Production Line - pros and cons

Hello, Everybody,

Have been weighing the pros and cons of doing a production line, and
I have a few questions for those who have done these - namely, where
does the production stuff go?

None of my galleries will take anything less than one offs, and I
don’t really do shows.

So where does the production line go? And is production really a
better way to make money vs one-offs?

Thanks in advance,

Susannah Page-Garcia
Moonshine Metal Creations

Susannah, The production line is a wholesale market for me. I offer
it as an affordable way to have some of my family’s work/design to
the largest market of people who cannot afford a one of and who
don’t really care of something is one of. As for the better way to
make money, that is what we are all looking for. There is no better
way to make money,if there was we would all be doing it. Designing
for productionis an art all it’s own and takes time and money, time
and money you may not have if you have a career based on one of’s. I
have been designing for production and doing one of’s for many
years, they effect each other, but they are two very different
design philosophies. Understanding the difference is a good
education. If you have any questions please reach me off list.

Sam Patania, Tucson

Designing for production is an art all it's own 

You bet it is! You do not want to be looking at the same small
errors in design on hundreds of pieces made from the same mold or die
or whatever production process you use, errors that you or your
caster/ finisher or assistant will learn to hate, and which will
drive up the cost of production on the piece. I now encourage my
caster to complain about the molds I send her, so that one of us can
make a new one for the piece if it will be significantly better for
production. But there are some errors that cannot be fixed without
going right back to the original model and making it over. There is a
learning curve to production work in any technique, so I guess it
takes some commitment to a production line to go ahead and get it
right. If you really know that you want to do production work, try
it, start working on it! But be willing to change things as you learn
what does not work well. It’s just part of the production scene.

I have sold or consigned production work to art center gift shops,
craft cooperative stores, jewelry stores, art galleries, gift stores,
a drug store, and specialty shops (Scandinavian, in my case). I also
sell it at retail craft fairs.

I have also done production pieces on commission for a Women in
Business award, a foundation’s Leadership Program award pin, and a
company’s logo pin. These are all ongoing accounts which have been
ordering every year. I have made thousands of the Leadership Program
pins, am on my second rubber mold for them, and bought a fusion
welder to put the tac pin backs on them. BTW, it took making three
models of their intricate design for me to have the design accepted,
and two or three jewelers had already tried to please the client
before me, and failed to get the account. For the Women in Business
award, the design acceptance process took so long that they almost
bailed out on me, and I had to cast the first batch myself instead
of sending it out, because of time constraints with the casters. This
all right at the beginning of my summer show season! I worked very
long hours at that particular time to get the job done. But was it
worth it? Oh, yes.

I am interested in doing more of this kind of work, and doing fewer
craft fairs as I get older. My next marketing move will be to promote
corporate/foundation/etc. type work like this.( Anybody out there
need some production pins or pendants for their organization right
now? I’m ready!)

The post I read talked very intelligently about keeping things clean
and tight. He did not mention one other important aspect though -
that of your guarantee. When you make a piece, you guarantee it, like
it or not. When you make 500 pieces, you must do the same, like it or
not, and they better be right and you better be ready.