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View Full Version : To Sell ...or is this a hobby


HollyLee
08-23-2004, 09:08 AM
How many of you design wearable art -- in my case jewelry with natural gems, pearls and artisan lampwork glass -- for the pure enjoyment that it brings? Treat it like a hobby? On the other hand, how many of you feel the need to sell to atleast finance the hobby?

I can't stop thinking about why I think jewelry design is different than playing golf or buying collectibles -- both cost money, both are done for the enjoyment of the activity, but neither one causes one to think, " I need to recoup my investment."

And if you don't sell, what do you do with all your designs? I am considering buying a wire mesh to cover one wall so that I can hang everything up and admire my "art" at all times.

So what do you do?

Retta Gates
08-23-2004, 09:19 AM
I make a bunch for myself but soon I hope to switch over to the "sell" catagory :) I have a show coming up on the 12th of September where I will try and sell my seedbeaded jewelry and some of my lampwork for the first time! woohoo ( I did a show once before and did pretty well, just beaded stuff now my stuff is "much" better so we'll see how it does ).

debkauz
08-23-2004, 10:30 AM
Right now I am selling most of what I do to a gallery in California. With the vast inventory I have I couldn't support the business at all if I didn't sell. Plus, a lot of times what I make is something I like and wanted to try but not something I would wear personally. I generally make friends their birthday presents, holiday presents, etc. Not always, but they usually expect a design from me. I enjoy doing both and am really glad that I was able to get the gallery thing because it supports a lot of my 'habit.' He's also pretty laid back about what I send him. Usually just tells me that he wants '$ amount' of jewelry and leaves it up to me to price it the way I want.

Deb :wave:

Andee
08-23-2004, 10:55 AM
I do this just for fun, I don't sell. A few of my pieces are made as gifts for friends and family, and the rest I keep. I find it pretty hard to let go of them, if I didn't already make them with a special person in mind. So, as of today I have some 140 or so necklaces, 60 bracelets and countless earrings and rings lying or hanging around here. I still need to come up with the perfect way of displaying them, tho... :D

sassybird
08-23-2004, 11:03 AM
Right now I am making jewelry for friends and family, but I definitely am doing some to sell also. As my skills advance I expect to sell most of what I make.

TheBlueBetween
08-23-2004, 11:18 AM
for me it started out as a hobby - I really really needed a creative outlet after having my son - and I wandered the isles of Michaels Craft store one night and ended up in the jewelry isles thinking - hey! I used to make jewelry when I was a kid and loved it - remember the summer I didn't do anything but macreme? These beads are so pretty... hey that looks pretty easy... and hey, this is something I can pick up and put down as I get interupted all day... and it's portable so I could take off with it one night a week and get away.... So I bought some beads and some wire and a crimper and crimp beads and made some beautiful (tho cheap) necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Everyone oohed and ahhed and said I should sell. I said no, it's just a hobby. I made a bunch and gave away a bunch and made some more and gave most of it away... and upgraded my materials and got picky about my supplies and tools.... and then started lampworking... and everyone kept saying - you should sell this stuff - it's so beautiful blah blah blah.... no, I want a hobby with no pressure. I need something fun and creative with no pressure.

Well today I sell most of what I make (and still give away a fair amount of gifts as well). I caved in. But what's a girl to do when she's spending thousands on supplies and lampworking studio, etc etc and not bringing in any money to support it? Plus I want a sail boat someday..... and a house by the sea.... (a girl can dream too ;) )

:) Pam

CarlaAlexander
08-23-2004, 12:43 PM
I mostly sell just my beads not jewelry. I do make some of it up and if it doesn't fit just right I dont' remake it I sell it. I have neighbors ring my doorbell and past customers call and make an appointment. BUT I don't usually set out to sell my jewelry. I have a couple of shows a year when I get requests, but mostly I love to make the beads and the jewelry comes second.

dogmaw
08-23-2004, 02:53 PM
It started for me as a hobby that I could enjoy with my mother-in-law. Then we had soooo much stuff made, and everyone we knew was covered in jewelry, that we decided to try and sell it at a show. We did horrible. Didn't even make booth rental. So it went back to being a hobby. Up until now that is. I recently moved, and a gallery wanted to sell my work. OK says me. Now I am back to having oodles of stuff, and am trying a new art show next month in Seneca (SC). We will see how it goes. If it does go well, I may put DH to work selling my stuff too. :)

Jo

SingingCat
08-23-2004, 04:54 PM
I create jewelry because I enjoy doing it. I give a lot of it away as gifts and I have sold a number of pieces to friends and strangers...(one of my friends buys my jewelry for all her female relatives birthdays -- she gives me an idea of what they might appreciate and I take it from there.....)

