Wednesday, May 1, 2013

We Are on the Move...Again!

I want to shout out a big "Thanks!" to all my readers that have been so patient over the last week or so. We have been on a hunting mission of sorts, and I think we actually made some progress. Yeah!

When you are first starting a business of any kind, one of the best things you can do is join some groups on social media sites. It took me a little while to find some, but I did and now belong to four, all of which do take some time to keep up with, but the time spent has proven well worthwhile. Not only have I made great friends, friends that understand what I am going through, friends I can share with, but I have found a great resource for information on the same thing that I do, wire wrapped and woven jewelry.

My new found friends have, and still do, encourage me, support me, and provide me with a wealth of information I might not otherwise be privy to. One of those friends, thanks Pam, recently encouraged me to take my wares on the road and push to get into art galleries that accepted my type of product, jewelry.

So...we, my husband and I, took a much needed vacation but with a specific goal in mind. I learned that to expand my business reach and continue to brand my name, I needed to put my product into the hands of peeps that might not see it by the methods I currently use. It made sense that you can only do so much with websites, social media, and shows, so we hit the road. Yes, we drove.

Our trip spanned over 1800 miles of road and through a myriad of cities and villages. We decided my product needed to be in towns that had a particular draw to vacationers that were going to be looking for a souvenir that would continually be a reminder of where they had been. More than that, my jewelry needed to get into the hands of buyers that would really appreciate the artistic aspect of what I make. I needed to hit art galleries.

I stopped at several, and most were in areas where people might go on an annual basis or maybe just once in a lifetime. I picked up information from the owners, buyers, or managers, if they were there or not busy at that time. If they were unavailable, I introduced myself to an assistant, gave a short bio, and traded business cards. I made sure their business card had at least a phone number on it or an email where the buyer or manager could be reached, and I explained that my business card had my website and contact info on it. If nothing else, the assistant may check out the website and report back to the person responsible for buying. Better yet, the assistant may find something for herself on the website. What can it hurt?

I managed to find one place in particular that really sparked my interest. They worked with artists from a variety of mediums, and the owner, herself, was an artist. This particular gallery, located on an island in southern Florida, really liked what I did. I left a few pieces with the owner and went over her contract for artists, then headed back. It was a two day process, which isn't over yet. My jewelry had to be juried by her board of directors, and then I will be notified and products requested, a bio done, cards made, inventory updates, etc.

It is an expensive adventure. There are the galleries "fees" or percentages, even if they buy outright. I was a little reluctant at first but decided that it fits into the realm of "marketing" and the percentage they take can be a business write-off, as long as I can prove my wares are worth the price I put on them. (That's food for another to price your product.)

Another by-product of working during vacation is that you can write off most of the expenses for your trip. Did I only go to one gallery...No! I went to many and got lots of cards for future phone calls and further branding of my business. And...I still need to hit local galleries.

At any rate, I am now back and more determined than ever to continue to brand and come up with more ideas for marketing...and more ideas for those all important new products for my wire jewelry line. Maybe you should try this, too!

Have a super great day and Stay Wired UP!!! Gail

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