Let me tell you a story about the first time I realised I could really make money from my ‘art’.
Let me tell you a story about the first time I realised I could really make money from my ‘art’
In 2004 I set up Northern Irelands’s first contemporary jewellery gallery called ‘Gold-digger 79’. GD79 was to be a challenging concept gallery introducing NI to the fabulous world of ‘contemporary art jewellery’. This was against the advice of just about everyone I talked to who told me ‘I’d never make it’ and that ‘there was a reason why there weren’t more businesses like mine’!
I did make it…but that’s another story!
At this time I mainly made ‘concept’ or ‘art’ jewellery and I rarely worked specifically to commission – although I had made a number of pieces for family and friends. My mum asked me, ‘What if someone wants you to make something for them?’ I replied, ‘Tough luck, I’m not doing commission work. They’ll have to take what they get!’
What an attitude!
Then I met my first set of customers – two ladies – each wanting ‘a piece of my own work’ but ‘tweaked’ to suit their own styles. One wanted a remake of a brooch I’d made for my degree show and the other wanted a Frond Leaf necklace. Neither of the pieces were ‘boring’ and in fact both pieces were a total reflection of my own design style.
Dot’s Pearl Necklace based on my Frond Leaf Collection
Etta’s Brooch based on a brooch I made for my degree show in 1996
This is where my business head seriously kicked in. Both ladies were willing to pay for my time and my materials! I made the pieces and the elation I felt when I was handed money in exchange for my work was amazing – I still get that buzz! That’s right – I still enjoy getting paid!
Now 12+ years on, I can tell you that I make my living pretty much entirely from one-off custom made jewellery designed individually for each unique client. My work is highly priced and my clients are willing to pay! In fact I have a long list of loyal customers who have ordered repeatedly from me for years.
BUT, I had to change my mindset to get here. In this instance, for me, clients wanted me to make items specifically for them. I took a look at what was actually working in my business and what people where willing to pay for and I concentrated on that.
A philosophy I still follow today!
So what parts of your ‘art’ do you create or make that people have bought to date, why do you think they bought from you – can you replicate these sales or identify the type of pieces you sold?
#sellyourart #makemoney #changeyourmindset #mentortip
So I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below & if you liked this post then please share it with a friend and spread the love!