In this difficult financial environment, more than ever,
artist and/or craftsmen must be as efficient with their time and money as
possible. It's not easy making a living in the crafts field and, if we
want to survive, we've got to be creative on a whole new level. I've created
this section of the site in the hope of sharing some of what I've learned
over the last dozen years as a professional craftsperson and over the last
several decades as a business person. I'm not an expert but I might have a
few pearls to share. Hope it helps.
Review the different products you make for
resale and weed out the ones that aren't sure fire sellers. It's nice to
have a broad array of products but sometimes less is more. First, creating
fewer types of items will mean you keep fewer findings or other raw
materials on hand; this means a cost savings and a savings on keeping
inventory on hand. Less money tied up in inventory means more money in your
pocket and more money to put into the raw materials for the products that do
Re-use and Re-cycle! I know that in every
batch of work I make there are those pieces that just don't toe the line as
far as my personal taste and quality assurance go. What can you do
with those pieces you think are just junk? Well there are a lot of things
you can do. Here's a few ideas:
Many times people come into my studio and pick up something I
think is trash and ask to buy it. After a few years of this happening the
light finally made it's way into my brain! Put them up for sale; just
because you don't like it doesn't mean someone won't
Glue a leaf bail on it and put it in your discount section. In this
economy people love a bargain and many people will appreciate the
pieces you think aren't up to snuff. I've had many parents thank me for
having items their children could afford to buy as presents for Mom or for
Really can't stand it? Smash it with a hammer! Pay attention to safety
by wrapping the piece in a towel and wearing your safety goggles and then
smack away. Gets rid of tension and makes nice frit. use this frit in one
of our casting or jewelry casting molds! Us it as decorative frit on
another piece and tack fuse for a dramatic effect.
In the 12+ years I've been fusing I've thrown away maybe a handful of
pieces. Everything else is recycled or reused in some way. Glass in the
garbage is money thrown away!
Create new products. Now this may seem like
a contradiction of the first item up above which says to streamline but
having new products will add excitement to your offerings and will excite
you about creating. When you are excited about your work it's infectious
(but in a good way.) Try something new - try a new mold, a new finding or a
new color. Don't make anything for men? Tie tacks, money clips or even a
little dish to empty his pockets into at night are good ideas and make good
gifts. Night lights, sun catchers, paperweights.... there are a million
things you can make. Never used tack fusing? Try developing a line using
that method. Never used our jewelry molds? Try creating a line around those.
Never made dishes? Give it a whirl.
When ordering from mail order companies
(like UGotGlass) try to be as efficient as possible with your ordering. Make
a list of what you need and try to order everything you're going to need at
one time. Forgetting one item and then having to order that one thing is
very costly given the cost of shipping these days. Especially if you have to
pay for expedited shipping! One exception is when a sale makes it
worthwhile to order; take advantage of money saving opportunities when they
present themselves. Ordering what you're going to need over the next
month or so at the time of the sale will help defray the cost of shipping
for that special sale.
I find that I order the same stuff over and over so I use a spreadsheet
to manage my orders. All I have to do is fill in the quantity and pick up
the phone or go to the website. I have a section at the bottom for the
new things I'm trying and add those to the main sheet if they become a
Organize your supplies and your studio so you
know what you have. Seems simple but if you can't find something and buy
more because you think you are out of it that impacts the bottom line.
Again, more raw materials tied up in inventory means less money in your
pocket or to use for other things.
Use Kiln Wash. Do you use Thin Fire Paper
in place of kiln wash? There are many reasons why I'm against using Fiber
Paper in place of kiln wash, cost being one of them. A 24 ounce container of
kiln wash costs $8.00 and will get you through 100's of firings. One piece
of Thin Fire paper (20.5 " x 20.5") costs about $3.00 and will get you about
a dozen firings on a small kiln shelf of 6" x 6". Shelf for shelf, kiln wash
is much more economical. Oh you don't want the mess of dealing with kiln
wash you say? I prime my shelves once a week or less because you can fire
them more than once. This is a no brainer folks. Instant savings!!
Didn't use all the kiln wash you mixed up? Put a lid on the bucket
and save it. If it dries out just add water when ready to use and mix it up
again. Moldy? No worries, the mold will burn off......
Fill your kiln before firing. Seems simple.
Firing the kiln uses electricity; if it's not full when you fire it you are
wasting money. You are also wasting time and more money because those kiln
shelves will get used and have to be recoated even though the shelf wasn't
Hot outside? Studio Air Conditioned? Fire
your kiln at night when it's cooler outside. Cold outside? Fire your
kilns during the day to heat up your studio.
Buy MORE..... WTH are you talking about
Nancy?!!! I thought we were saving money!! When you buy more you get a
quantity discount at most places, including UGotGlass.... so spending more
money actually saves you money in the long run. Buy early in the show season
so that you'll have maximum time to use the supplies.
Make things in batches. Even if all of your
items are one of a kinds you can streamline your production practices to
save time and money. It takes less time and money per pair to make 10
similar pairs of earrings and fire them together than it does if you only
make one and fire it alone.
Got a tip? Let me know!!! I'll add it
here and give you credit and a discount on your next order! So there's
another money saving item for you!!
Use VistaPrint, I've used them for several years
and they are the least expensive printing service I've found. They offer
lots of FREE products as well. I got a free magnet for my car door to
advertise my business and more.....