1. Is this the kind of business that should build one year
from the next? I have been able to make some really good contacts
and customers who are crazy about my work at each show. So far, I
have covered show expenses and cost of materials plus a smidgen.
Supposedly you will build your clientele and have a better idea of
your show market as you go into your second year. Consider which
shows had the best return and attracted the clientele that likes your
style of work, and drop the ones that didn't meet this criteria, and
add on one or two others to try out as replacements. Get your
customers' names and addresses so you can drop them a note telling
them where your booth will be when a show is in their area. Past
customers are great repeat customers.
2. Did any of you make a huge profit the first year of selling
I sold enough to pay for my investment in inventory and to buy new
tools to allow me to buy tools to make things easier on me. Not a
huge profit, but it was enough to satisfy my desire to continue.
4. I am afraid of consignment. For one thing, it thins my
stock. I did a show this weekend where I know I could've sold a
piece that I have on consignment in a gallery several states away.
Does anyone have really good luck with consignments?
Some consignments are very good with a monthly track record. Others
only sell occasionally, and those I drop.
5. A buyer who saw my work this last weekend wants me to mass
produce for her. She says one-of-a-kind is OUT! She says if you do
one-of-a-kind you are waging a war on money! I want to work for
myself, but if I take her up on her offer I will have to spend ALL
of my time producing for her instead of promoting and selling my
unique designs. Thoughts or opinions?
Consider making this a wholesale account. Develop an exclusive line
for her, and figure out a way to mass produce by means of casting. If
you don't have the capability of casting, farm it out. Tell her what
the price points are for volume sales, and that when she places her
order, it's half down and the balance net 30 days after delivery,
with signed contracts for the exclusivity on her part, and cash basis
on your part. Have the understanding that once she no longer buys a
particular exclusive design for a certain time period, then it passes
back to you for general public consumption.
However, in my opinion, she wants one-of-a-kind designs, but she
wants them at rock-bottom prices that are competitive with foreign
manufacturing. Will you be able to meet the price points she expects,
and still be able to make a profit that allows you a wage outside of your
inventory and labor?