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...