Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Doing It All Over Again.

     If I had it to do over again or more likely if I had to start all over again there are a few things I'd do differently. I suppose we can all say that. I'm not saying I wouldn't have the second margarita or that I wouldn't  seek the warm sandy beaches, somewhere. Let me try to explain.

     When I opened my first store the landlord suggested strongly that If I had an engraving machine I would get all of his companies presentation plaque business. A thousand dollars later I had purchased an engraving machine, five fonts and various jigs for it. A few hundred more bucks and I had a stack of little brass plates to put on my landlords GD plaques. I purchased engravable items and offered them for sale. This business looked like this I purchase ID bracelet, Sell ID bracelet at 2x mark up, engrave it for free! Sometimes we spelled the name wrong, sometimes things slipped in the machine. Mary did all of our engraving, Mary was one of the nicest people I ever met, she was a devoted grandmother. Engraving turned her into a mumbling, grouchy person. One of the happiest days in my jewelry career was the day I gave another jeweler, in an other state, my engraving machine.  So if I had it to do all over again, I'd have the second margarita and skip the engraving machine experience.
     My current projected business model takes into account more of me than just making jewelry and doing metalsmithing. Step one acquire some land 3-15 acres. Rural setting. House 1000 to 1200 sq ft. build it if I have to. Shop minimum 24x24 that's a 2 car garage size. Build a greenhouse connected to the shop 20x 40 to start. Use the greenhouse to do aquaponics, ie. raise fish and food. Produce organic vegetables. Sell excess. Use a combination of solar and grid provided power. Wood heat. Goal is to become a self sufficient small farm.
     This approach makes it easier to do the art side of things. It removes the have to sell jewelry aspect to survival-prospering. Almost all jewelry marketing would be done on line or at two large by invitations at the farm studio events.
A copper fold formed deep flower, "Fantasy Flower"Add caption
    There is an amazing thing that happens on purpose with aquaponics. The fish eat plants, algae mostly, the plants enjoy the nutrient the fish produce, the water stays clean. There is a certain synergy created. It's that synergy I want to be a part of. I'm seeking a balance. The fact that most of it happens in a greenhouse is an added blessing. No engraving machine, no grouchy people. Enjoy  Food for thought for some of you.


  1. I think that people who feel as we do about self-sufficiency should be speaking at college graduations, and going to career day at schools, to say, "you know, there is another way to consider, one that doesn't set you on a treadmill..."

  2. Kate I couldn't possibly agree with your statement more.

  3. Well Brad, your work is beautiful and your blog is a great read. I've just shot half my morning reading posts and getting inspired. Time to get to work!

  4. I just added your "formula" to my bucket list for my next house! Brilliant.