First off, I want to thank everyone who has sent me venue ideas. I have checked out the leads and have come up dry so far. The only thing going on in March I have interest in is a mall show at Southdale. I am unsure if I can make the fees back, and I am also not sure I can endure a 12 hour day selling. I spent the first half of the week recovering from this weekend's "easy" rock show!
I have some thoughts moving forward. Gem Trees and my Tree of Life Hangings are really a specialty market. They're not common, and people are not sure what to do with them. I had a lady at my last show, for instance, terrified to touch a gem tree! She quickly put it back on the shelf, her hand shaking hard in fear. I'm not sure if I've talked about how sturdy and well made my gem trees are. They may look like they sit carefully on a rock, but they're on there solid! The trees themselves would be tough to harm, unless you're going to pull hard on the gems and make them snap off the branches! The wire itself won't snap. These pieces will stand the test of time, and will take to moving around a little bit when needed. No need for delicate hands! :-)
Anyways, gem trees are really a specialty market. The people who want them will seek them out (like for instance in my Etsy shop), or they come to the rock show and absolutely have to take one home with them since its a rock & its so cool! I had a not-so-nice comment from a close family member that they just clutter up a house and her and her friends don't buy things like that. Yeah, if you say something like that, you're not appreciating their true beauty or the artistic talent that goes into making such a piece! No, you cannot hang coats off of them, or pile them high with all the silly stuff you buy at the stores like a shopping bag. Their purpose is decoration, and a small piece of nature that helps calm, center and focus us in our hectic lives. You're also helping support a small time artist who has a dream of making it big with her own business, instead of the depressing alternative (corporate job). ;-)
I want to thank the lady at the rock show last weekend, for the conversation of custom order vs. commercial. I'm under the impression that since I have so many made, people are getting the wrong idea about them and think they're a commercial product. I guarantee I make all of my pieces myself, and I am able to produce so many out of perfecting the technique that I learned only last July. Its hard to say if the commercial idea hurts business or not. I get a lot of requests for custom work, more so than my own work. I think refining the business model to focus more around custom work and special venues is best for the Gem Trees.
All of what I'm saying and reasoning, points to the need for a 2nd business. In doing this, I won't have to worry about what venues that I could attend to at least make the show fee back. I can be free to pick venues and will be assured sales. I will still bring some gem trees along to give them exposure, but will depend on the other products to get the sales at such venues.
The new business will encompass other areas that I am very drawn to, such as beadwork (think Indian beadloom) and yarn weaving. I have ideas for bags, baskets, and scarves using weaving and my gems, or seed beads. These items will be useful (functional) and decorative at the same time.
Kevin's jewelry and my Mala Bracelets will most likely fall under the new business as well, because people are looking at my original store only for gem trees and wire jewelry trees. I really regret changing the business name for them, its really created quite a mess! I don't think it makes sense to pull the trees into a different shop when I have already established a wide audience for the current one. It makes sense to name a new store and gain its following!
I appreciate all the help and support, as always, and I hope you can help make my 2nd business a success to! It will be fun to see where my creativity leads...
What a whirlwind of a weekend! I've had a few people inquiring about how the show went this morning. I apologize for the late update, I was trying to catch my breath from the weekend while packing up some Etsy orders!
I think the show went great! :-) We only made a few dollars less than the last rock show. February is a tough time of year for any event, because its not near a holiday and its after the biggest expenditures of the year (Christmas and tax season). I think our next rock show in April will do better, and by October we're going to be really in the black.
I really wanted to take photos at the show of our booth, but we ended up being way too busy! we spent our few spare moments enjoying the feeling of sitting in a chair, and I had a couple of Tree of Life suncatchers to work on. I also made a custom Tree of Life Ruby Zoisite Pin for a customer, on the spot. That was a fun challenge, trying to juggle customers and work! Kevin and I really enjoy interacting with everyone that visits the booth, and we like to rearrange products to keep things looking fresh and uncluttered.
It was interesting to see the majority of our customers were women. I had a few guys looking too, but the women were the ones buying. I'm curious to know why this is, and how I can use this to my advantage moving forward. It was also interesting to see what attracted the eye and what sold. Last year the hottest colors were orange and yellow. This year it was purple and red! I was caught a little off guard, but thanks to my careful planning, I had every color represented! I was so happy to sell a couple of my Mini Bonsais. They have such a gorgeous arrangement, but they end up being very under-appreciated.
The Tree of Life suncatchers didn't take like I was hoping. It is a brand new concept to the old idea of window art, and also different take on the typical Tree of Life work. I'll be posting new suncatchers on Etsy in the coming days, once I figure out how to get them all listed!
