In my previous blog I wrote about how I had made the decision that my art and craft could sit side by side, and that I would not be a closet crafter any longer. I have moved forward over the month of February, working at the Bottle Cap Bling (rings and brooches) and getting all aspects of the presentation and production to a state of perfection. Action item number 1, book into at least 3 markets a month and test the product in the public domain. Action item number 2, look for a wholesale opportunity.
And so I did. I researched and booked into markets that were in my local area, up to a 30 minute drive. I invested in a Marquee, I considered table displays and created signage, preparing enough of my product for a decent looking display and also considering what other complimentary items I would also stock in my stall. I also engaged friends and family, who were attending other markets, to stock my product. At the conclusion of the month things were looking ok. Each market had returned a positive in cash flow, and also some great advice from stall holders. I felt happy with my activity and attitude. I had put myself into the market scene and had quite a few hours of hard work behind me. I felt confident going into March with stock and equipment.
As for action item number 2, I had success there too. A chance opportunity while on a Sunday family outing resulted in a store (Zeega in Flinders village, Victoria) taking on 40 pieces of Bottle Cap Bling. By chance opportunity, what I mean is I wore my product so that I could show and share if the chance presented itself! So two big ticks for my action items, I felt like I was on a roll!
And so onto the month of March. The first market I attended was touted as being a great opportunity to be alongside a massive festival in a large city suburb. I wanted in as it all sounded quite exciting. I even produced extra stock for this market, as I wanted to be prepared for a lot of sales. I even let go of my 30 minute drive rule and drove 1 hour to get there. Here is where things go bad! The market didn’t live up to my expectations and I actually came away out of pocket. Such a bummer, considering the great outcome of the previous month. But wait, it’s only the first market for the month, and there are 3 more markets to go, why so glum?
The outcome of this market hit me like a ton of bricks and sent me on the gloomy doomy path. I had worked hard to prepare, produce and turn up. I wanted to keep achieving like the previous month and wasn’t prepared for a lack lustre day. The street festival (by all accounts) was well attended, there were thousands of people, but not many filtered through to the market. Not much I could do about that. Stall holders packed up early, and the energy drained out of the space. Again, all out of my control. My biggest problem was that I could not separate my Feelings from my Thinking. My feelings were all about my investment in my product and the hard work I had put in. My thinking was being muddled by my feelings.
I was really lucky that I had returned to reading business “guru” style books, and I have been reading Pat Mesiti’s book ‘The $1 million reason to change your mind.’ (See Chapter 3) My feelings were “this is horrid, why am I here?” But my thoughts were, “Well you gave this one a try, too bad it didn’t work out. What did you learn?” I learnt that I am emotionally involved with my Art, (it’s a beautiful relationship because I am so happy when I’m creating, but this is a feeling!) I learnt that I am totally responsible for understanding all business aspects of my practice, and this includes researching all information beyond what a promoter provides when marketing their event. I know that I am a business that will experience growing pains, that there will be good days and not so good days. I learnt that I can’t let my feelings stop me from being enthusiastic or allow them to change my attitude. Because initially it was a change in my attitude and maintaining enthusiasm for progress that got me going and I need it to stay with me to keep driving forward.
We can look back and see the lessons, and even though I would have preferred a different outcome I have this experience now that will help inform my future decisions. I have three more markets booked in for this month and my attitude will be positive as I look forward to them. This one experience has taught me a lot about how to get on with business.