As of Tuesday of this week, I am taking a break from crafting for money. Why? Well, there’s a lot more crafting than money it in, for one thing!
I was at Urban Legends, a little gallery which also offers art classes. (I'd include a link to their website, but it has disappeared.) The owners are much more interested in the art classes than in the gallery. It was still a good experience but I made far more money with my freelance writing and editing last year, and just a little bit more than I did at my last craft fair. The only reason I made any money at all is that I didn't have to pay the monthly fee due to a barter for services.
What I learned:
- Even if though my raw material was all pretty much free, I made a profit only if I consider my time as not worth much.
- There are two ways to make money selling stuff.
The Grocery Store model = tiny markup, big volume
The Boutique model = huge markup, few sales.
Tiny markup and few sales does not work well! (I haven’t figured out how to get to huge markup and big volume!)
- As an artist, you have to decide where you are on this spectrum:
Work for 6 months on something you sell for $20,000 < ------------------------ > Make thousands of items quickly and sell them for very little.
-I’m just not willing to be a factory. When you do something over and over again, you get really good at it. And really bored with it.
- I like sales. I like meeting and chatting with who ever is buying my stuff.
- I like marketing.
- I like control.
- It’s hard to work when you don’t know if there will be any return. During the second half of the year I kept making things only because I said, “If this doesn’t sell, it will go on the wall there.”
- Thinking about money too much makes me greedy, stingy, and a bad conversationalist.
- Crafting for money makes me lean toward quickie art forms and means that I resent it when mistakes (i.e. learning) takes too long.
Conclusion: I have lots of things I want to make for our home and my friends. On deck: lamp stand, back-pack purse, clothes for traveling in Europe this summer, cloth baby book, a coffee table, denim picnic blanket, embellished storage boxes, and a painting for over the fireplace. All without spending more than say, $20. I might be able to do them all for free. Stay tuned…