The Mala Bracelets saw some popularity as well. I will be fixing my Etsy listings for them soon, to show the actual scale of the gems that I use. 6mm is just smaller than a dime, but my photos show large gems.
Moving forward, I'm not sure which direction to take! We have a couple of ideas for shows but I'm not certain what to attend. These gem trees have such a delicate market! If you're in the right place, people appreciate and buy them. In the wrong place/wrong venue, they're ignored and nobody buys. I am thinking of trying a few weeks out at the Minneapolis Farmer's Market in the spring. There is a very unique crowd of shoppers, and I think I'll win some over just by being there more than once. I'm still tossed as to attend a mall show.
It doesn't look like I'll be attending the RAW gallery after all. I have concerns about my work being properly represented there, as they put me into the Fashion Accessories section. I don't have Fashion, I have Home Decor, or Art Sculpture. It would have been great to attend, but there will be other venues that work better.
I have a lot to think about right now, in terms of moving this business forward. Thank you very much, each and every one of you, for your continued support! It really means a lot to me. :-)
The much awaited Har Mar Mall Rock Show is finally here! The photo to the left shows a rough copy of my new display featuring my unique Tree of Life Wall Hangings/Suncatchers. The lower shelves will contain extra gem trees. I have the hard part today, of deciding what gets to go on the table, and what goes on the shelf! I also have to pick through the Tree of Life and decide what gets to be hung, and what is extra to get bagged and set aside.
I also will have my Mala Bracelets there, along with my boyfriend Kevin's fine jewelry. He only has a few pieces so far, but they are very unique and beautiful!
The show times are from 10-6pm Saturday, and 11-5pm Sunday. The address is 2100 Snelling Avenue, Roseville. It is just off highway 36 and Snelling Avenue. Its in the same mall as Barnes & Noble, my favorite hang out.
As promised, I have a few new photos for you as well! Some of the photos are of the show display set up, and others are of new gem trees. Enjoy!
Just a reminder that next weekend, I will be at the Har Mar Mall in Roseville, MN for the big Rock Show! The show times are Saturday 10-6pm and Sunday 11-5pm.
After that, I have confirmation for the Fine Line Music Cafe Artist Gallery Event that is being held March 21st from 8pm-12am. It will be a great night of fun, fashion, music and displays! Here is the link to my profile on the RAW website: http://www.rawartists.org/adspringer80. If you are interested in going, view my profile and click on "buy a ticket for this artist" next to the I Am RAW button. I need to sell 20 tickets in order to get into the event, and I would greatly appreciate your support!
I am still tossed up as to what events to attend after the two confirmed. I have some leads on spring boutiques and spring shows around town, a local farmer's market, and a mall show following the art gallery. I will have confirmed Rock Shows in April and June that I'll post in the next month.
For those curious, last Saturday's show at Forest Lake was a total fail. It was poorly promoted, and it also ended early. To add to it, I charged an incorrect amount for the event by the promoter!. I will no longer be a vendor for that particular promoter, and I suggest others be careful of being taken advantage of when signing up for their own shows. I work really hard at my business, day and night, and I don't think its a joke. Neither do my customers and admirers. I really need to be able to trust promoters that I pay, to bring in an interested audience. The only good that came out of the show was being scouted by another promoter as well as an artists' group!
On a product note, I have many new suncatchers finished! I will be posting some of the designs here in the next few days, but probably won't list them on Etsy, since I'll be at the Rock Show next weekend. If you see a design that you're interested in, please send me a message and I'll reserve it for you!
It sure looks like Spirit Gems is going places! For March alone, I'm looking at joining the large craft show at Blaine Sports Center on the 1-3rd, and another event at the Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis on the 21st. Neither of these events are yet confirmed, but I will for sure post when they are!
Just a reminder, I will be at the Har Mar Mall Rock Show next weekend, February 23-24. This is a confirmed event. I am busy getting ready for it as we speak! :-)
Yesterday I spent time photographing all of my new mala bracelets, and re-doing previous photographs. I was able to display the bracelets on a jewelry stand, so you can see all their full color and detail. I am working on getting a photo that will put the size to scale for you, since the gems look large in the photos but are actually only 6mm (meaning smaller than dime sized).
Etsy Shop Link To Mala Bracelets
I also was able to list two of my first suncatchers/dreamcatchers! I have plenty more coming, as I am starting the conversion from jewelry to suncatcher. Most of the suncatchers have unique designs. I don't want a total uniform look to them. The only constant should be the gem tree of life mounted on the bottom of the frame. I plan on developing some pretty artistic designs using the frame and branches!
Etsy Shop Link To Suncatchers/Dreamcatchers
I'm really proud of what I've accomplished since I started last year, and I wanted to thank all of my constant supporters out there! Its you who keeps me going through all the challenges, and keeps me inspired to do bigger and better!