The Break-Out Year
It's now almost 4 1/2 months into what I've called the Break-Out Year, and what have I learned?
First, some background: our goals this year were: to enter more than twice the number of shows as last year, to make the investment in a new, more professional display, step up production to meet the demand of more shows, and finally deal with the name-change issue.
How's it going so far? Well, I've entered more shows, and done two new ones so far, using our new display very successfully. The shows were definitely an education; I learned that my first impressions of a venue, audience and overall ambiance are usually correct. These shows, put on by the same promoter, do not draw my audience. When my display looks great, my work is unique (perhaps too much so, for that crowd), and my prices are not "through the roof," and I get only a few responses to my greetings, explanations of how I produce the work, and very few sales, I know it's a crowd looking for something other than what I have. We won't get into the "stuff-on-a-stick" discussion...if you've been to craft shows recently, you'll know what I mean.
And, that's it, that word: craft.
Ive now finally come to the conclusion that my work isn't considered craft. It's art.
People looking for crafts look past me and my display. People looking for art in a heavily crafts-oriented show may not find me. Yes, yes, I know, it's my job to make sure they do find me. But, I now know it's an even more important responsibility to choose the shows I do so it's not so much of an effort for them, and more successful for me. I'm getting there, I hope. 'Keeping fingers crossed that I will be chosen by the juries of the art shows I've entered for the coming summer and fall seasons.
About the name change, well, that's more of an issue. The name Jordan's Treasures carries the history of my original intention for my business: to create Afrocentric children's furniture and accessories. Back when my son Jordan was 2 (he's now about to turn 14), I couldn't find anything Afrocentric for his room, so I decided to paint a chair, table and stool for him. Those were my first products. I went on to do desk accessories, tiles, wall hangings and boxes. I added mirrors to the line within the last 5 years, and the shadow boxes with masks and clocks are my most recent additions. I no longer do children's products, so the reason behind the name is no more. Of course, Jordan thinks it's "cool" the company is named for him, but I'm thinking it's time for something else, which identifies either the products or with my own name. This has been percolating for quite awhile...still no decision...a work in progress, to be sure...stay tuned.
So it's been a year of transition, with more to come, I'm sure.