I made a promise to myself recently, and that is to speak more directly from my heart without fear of judgement. To be more open, to let YOU in. Again, the 'without fear of judgement,' clause is in there but I will say that is easier said than done. However, since I am the Queen of "FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY," here we go...
Constantly marketing yourself and your wares, especially in times when sales have slowed to a mere trickle, is a grueling enterprise. The past 7 months has me sincerely questioning if I can continue pushing forth in the pursuit of making this jewelry endeavor more than just a hobby. Now, since I have been in this field for 20 years, I know most of the inherent issues in this business. Trust me, I have looked at this particular coin from every possible angle.
I am not asking for pity, or for advice (I have friends and mentors for that), I'm not even asking for sales. I am simply opening up my heart, showing you the underbelly of what is often marketed as a fun and exciting business. As much as I would LOVE my reality to be going on meandering hikes every day, followed by hours spent in the studio dreaming up new creations, gardening with my husband, traveling to distant lands, doing high end shows, and raking in the moolah, the reality looks drastically different.
My reality looks like this: lifting at the gym, working at a part time job, scrambling in some time in the studio amongst doing house chores, working at a co-op gallery, eeking out time to take Ziggy for walks, hustling for a little more time in the studio, gardening when the weather/my body allows, navigating injuries, doing some okay shows, hustling for side gigs, and generally throwing the very little money I make from jewelry at everything other than my bank account. It's not exactly what I dreamed of when I quit my corporate job a year ago, but honestly, I wouldn't go back.
Being the brazen, stubborn woman that I am, I will continue to push forth and put my work out into the world. Why? Why not just give up now and go get a better job that will pay me more? For one, I believe in myself and in what I create. I know that people love what I am making, and I know that these creations have brought a lot of joy to my customers, fellow artists, and viewers. Secondly, my many years of working in a variety of jobs have taught me that I simply do not fit into a box. I just don't. I never have, not even as a child, and I never will. I am building myself my own "box," which looks less like a box and more like a funky and inviting open-air shelter with cozy cushions, fairy lights, winding flowering plants, and a gorgeous view. (You all are welcome to come watch the sunsets with me!)
There is still much to love about my reality--as stressful as it may be at times--including better mental and physical health, growing relationships with my fellow artists, and general freedom and flexibility. As the economy is shifting at the moment, I do know that my approach to my business may have to change. I am not sure what that looks like exactly, but if I learned anything from the Great Recession I know it may look like focusing more on teaching, selling non-jewelry items, and generally diversifying. After all, diversity in any investment (including a business) is beneficial. I hope you all will continue to join me for this ride.