|Midnight Trellis, a hand painted coat|
|Little Red Riding Hood, one of my art pieces.|
I'm not sure if that's a sign of the economic times, or if it's a result of more and more people reaching retirement age, or whether it's a symptom of the rising Handmade/anti-manufacturing ideology... And it's probably actually a combination of these factors as well as a bunch of others that I don't know about. But regardless, I'm feeling like I'm one among many nowadays.
It hit me that, being a blog about my wearable art business, I've rather "avoided" discussing my business beyond posting new stuff I have up for sale. In the interests of being transparent and actually writing about what I said I was going to write about, I have to confess something: I'm a bit embarrassed.
|A vintage fabric swallowtail vest|
|Relished Monarch, a "neck lace" choker|
There are different philosophies about how honest an entrepreneur should be about how their business is doing--how much do you share, how much do you keep quiet about, how much do you outright lie about... I'm not one for telling lies. But I worry about exposing too many of my foibles for fear of coming across as completely inept and naive.
|Recycled Tin Can Mobile|
|Joplin, one of my Art Dolls|
Some say "for community and camaraderie". Some say it's our obligation to support each other. Some say because it's just the right thing to do, because one should always "do unto others as ye would have done unto you"... None of that makes the embarrassment go away, though.
But if I can't be honest, what's the point? You don't have to read this. And I won't share everything, but I think a certain level of "transparency" is what's missing in today's business world, and I'm not going to be part of the problem by adding to the cloudiness. So.
The state of Relished Artistry, LLC: Pretty much the same as when it started. Still working at home, still have both Etsy and Artfire sites, still have my blog, still flitting from one shiny idea to another, and still haven't entered any shows. Still no actual website of my own. Selling about 1-2 pieces per month, and have never paid myself (I'm glad my partner has a job...). All the profit goes right back into the business. I've made more money contracting my services out through Relished Artistry as a costume technician than I have actually selling any items I've made--but that's not a bad thing, considering that my work as a technician is part of my business, too. My New Year's Resolutions from January have sadly been left unmet--the majority of them anyway... I'm thinking maybe I made too many... Haha!
|Porcelain China Choker|
|Oriental Brocade Frock Coat|
1) To participate in 2 Craft Fairs/Trunk Shows.
2) To develop a body of work that includes 150 pieces/items for sale, including garments, polymer clay items, and art pieces.
3) To enter a Wearable Art show.
4) To create 2 Art Exhibitions/Shows or enter my work into 2 juried Art Exhibitions.
5) To go to "Market" in Los Angeles and investigate what it's like.
6) To join professional organizations that lend themselves to my discipline--wearable art, art, and crafts.
|Relished Brún Swallowtail Vest|
|Satin Ringmaster Swallowtail Vest|
7) To investigate the San Diego Art scene and community by attending exhibitions, openings, and asking questions at art fairs.
8) To create a stronger sense of community around myself by posting more open and engaging posts to my blog in a more regular fashion, investigating artist-oriented community websites and forums, and commenting more regularly on the blogs I am subscribed to.
9) To explore local boutique and retail spaces, finding out what it takes to sell my work in those venues.
10) To cut down on my television and computer habits by more carefully monitoring my time spent using them, recognizing when I am using them as a crutch, and replacing the habit with something more constructive.
At a certain point, a person just has to DO instead of talking about doing.
|Polymer Clay Mosaic Velvet Jacket|
So I make single pieces of unusual character and (hopefully) artistic merit and pray that they will appeal to a certain kind of customer. I'm not interested in making a "line" of clothing, and manufacturing them in a variety of sizes. I'm more interested in the artistic aspect that comes with the creation of each piece of wearable art, with it's singular personality and definition. I don't want to make dozens and dozens of exactly the same thing. And I am looking for the type of customer that doesn't want to wear something that dozens and dozens of other people are also wearing, either...
|Caramel Relish corduroy coat|
|Wavy Relish Asymmetrical Coat|
In this last year, I refocused my "corporate identity" and tried to start narrowing my style down into something that I could articulate in my head a bit better. I provided myself some boundaries regarding what's "appropriately Relished Artistry" and what just won't work for the brand. I've also developed more items to expand my range of price points so it's not all high-ticket items. I've explored a variety of social networking venues, but I'm having a bit of a problem finding the right audience for my stuff... It's all well and good to have communities of crafters and artists, but that's not where the customers are. Awesome and invaluable support, though! : )
I'm sure there are others out there that are experiencing the same things I am. It's a weird feeling isn't it?
But I'm not going to let this feeling stop me from Living Life with Relish, you know? And it shouldn't stop you, either.