have to guess at who/what is included.
It isn't just a problem with the sales of artisans/artists goods. It
seems to be kind of across the board with small businesses. My
friends and I have has hed this question over so many times. What is
it? Are people maxed out on their credit cards? Worried about
upcoming political changes? Terrorism? Too many opportunities to buy
and people have just lost interest? Are sales tax receipts up because
big business is the only one selling, e.g...Wal-Mart, Sam's, etc?
Have people gotten less materialistic? Are they afraid of.......you
It's been this way in my world for a good three years but on the
other hand I am lucky enough to have a part-time job that helps pay
the bills and I am still selling enough jewelry (while not risking on
shows) to help with the bills too.
J. S. (Sue) Ellington