I’ve been making and selling stuff all my life. I started with little beaded earring in Jr. High school — making them and selling them to my friends for their lunch money. Mini-entrepreneur! That was me. I guess it was all my mother’s influence. She used to make dolls and sell them at craft fairs and consign them to shops. I have fuzzy memories of seeing her handiwork on folding tables and on store shelves. I think she did pretty well with it, though she’d say otherwise.
Anyway, I digress…
I eventually went on to emulate her by making some sterling silver jewelry and selling them at retail shows all over Southern California. It was fun, difficult at times…but a great learning ground for things to come.
It all led me to eventually starting my business: Marlo M. Jewelry Design in 1993. I almost immediately quit my “day job” at a restaurant and started doing more retail shows. That let me to participating in trade shows in 1996 and kept doing them up to 6 times a year at the peak of things until 2004 when life got complicated and I got tired of traveling.
I moved to Seattle in 1997 and started a mentoring program for emerging artists. They would come and help me in my studio and I’d show them how to start their own line to sell. Mostly jewelry, but others too – purses, accessories, paintings. I had So much fun teaching them the basics…and I’ve made life-long friendships to boot!
Out of over a dozen people who have come and gone in my studio, 2 of them actually started a line of product and started selling it to stores. The others disappeared (sometimes literally!) and others just said, “Wow. I had no idea how much paperwork was involved in selling my stuff! I’m going to go back to my day job and just do this as a hobby!” I’m glad to have helped them figure that out before they quit their jobs.
All that experience taught me all this “stuff” that I know today. Things that I teach the emerging artists I mentor. Things I post of various forums in the craft community boards. Like this most recent one: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5183520
Toward the end of the discussion, the OP said, “You should write a book!”. Funny — since I have been sitting on an outline for a crafts/business/self-help style book for years now. Perhaps this is the time to do it? I’m seriously considering it.
It would probably end up being a sort of Q&A with questions that I hear all the time like, “How do I price my work?” and “How do I sell to stores?” to “I hate being rejected! How do I get past it?” — there are so many newbie questions that get asked over and over and over. The place where we ALL started.
My belief about helping people achieve success is this:
Helping others on the path to success widens the road so more can get there.
That one is mine. At least, I think no one else has said it quite like that. Anyway, living this belief is what I want to be known for.
Wow. How’s that for a life’s mission statement?? :)