Today's Artists Answer is from the bead soup lady herself. I first found Lori's blog when she started doing the bead soup swap over a year ago. I (like everyone else) signed up immediately and got some great swap partners and some great swap goodies.
I asked Lori to talk about a topic that interests her and she chose publication! Yay! This beady chica has been published in so many magazines and books and I'm looking forward to hearing her advice on publishing beady creations.
So...without further ado...
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in Easton, on the eastern shore of Maryland and I was introduced to beads when I was pregnant and on bed rest and a friend brought me some beads to play with. I got hooked. A year later, I jumped in with both feet and started exhibiting at juried shows in VA, MD, PA, NJ, and CT. I am largely self-taught, recently taking classes in metal smithing, enameling, and lampwork. This is absolutely NOT something I ever thought I’d end up doing, but I’m so glad I found beads!
I also sell quite a lot online, and just revamped my entire web presence this year. I’ve also had sales via my blog and Facebook. You just never know these days where people will find you!
Have you done wholesale?
I’ve sold wholesale before on Wholesale Crafts.com, but now only have one account at a local gallery. Wholesale didn’t work for me because I make one of a kind pieces and because my prices aren’t set up to work well with wholesale accounts. Most wholesale customers want a 50% discount and they also like to have line sheets – a catalog of your pieces. I don’t like production work, so making the same thing over and over turned into a dreaded chore for me, and I dropped all my wholesale accounts when the contracts ran out. Most designers find that choosing just one method of sales is the best – retail or wholesale.
Do you have any tips for anyone seeking to get published?
My first tutorial was published because I emailed the photo in to the editor of the magazine for consideration for the reader’s gallery. I had worked and worked and WORKED on getting that necklace just right and was so darned pleased when I was done that I just HAD to show it to someone who would appreciate it. I was shocked when the magazine asked to see it for consideration for a tutorial! I mailed it in, and I had my first tutorial published about nine months later.
Each magazine has its own rules and deadlines for submitting pieces for publication – some ask for photos first, while others ask for the jewelry first. Be aware that once your piece is accepted, it can take months before your tutorial is published – the industry runs on a different schedule and calendar.
How do you market your work?
I have a huge email list from collecting (with permission) emails from customers at my shows over the past five or so years. I send out a newsletter at least once a month, sometimes two. I also mail out postcards with discount coupons right before a show. I use Facebook (but I try not to overdo it) and my blog (again, I try not to overdo it). I get business from customer referrals. And certain types of jewelry I make come up high on Google searches, so I get business that way as well.
What sale or published piece are you most proud of?
Hmm. I guess I have several. The two that startled me the most were my two most expensive pieces. Both were made with larimar, a rare gemstone, and were priced at $480 and $500, and I’d made them more as an ooh-aah piece to get people to stop in their tracks in the aisles – you know, make them stop and want to come into my booth to see more. I make pieces like that and I never expect them to sell because that’s not at ALL my normal price point. They’re just there for the ‘wow’ factor. Anyway, I posted on my blog, and it sold that day to someone in the Midwest. I sold the other one a month ago at a show. I about cried when she handed it to me and she asked me to put it around her neck.
The ones that I’ve ENJOYED the most are selling my Better Than Prozac necklaces.
Each one is made with at least 105 handmade lampwork beads. I call them “Better Than Prozac” because you can’t help but be happy when you wear them – you can skip the Prozac that day! J
The first “dose” I sold to a woman who had just found out her husband had cancer, and she wanted to wear it when her husband went in for his chemo – she said she wanted him to have something cheerful to look at. We had a huge hugs and some tears over that one. (Did I mention I love my customers?) The second one I sold was to a woman who had just COMPLETED her chemo and was growing her hair back, defiantly refusing to wear a cap or scarf. She wanted to wear the necklace as a celebration. Each customer who’s bought a “dose” of this necklace has been special and as I’m making the necklace, I put a lot of love, good wishes, and happy Karma into them. They’re meant to bring joy and happiness to the wearer and those who see them.
Thanks for stopping by for this week's Artists Answer! Enjoy your Wednesday!