The agony of defeat, best laid plans, and the road to economic Hell. It's all part of the deal.

in #art4 years ago

Hey all! Sorry I have been so absent lately. I started a new job and it has me running in all directions. I sure miss having free time like I used to! I came home from work today and jumped right on your posts. You are all working on such wonderful projects and it was a delight to see them. This week you get to learn about my failures.

The Steampunk Festival


Well, I told you all a couple of weeks ago that I was going to the Steampunk Festival to sell my "steampunk" stylized lamps. Here's a picture of me at my "table" trying to sell lamps. The event set-up was on a Friday night, and the show was all day Saturday and half of the day Sunday. Sadly, I did not sell any lamps. These guys will spend $650 on a steampumk coat, but not $125 on a handmade lamp. I won't lie to you, I'm getting frustrated spending my weekends at these "shows", paying hotel and vendor booth fees, all for the great opportunity to learn what does not work. This was my second show in the same town--same result. I'm done with that place.

So, crestfallen and frustrated, I did not touch a lamp for a week and a half. Then, I got my head out of my ass.

Current Project - Chinese Lantern

I've never made one of these frames into a lampshade before and I'm curious to see how it will all turn out. I've decided that this one will be spectacular. I'll be taking my sweet, sweet time with it, especially since the new job makes it harder, anyway. This one will be vivid aqua-colored silk, with an Asian Chrysanthemum embroidery, and I'm thinking there will be some cloisonne beads, too. So yay! I'm back at it, on the frame wrapping stage. I started this one in white and have changed my mind so there you have it. LOL!

The Magazine Ad


If you happen to stumble upon a magazine stand this month, check out "Romantic Homes" magazine, July issue. Right there on the first few page you will see my ad! In case you don't see the magazine, here's a picture of it. LOL! So what I learned is this: You spend $700 on a 1/4 page ad in a magazine, and three old ladies will call you asking for a "catalog" that you don't have. Each one will be sure to tell you that they don't use computers, despite your expensive and gorgeous website. Remember how I was talking about stuff that costs a lot and doesn't work? Nailed it. It's all VERY discouraging to try to sell you art to the world, but it takes a hell of a lot more than wasted money and weekends to keep me from trying. I won't stop.

More to come on the Chinese Lantern next week, and hopefully some triumphs.

Happy #NeedleworkMonday, everyone!

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All images © @crystalize.


Vending at events is SO hard. You have to strike the right balance between cheap and quality.

A few notes- a steampunk coat or renaissance dress is an investment in a 'character' that will be shown off regularly at multiple events. My brother once spent $600 on renaissance faire boots. Made especially for his feet and their issues. He is still wearing them to events 20 years later. They are part of his 'character'.

Another note- I make more money at events selling $5 items that are spur of the moment splurges than $40 speciality items.

Vending at craft fairs, scifi/fantasy/steampunk conventions, or renaissance faires probably is not going to net you many sales. Nobody goes to those planning on buying something quite as cool as your lamps. Easy to grab, go, pack is the thing. Durability, portability, and pocket-ability.

I see vendors bringing certain pieces of art year after year and it never sells. Multiple times I have seen them broken or given away for a song out of desperation to have a sale.

I am unfortunately at a loss as to where they would sell reliably... community art shows, in an artists co-op gallery... at regional artists shows that are curated... places people go to find unique home decor. Upscale tea stores? Upscale furniture stores or lighting stores on consignment?

The fact you got phone calls from your magazine ad is cool, too bad none of them were computer literate.

I like the shape of the next lamp, looking forward to seeing its evolution!

I think you wrote very helpful things... Especially the difference between an expensive item which can be shown and used while playing/re-enacting and something to admire at home. Nevertheless it is still sad, that handmade items and especially art is so hard to sell.....

It can be very disheartening @crystlize... and I agree with both you @jamethiel and @neumannsalva ... It is hard and it takes time to get established. Shows are a good idea because it's the best way prospective customers can actually see the work live and meet the artist behind the creation, alas, the prices for the stalls are rather steep though...

So true, indeed. But it really is fun to talk with people in person!

Thanks for the perspective @jamiethiel. Yes, I really do need to find the right venue for selling my lamps, and the fairs & festivals just aren't the right place. I'll find it, eventually!

Maybe antique and retro shows where the focus is on homes? I'm not sure where you are, but in the UK we have places with little permanent booths where you can display your stuff without having to be there all the time. The venue staff take sales on your behalf.
Of course, you pay a fee, and it may be another expensive option!
I'm sure you will find a way, it just about time.

Exactly, @shanibeer. I will find it but you are right--it is going to take some time.

Good on you for not caving in and keeping your spirits up! You are truly an inspiration! 😄 Your lamps are stunning and I truly believe people will pay for them, but where to find them?! When I see your lamps I think of romantic cottages - have you considered the small personal hotel or B&B market? Not sure if there’s gatherings for that sort of group. Also, there’s Etsy if you want to try selling them online. Keep up the great work you do! 😄

Thank you for the motivational words, @lil-mitch. I'm stoked again because today I had a sale on..of all places...Etsy! Wooooo Hooooo!

