Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Doing The Fun Stuff

But on the fifth day I continue making things A fold formed tray.

A fold formed copper bowl Add caption

And I assembled a bouquet.

More of the 100 pair of earrings
All in all that's 30 hours of labor. using less than $30. worth of materials for a total of salable product valued at a minimum of $2,750.00 Notice a couple of things. None of the pairs of ear rings are the same. They are variations of one or two common elements. Each piece is a hand crafted original. Notice something else, to me,  my week just keeps getting better. I enjoy the free flowing creativity of the ER's but I can get excited about the bracelet forms and I love making vessels. At no point in time does the concept of making a one off product ever cross my mind. It just happens, hundreds of times! There is a difference in my approach from most other people. For instance: how come I said on the fifth day I assembled a bouquet? Because on previous days I made 100 flowers bodies, 100 stems 300 leaves Hint: each flower has 10 parts! Here's the part no one will tell you! I get to work 6 hours a day because I'm there 8 hours a day. One third of the time I'm not producing product! That's pretty much average to better than most. An aside: One of the most enjoyable things I ever purchased was an employee to, among other things, answer the phone!
       Now Do the math. Fifty two weeks in a year.  E gad that's 140,400 dollars worth of product a year! Let's look at some possibilities. in two years I could produce 10,000 pair of earings, no sweat. Would the ladies be interested in a store called Ten Thousand bet! Suddenly I have some options! Suddenly somebody better sell something!  What about that girl answering the phone? What about me there are two hours a day I'm not working? 
     Here are a couple of mistakes I 've made over the years. It's easy to make them.One is the idea that,  I'm young I can out work the competition. Rather than doing for 8 hours a day, I could do it 12 hours a day...Rather than just doing this for five days a week I'll do it for seven. Those are real bad ideas.
    Here's another subtle lie the world will tell you. Go look at your calender. What month is it? Calender says it's the end of August, Brad, Is this a trick question? Yes...Because though the calendar says it's August, you better be thinking December. You better be producing for December. right now! You need to change your thinking from reactive to proactive. Remember yesterday I said the only two people that made money at the Art Faire were the promoter and, even though he also paid to be there, the hot dog vendor. The hot dog vendor knew something and took some proactive action. He knew there would be a crowd of people at the event and they would want his hot dogs. If your jewelry business is like most other jewelry businesses 30 percent of your annual sales will happen in December!  It's December baby!! heat up those buns!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Still Doing It.

I'm a firm believer in every blog having pictures, These are more of the 100 earrings

The question then becomes on the next day would you make 30 fold formed bracelets?

You get to make the display , also.  I'm getting older I only work 6 hour days.
Two thoughts for today. In my college years I the only grade I ever received in an education class or an Art class was an "A".....Except once. I remember it well. Changed everything. I got  a "C" in my first jewelry and metalsmithing class from Edgar. John and I waited somewhat patiently outside Edgar's office the next morning, about as patiently as two angry pittbulls could be expected to wait. Edgar was friendly as he greeted us with "Come on in guys, I've been expecting, both of you."  He reached into his desk drawer and took out two small boxes, each with our name on it. Then he said this, "If I had graded each of you on a curve with the rest of the class, you two would have hands down received "A's" in this class. That isn't what I did, because I think you two deserve more from me. What I did was grade you in comparison to what you to what I think you are capable of doing!  If you'll accept the challange to become as good as you have potential for becoming I have a present for each of you. If you don't, so be it, I'll change your grade to an "A" I just want a promise from you that you will never take my classes ever again. We both took the presents. The presents were Engraved Keys to the studio and office! Jeff got a key a few days later. Between the four of us that studio was open almost 24-7 for the next three years! Lesson learned:
You are not in competition with them, you are in a competition with you.  Hint: it's not a sprint race it's a marathon.
     Second thought: totally business related. I have come to the conclusion that there are two types of people in this world. Brilliant boys and girls. short and tall. have and have-nots.  lol and wtf  No  Either you're a party thrower or a party goer. Business observation: party throwers attract a crowd and make money. Party goers follow the crowd and spend money to keep up. Walk around an Art Faire. Notice something: the Artists paid to be there. The hot dog guy paid to be there, too. So how come the only two people that made any real money, for more than a days work, are the promoter and the hot dog guy? 
New song for you, perhaps it will become your mantra.  I'd rather be a thrower than a goer
                                                                                     oh yes I would, if I only could
                                                                                      I surely would.
                                                                                      Cause I'd rather be a thrower than a goer.
Third thought: perhaps related, more of a question, How long will it take some people to realize that there never was a box to think outside of?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Doing it!

If you had to, would you make 100 pair of ear rings in three days?
     Cathy asks: "so then I'll ask you that same question. How do you handle the "making a living "aspect versus staying true to your craft and taking "as long as it takes". I'd like to know because I would love to move in that direction, but unfortunately I MUST sell my jewellery or quit making it. Right now I sell a lot of jewellery- but my customer base (through the stores I'm established in) are in the $100 to $350 range. Can't work weeks on a piece and price it at a retail of $300."
     My response was:
"Cathy no short answers to your question. Ill blog on it next week. Short answers. Don't do what everyone else is doing. Do better work than most of your peers. Do more of it. Invest your money in the things that stand the greatest chance of... showing the highest percentage of return. Buy the tools of your trade. Concentrate on the dollars not the pennies. Making money and making art are not the same thing. making a living is a hell of a lot easier. Own the store. I retired about two months ago. Now my fun can begin."
     I once asked a similar question of a couple that had just moved their retail art supply ceramics business to a new location. The new location would open in another couple of days.  Vic and Mary Ann were my seniors by about ten years. Both had degrees in art. Both were very good. I think I was a senior in college at the time. Their short answer has stuck with me. They were both on ladders painting the store. It was really funny at the time because they answered in unison, "By doing what ever it takes!  
   I know that's another short answer, heck it's almost a cliche. I'm sorry about that. Let me state this a little differently.   Vic and Mary Ann answered in total single minded agreement, with a staggering amount of determination, they would succeed.  (that probably sounds better in four part harmony) Buried within their statement was a passion and a belief or realization that if this current plan didn't work they could and would create a new improved plan.  Most people wash out Right Here. And it's ok.
    I'll blog on this everyday this week, 'cause there are no short answers. Your question deserves a greater answer.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

From The Press

Conversations of late have turned to the hydraulic press and it's use.  Thought I'd have a little fun and show you some things that have come off my press. First there is the lid to the current Tea Pot. The bottom shot is an interior view. It's pretty much a 1/4 sphere. Pretty basic.
Oh but things can get more complicated.Here are a couple of lid ideas I've worked on.

When I'm not working on Tea Pots I play around with some other possibilities.  The experimentation finds it's way into finished pieces. The base to Super Bowl "Bowl of Bowls"is the result of press work also.