I often think that I would like move up to where my work is more intricate, polished and professional.....and then sell enough to actually make a profit from what I do but for now, lack of funds, space and other life circumstances keep me from getting there.

In the meantime I keep on learning new things, practicing what I know and having a GREAT time doing it! If I am never able to do more than make a few people smile and have some fun jewelry to wear, that's fine by me too!

MadameKali
08-23-2004, 06:55 PM
I make jewelry as art, right now. Though I don't make jewelry with the intent to make money off of it, I definitely wouldn't mind selling some of it, however. As a barista, I definitely don't make enough to support the kind of work some of these other folks do, and someday, I would actually like to sell my jewelry as my primary career--but at the moment, I make it because I enjoy making it.

HollyLee
08-23-2004, 07:25 PM
This is so interesting!! -- and friends, colleagues, and family do love holiday gifts -- and I love the thought that I can make something really really nice, that I never could afford to buy for them. But, it is an expensive hobby. I travel quite a bit in my job and do "suitcase" shows in my hotel room for attendees at the meetings. This keeps me feeding the money pot, but I guess the competitive nature sometimes gets me worked to thinking I should work a little more on marketing. But the interest ends there. I do have a web site and it is used more by people I know who are located all over the US and Canada. I have made a few sales to strangers. That was my last marketing goal. Now that I reached it... well is it time to set a new goal?

thanks for the comments

HollyLee
08-23-2004, 07:27 PM
Right now I am selling most of what I do to a gallery in California. With the vast inventory I have I couldn't support the business at all if I didn't sell. Plus, a lot of times what I make is something I like and wanted to try but not something I would wear personally. I generally make friends their birthday presents, holiday presents, etc. Not always, but they usually expect a design from me. I enjoy doing both and am really glad that I was able to get the gallery thing because it supports a lot of my 'habit.' He's also pretty laid back about what I send him. Usually just tells me that he wants '$ amount' of jewelry and leaves it up to me to price it the way I want.

Deb :wave:
I love your quote at the bottom of the page! Im with you on this one!!

flynfire
08-23-2004, 08:22 PM
I learned to make jewelry in order to sell it. BUT I didn't realize how much I would enjoy it. If I wasn't selling it, I would have a hard time justifying the cost. I would miss not doing it.
Kit

Kerensamere
08-23-2004, 09:34 PM
I learned to make jewelry years ago while I worked for someone else when I lived at the beach one summer. They taught me how to do basic assembly work, basically, while I minded thier store I made their inventory. Great summer job.

15+ years later I took a stained glass class. Started making picture frames for friends and family as Christmas gifts and decided to make myself a pendant from some scraps and a bead I had. Started wearing the thing and people started complementing me on my piece in the strangest of places. Grocery store clerks, hardware store clerks (some were even men!), other shoppers in stores. I finally took the hint and made some more pieces for friends and family. Continued to get positive feed back and took the BIG hint and started making and selling them. By the way, I still wear that first pendant and I still get lots of compliments on it! :-)

Years before I made and sold marbled silk scarves while in college, then taught myself how to do paper sculpture and tried selling that when sales dropped on the scarves and I no longer had the space to do the scarves. The paper stuff didn't move very well, it was fun though. My glass jewelry, mobiles and wind chimes have gone over very well. The best of all three. Oh, almost forgot, I made soft sculpture dolls in elementary school and sold them at a local craft fair, made enough money to buy myself a 10-speed bike! My Dad raised me to be an entrepeneur so here I am, a full time Mom starting a business making pretties and selling them. As my kiddo gets older I hope to invest more time in the business.

In my case it helps to have a DH that supports and encourages me. There's no way I could do what I'm doing without him. I inundate him with "thanks" everyday! :D I feel very blessed to have him as my hubby, my partner, my friend and my muse.

Oskadis
08-24-2004, 06:57 AM
Hi,

I have been in touch with jewelrymaking since I was 12 years old - when I was on holiday in Germany and got in touch with seed beads and silver wire for the first time in my life (was living in Spain by that time and there beading was no concept).