Ugh! It can really be difficult trying to sell something you worked so hard on and then no one wants it or to pay for it 😅. I’m glad you’re sticking with it though! Even if you have to try different areas to sell and share.

So right, @lizgore. It is just a matter of time and persistence. I'm in! Thanks for the visit.

Congratulations on your new job @crystalize!
Really sorry about the fairs, in this picture you looked so pretty and upbeat.
Yeah sometimes we just sort of park up and almost resign from our arts, but the love is like a fire shut up in our bones and it sure will take more than wasted money and weekends to stop ya. Thanks for sharing your encounter with us.
I am looking forward to seeing the Chinese lamp☺

Thanks @wondermaey! I'm reinvigorated today because I sold a lamp on Etsy! Woooo Hoooo. Back to work for me!

Yayy!!! 😁😁😀

OMG. Did you pay $700 for the ad? Best of luck with your new job and also with the Steampunk festival. will look forward to seeing how it goes for you. have a nice day. Also very nice lamps. Wish you all the best

Thanks, @azizbd. The new job is going well, and yes--the ad did cost $700.00. Crazy prices!

Sigh... I hear you! Everything art and handmade related is so difficult to sell. You have to pay so much money in advance to promote your product and you will never now if the investments will pay out. "Taste" is so subjective and tough to calculate... Sadly I am of no help, because finding a target group which is willing to pay is not my expertise.
I think @jamethiel and @shanibeer wrote very helpful things. I could only add that maybe locations who use special furniture could be an audiance ... meaning not the players at a festival are the buyers but perhpas the people who equip rooms/houses/tents for the storylines.
I hope you soon find a good way to sell your lamps. You deserve it, because they are unique works of art!!!
Looking forward to your new work <3

Thank you, @neumannsalva! I intend to stick with it, no matter how long it takes. Just wish I didnt have to shell out so much money to get notices. Arrrgh!

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First let me say you look Dazzling there at your table, it’s good to see your gorgeous face up close and personal~ 😊

I am so sorry for the disappointments and all of the money spent on advertising and getting to these events just to leave without a sell. I really commend you for not giving up and for sticking with this and trying to get your lamps on the market.

I really like the suggestions that @jamethiel and @shanibeer have made. I once did an event where I had sold some of my crochet items. I noticed too that people were only buying little items and things to easily carry as @jamethiel mentioned. Have you thought about selling them at the antique shops? I’m not sure if they would pay the price they are actually worth (because you for darn sure put a lot of love, heart and effort into your well as spending good money on the materials used) but I still see your lamps sitting in the front window at one of those stores.

I know you’ve been busy with work and shows but it was sure good hearing how you’ve been and what you’ve been up to! Thanks lady~ ❤️

Nice post, happy needleworkMonday!

Oh man - that stinks that your items are not selling at events...and old ladies are calling for a catalog. Lol! That is pretty crazy. Can't wait to see the lantern-turned-lamp! :)

Things took a turn for the better today, @apanamamama. I sold a lamp on Etsy! Who would have thought? I guess I had better upload a few more lamps on that platform. I had only listed the least expensive ones. Yes, tonight I will fight the good fight with the Chinese Lantern.

Hi!!! you look amazing !! you're just beautiful !! I'm sorry that your trip did not bring you the expected result. always sorry for wasted time. I'm glad that you found the strength to start a new project. Good luck to you!!!!

Thank you @Tali! I'm newly inspired today because I sold a lamp on Etsy! Who would have thought? Thanks for the kind compliments.

Ugggggh, I do feel your pain. Marketing a book is a lot of that, too. You can spend money you don't have buying copies to give on consignment to bookstores. Many of which won't carry it, period. You can spend money on ads, you can give away hundreds of copies on free download days. But can you get a whopping 25 of those people to leave you a review so that Amazon puts you in its recommendations for people? No. You can't. 😣

OMG this touched me! I apologize for all those books I read and forget to give a review on, didn't know how helpful those reviews could be 🤦

Thank you! 😊 Most people don't know; it's not like Amazon advertises it to the general public. In fact, they don't tell us authors, either - I found out from books about self publishing! So yeah, it would super help any future authors you read, especially the not-famous ones and indie-published ones, if you leave a review. It doesn't even have to be lengthy: "I enjoyed it" works, because Amazon's algorithm only cares about how many reviews there are.

Thanks for telling me, I must do that next time!

Yes, it really is a painful experience, @phoenixwren. But on the upside, I sold a lamp on Etsy today! Woooo Hooooooo! Now I'm recharged!

It’s like being a musician. You play at venues and events and record songs and practice and then BOOM 💥 you get recognized, and you come seemingly out of nowhere. Have you tried pairing yourself with an interior decorator, or partnering with someone who sells custom curtains?

Your work is beautiful and I enjoy watching it come to life.

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