Ta dah!! For people who like my Facebook page, or for you readers who make a comment on my blog and/or subscribe to my newsletter, I am offering the chance to win one of five of these mosaic pendants, hand-crafted by me using fused and vitreous glass, mini glass cubes, millefiori, mirror and ceramic tile. The competition will end on 5 May 2014 and then I will select five winners at random. I will post the pendants to the winners (Australian addresses only).
This part of my strategy covers two approaches. The first one is the obvious 'offer something free so people will 'Like' me, which will guide more traffic to my website so people know who I am and what I do' approach, more commonly known as Marketing 101. The second approach requires my researching products that are more accessible to more people than just the mosaics as I usually make them. That way I can learn about the market that might/might not exist for the things I want to make and sell when my business gets up and running. Although large sized mosaic installations are what I really would like to spend my time doing, I am fully aware that not everybody needs, or even wants, one. And yet they still might really like my work and want to be able to buy a small mosaic at a very reasonable, every day sort of price. Hence the jewellery range. I hope to be opening an on-line store on my website in the coming months (assuming I can drive the technology bus), and will then have an extra dimension to my art business.
This is the very beginning of that.
My initial concerns are those I have always had regarding the work I make. I am sure many artisans in fields from visual art to cooking to performance have had the same issue. The concern is that making a smaller, more accessible item for sale, rather than making the larger and more expensive work that you really want to make, may somehow compromise the work itself. And compromising your work, as we know from our Marxian blog a few weeks ago, is akin to compromising yourself. But I don't feel that in this case.
These pendants are small, and yes, they are inexpensive, but they don't feel like a compromise. I really love making them. They are quick and fun, and to complete a mosaic in an hour or so, rather than working on one for weeks and weeks, as is often the case when I make a large mosaic, is a delight. Also, I think they are really pretty. I started by making a couple for myself, and some chunky matching mosaic rings as well. Then people commented how much they liked them and started asking me where they could buy them. So I made more. And, hopefully, pretty soon you will be able to buy them directly from me at www.goosehousedesigns.com.au.
All this talk of compromise has reminded me of the time many years ago when I was selling hand-painted ceramics with my dear friend Renita at the Balmain Markets in Sydney. For a number of years we showed up every week and sold a variety of pieces, platters, mugs, teapots, etc. We also sold hand-painted cushions and some fabulous children's T-shirts that Ren spent hours sewing and painting. Mainly small and reasonably priced craftworks that we could easily sell. Christmas was always good for us, and we considered ourselves fairly fortunate to be able to make some money doing what we loved - which was making things.
All was well until one day we sat and really looked at the numbers, and realised that, after the materials we bought and the time we spent making, and our low prices to compete with cheap Mexican imports, we were actually working for about $3 per hour!!! A fairly sobering wake-up call.
Nowadays, of course, I hope am more aware of costing my time and my work properly. Also, I have more options and more experience and am looking to work my art as a business rather than the hobby it has been.
And with that observation we have come pretty much full circle to the very professional 'Win a Piece of Jewellery competition'. Please enter the competition for a chance to win a pendant. I would love to be able to send you one for the support you given me.