When I started roaming Ebay and grasped the concept that I would be able to expand my jewelry expeditions to the USA and other countries my hobby started to take over my spare time completely - and my purse.

So I decided to start selling to finance as good as I could my shoppin sprees for beads and components.

From that selling the jewelry itself has developed into a passion. So I could say that my hobby is selling my jewelry in the end ;) I want to expand a bit so my spare time turns out to be profitable - but it is quite a bit of way yet to that.

Anyway - I enjoy beading and jewelry making and sell to finance my passion.

BlueBuddha
08-24-2004, 10:23 AM
Making chainmaille started out as a hobby for me...and is now my full-time job. To be honest, I have two part-time jobs on the side, but they only take up about 25-30 hours a month. I had another 2-day-a-week part-time job for the past year. Then I weaned myself down to one day a week in June, and at the middle of July, I quit to do maille full-time. Woo-hoo!

I love my job, and I love the fact that I can put my PR background to good use promoting myself, rather than working for someone else. Having said that, though, I do hate some of the other stuff involved, like bookkeeping and tax time. Blah.

This is the best job I've ever had. I wake up excited to get started working, and though I'm working harder than I ever have for any other job, it is so fulfulling to see my work pay off as I achieve my goals.

MiniLady
08-24-2004, 04:51 PM
I have always loved glass. Collected it for years. Finally, after seeing the beautiful stained glass pieces my girlfriend was making, I bit the bullet and took a stained glass class. I was hooked - big time! Last Christmas my husband purchased my kiln and I have been a fusing junkie ever since. I started off making pieces for friends and family. Oh yea, for myself too. I commute everyday to Washington, DC and spend about 2 hours on a train. Ladies started eyeballing my stuff and asked if it was for sale. Well, why not? Now I am going to do my first festival at a winery with my girlfriend. I am hoping that it is a success. But if not, then I take great pleasure in giving it as gifts. It really makes someone smile to get a gift that is handcrafted - they know time and love went into it.

HollyLee
08-24-2004, 08:05 PM
[QUOTE=BlueBuddha]
I love my job, and I love the fact that I can put my PR background to good use promoting myself, rather than working for someone else. Having said that, though, I do hate some of the other stuff involved, like bookkeeping and tax time. Blah.

QUOTE]

I think for me the PR part is the hardest part -- it is great to have people notice what I wear; comment and then want to see my designs to buy. Sort of a passive approach. I am not a seller-type person; hate to ask people for money for anything; and find it very hard to ask for money for my jewelry. I do and take great joy in sharing my designs, but I am also craving for me -- to learn the marketing and how one promotes. Everyone that writes here and on other bulletin boards or who I meet at shows, seems to "fall into" a gallery that will take their work and then they do great. I have not had this luck, but it is what I continually hope for. Trying to actively make it happen,,, now there's the rub.

Kerensamere
08-24-2004, 09:27 PM
I love my job, and I love the fact that I can put my PR background to good use promoting myself, rather than working for someone else. Having said that, though, I do hate some of the other stuff involved, like bookkeeping and tax time. Blah.


Funny! My background is in advertising/marketing/PR/etc. too! I too use that experience to promote myself. AND I too hate doing the bookkeeping and tax stuff! :p But if I have books to keep and taxes to pay that means I'm making money! Gotta look on the bright side, call me "Pollyanna" if you wish.

I once read a quote by another artist, can't remember who it was or where, but he said that if he worked as hard as he does for himself now when he was employeed by someone else he would've quit a long time ago.

Up until last term (the school runs year 'round), I was a part time adjunct instructor at and 18 month tech school (part of the Art Institute family). I was teaching intro to computing and/or writing and communications courses. Now that my business has really started rolling I've started declining to teach. Took last term off and might be doing the same this term. I'm turning down just under $1,000 a month after taxes but just teaching one class, 2 days a week, I loose close to 4 days of work in my studio each week. Particularly because I can't do any work in my studio during the day when my DD is awake, so it's not until after 7:30 (more like 8:30 by the time it's all said and done) that I can actually get down there and get some work done. If I'm teaching those nite time hours go to preping for class the next day or grading papers. Luckily my DH supports me and my decision to focus on my business. Frankly, if I want this business to grow and become profitable the only way it's going to happen is for me to spend more time making stuff and selling stuff and less time teaching. It's a BIG leap and I'm lucky to have the luxury to be able to take it financially. But when you start a business you will always need to asses the risks and know when to leap and when to wait.

-Jen