~ The Arts / Crafts Business ~
versus Traditional Business
They’re the same; they’re different. They influence each other, but the influence of traditional business over the arts is much more than just borrowing from their methodology. There is a tremendous impact on the art world when corporations are in turmoil.
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Most artists and artisans don’t consider themselves to be “in business.” Creativity is their desire, and they don’t want to think about ’business.’ They also forget that creativity doesn’t stop at the workbench, it must continue into marketing, advertising and display setups, and beyond . . .
The business world is not separate from the arts business; both are part of a larger reality. Each has an impact on the other, but the world of traditional business has a larger impact on the arts, than the other way around.
If you treat your business as something other than a business, in any way (other than the size of your budget) you are short-changing yourself, your business, and your customers. Good business practices, such as archiving records, maintaining a paper-trail, documenting expenses, making written contracts, etc. –are effective in the arts, as well as in the traditional business world.
Demographics, Economics, & Your Micro Business
Sitting and dreaming at your workbench/sewing machine/easel, and dreaming of better designs is satisfying, but the so-called ‘Real World’ also influences your business. Consider the Dow Jones and the NASDAQ. If you don’t own stocks, why should you pay attention to the markets? (They have a direct influence on your sales.)
Stocks are no longer for the rich, they are part of many people’s savings and retirement. As values plummet, they tighten their belts, and there’s less money for discretionary spending.
When markets tumble, corporations tighten their belts. (So what?) So this: the first thing they do is lighten the expense load, which means cutting back on employees. Now you have people without jobs - who won’t buy anything but food and necessities. This is only the tip of the iceberg; other people in the same geographic area imagine they are next. Suddenly anxious about their own financial futures, they cut back on unnecessary expenditures, and that includes craft fairs, movies, and little luxuries they took for granted.
We cover the following Eastern US States:
Now it starts to make sense. Let’s take it further: if there’s a show you’ve attended for years, and that area has several large corporations experiencing layoffs, -now’s the time to look for new shows in the opposite direction, -get it?
We are talking demographics and geography. Successful shows need customers with loose pockets, not attendees worrying about paying the mortgage and putting food on the table.
If you hide your head in the sand, and keep doing the same shows, year after year, you will find some of them petering out. You not only loose income, but the psychological impact of one bad show after another depletes your creative energy and makes you question your direction. (Maybe you’d make more money slinging hash or slapping a computer keyboard?)
Along with your old favorites, try several new shows each year to give you new experiences to build on, and places where you haven’t saturated the market. Only by constantly redefining your product line, upgrading your skills, bringing out new designs and testing new markets can you continue to build your business. As they sing in DisneyLand, “It’s a small world after all!”
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