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Thomas Mann's "Design for Survival"?

I was wondering if anyone has either attended Thomas Mann’s workshop
called “Design for Survival” or if anyone has directly purchased
the course materials from his website.

I am looking for opinions on this particular material.

Thank you.

Hi,

I purchased Mann’s pricing software and video and marketing tapes
and have found them invaluable as research tools for planning and
developing my jewellery business.

Donna
Donna Hiebert Design

I was wondering if anyone has either attended Thomas Mann's
workshop called "Design for Survival" or  if anyone has directly
purchased the course materials from his website. 

Stephanie - I took the course from Thomas Mann at the Louisiana SNAG
conference a few years ago. It was a wake-up call on the business
of art. It got me started on pricing and looking at what I was
doing.

But - and this is a big but - Thomas runs an art factory. At the
time he had 16 people making stuff from parts he had mass produced
(not enough found objects to make his found object stuff), along
with accounting, marketing and other support staff. What he has put
into the course is how to price and manage that kind of operation.
He talked about vocabulary in your work - the art speak stuff - but
basically emphasized that this is all about how much you can make
how fast.

It isn’t what I wanted to do - I got out of being an employer and I
want to stay out. I make everything my self, and I like it that
way. I don’t have 80 galleries carrying my work. I do have some
collectors and I have found a niche that suits me. Speed matters,
but so does pride in ones work.

I don’t know where he is now as to the size of his operation, he has
certainly been financially successful. The work he says he does by
himself is interesting and pushing the edge.

I’m not into running an art factory. What do you want?

And how do you Orchid folks feel about going to a show and having
the booth across from you show work made by 20 people in their
studio?

Judy Hoch

Several years ago Thomas Mann was the keynote speaker at a marketing
workshop for artists and craftsmen in Toronto. It seemed that the
entire jewellery-artist community in Southern Ontario turned out. I
have since described him as an “inspirational” speaker for
jewellers. Everyone at the reception afterwards was really pumped and
ready to go out there and start aggressively marketing their work. I
had a three-hour drive back to my home and by the time I reached my
destination, I realized that I couldn’t do what Thomas does. It’s a
personality thing. I have since come to the conclusion that you
either are, or are not, an entrepreneur and all the workshops you
take cannot change that fact. In fact, for the entrepreneur, the act
of marketing is the creative act. Some like Thomas combine that with
the other aspect of his creativity - his jewellery and art. Those of
us whose primary interest is making things, can learn to be good at
the business side of things, but probably will never be interested in
going to the lengths that Thomas Mann wants to go. There as many
ways to be a jeweller and artist as there are techniques and designs.

I eventually took some of his advice - the parts that suited the kind
of business I wanted to operate and the ones that were compatible
with my personality. I did find the experience useful. I did not take
the offered workshop so I cannot comment on that. I still remember
the excitement in that room after his talk. It truly was inspiring.
But most of the jewellers I saw there are still marketing their work
the way they always did and I would guess that ALL of us now produce
coloured postcards with images of our work!

Sandra Noble Goss

But - and this is a big but - Thomas runs an art factory (not
enough found objects to make his found object stuff), At the time
he had 16 people making stuff from parts he had mass produced And
how do you Orchid folks feel about going to a show and having the
booth across from you show work made by 20 people in their studio? 

Dear Judy,

I don’t find your comments, quoted above from your recent post,
relevant to the topic - a query concerning Thomas Mann’s “Design for
Survival” marketing material. There are many different business
models available in any industry. The debate concerning what kind of
work should be admitted into craft shows is a seperate debate.

I don’t know Thomas Mann but I am grateful for the that
he, and other craftpeople, are making available to people such as
myself who are taking our craft practive to the next level. I am a
solo craftperson at this time but I still find his advice very
relevant. A lack of awareness concerning financial management and
the role of marketing in your business can sink any ship - no matter
how small.

I endeavor to gather as much as I can, weigh it against
my own knowledge and experience and then to make the most
intelligent decision possible.

Regards,
Donna
Donna Hiebert Design

Gold bless Thomas Mann -I wish I could afford 20 people to help make
more work while I concentrated on design and future projects… He is
a role model to look up to in this business. Aren’t we all in end
just trying to make a living doing what we love? I would rather
have Thomas Mann across from me in a trade show then a booth of
knock offs made in China (ugh I can’t even tell you how depressing
that is if that has not happened to you yet…)

DeDe
dedemetal