09/04/2017 by Kirsty Brady 5 Comments
Welcome, I have decided to share my experiences as a self-employed Artist with you. This has come to me after attending a show last week. A show which I had put a great deal of time and finance into, but not only that, I had invested part of me too. And things didn’t quite…..well let’s say…they didn’t go to plan.
When I first started this journey, 15 years ago now, I had no idea just how hard it might be. But I keep telling myself ‘if it was easy everyone would be doing it’. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, and it’s so rewarding. Seeing people’s faces and eyes light up when they see your work. No amount of money can buy the feeling that comes from that. That is what I hold onto at times like these.
Last week I attended my first ‘Trade Show’. The most bespoke trade show for makers in the UK. It’s left me out of pocket, and with very mixed emotions. I met some lovely fellow makers and the standard of work there was outstanding. However, sadly it didn’t receive the visitors through the door - you can’t sell your work to people who aren’t there. The few that took time to stop to and talk were very positive about what I do. But keep in mind the work they see isn’t about its beauty, it’s about the price, their mark up and its potential profit margins. Others simply didn’t want to engage -perhaps fearful of a hard sell.
This, for me, was the hardest part. I have attended many high profile retail shows over the years and the buzz from that is amazing. I get to meet lovely people, who want to chat, hear my story and give their feedback. Also, hopefully, to buy my work, but not always, sometimes simply taking the time to appreciate it. That’s the difference - they are buying it because they love it, or know someone who will love it. They see the love, the skill, the originality that’s gone into creating each piece. Not the cold hard figures and profit margins that come from it.
So maybe this is not the way I should develop my business, it was a hard way to learn this lesson, but I am grateful I have. The support I get for my work is amazing, I should not forget this, not be distracted by other business models. This route isn’t for everyone, after all do I want to work on a production line? Or do I still want look at each piece with the love I felt creating the first?
So…where do I go now? I’ve decided to write a Blog. To inspire me to keep going, keep creating and loving what I do. Maybe to guide others, to inspire them and give readers an understanding on just how hard, but amazingly enjoyable, working for yourself can be.
Along with the blog I am starting to create a new collection of work. These last few weeks have taught me a thing or two. I must take more time to enjoy what I have achieved, to stop being so hard on myself, dwelling on what I haven’t done, or what I think I should be doing. Something I think many of us self-employed, creative folk are guilty of.
My new work will be a collection inspired by ‘The Little Things’. Stopping to take time to absorb the small things in life that make me happy. A moment in time, a beautiful thing, kind words or maybe a feeling. Whatever it is, using it to inspire me. To help me stop, to take these things on board and take the time to enjoy them. From these ‘Little Things’ I’m going to create art pieces that capture that moment and share it.
So follow my story and see the collection develop. Not all my blogs will be this lengthy, this is just to introduce my story. But I hope it inspires you, whether you’re a creative or not, it might make you think, help you to take time out from your busy, rat race, high pressure life to look and see…take time…appreciate a moment …………to be thankful for ’The Little Things’