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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Another undertaking


When I bought the big loom last summer, it was both an adventure and a venture. I did not know the outcome; I wanted to see what it could be. It was therapy, too.  I am still working out the life changes of the last three years, letting go my plan to retire from work at the end of my current term is wrenching. Now I must continue working. What if I am not reelected to a forth four year term?

So, I bought a loom. Therapy, I told myself. Of the mental sort.  That lasted as long as the first loom for fun did, in 1983. Suddenly too much was woven, let’s go to a show. The whole bit becomes like the earworm song; it gets under your skin. The new products, the customers, the show atmosphere. People have come to enjoy themselves and it’s the exhibitors job, and to their benefit, to be sure the people do. So, the Etsy shop.

But, I also have responsibility to the granddaughters I have responsibility for. Band several days a week. Laura’s art. Emily’s job. My own PT twice a week (I will not give up Carly!).

I retired with an enormous customer list. Several computer upgrades later, it is lost. I doubt, too, those customers still have their AOL accounts. How does one market these days? It seems social media oriented. I asked in a person to help me sort it out, and the advice became a long list on yellow paper. It stayed on my desk and I tried, but I do not grasp the nuances of social media; the list is on the shelf.

Perhaps the Etsy shop will be self taught, like our first weaving business. I know my audience and what appeals to them. I do not understand how Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook are used these days to build audiences. It seems one must cast out thousands of pins and twitters to attract a “gate” of  ten thousand through the door, a thousand of whom probably will stop at your booth and a hundred buy, and that is a good show. And perhaps that’s how the young millennials shop on line. But, they aren’t my customer, on the whole.

It’s still about casting the pebble into the pond. So, I decided to try a blog hop. I did that once before, on a far smaller scale, and had Hail Fellow, Well Met conversations with some new bloggers. I’ll be trying it again; I put the link to Vicki Boster’s blog on my side bar, in case anyone else might be interested.

I hope for a lot of lookers, and if some of them look in my shop, and some of them….well, you get it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, they say.

I thank all of you for being kind and helpful to me these several years. I’ll still write old stories (I remembered one about having to eat an escargot), keep you updated on the adventures of an old grandma whose granddaughters’ combined ages equal less than half of hers, and you can bet on a couple more weaving stories along the way, too.  


28 comments:

  1. Oh no... this sounds like the beginning of the end (of your lovely blog)... I surely hope not... you are in no uncertain terms one of my "most admired" persons I've (personally not yet) met. Whatever happens, I wish you the best and that it works for you.

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    1. But I don't know anything else to write about!

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  2. That's what I was thinking...oh no, you are finished blogging but I guess not or you wouldn't try out with Vicky's grow your blog effort. Best wishes to you on that. I had an Etsy shop myself and didn't have the energy to do all the social networking. I think the best way is to get a stall for different Fall fairs and Christmas fairs, Spring fairs. Just a small one not the kind in the big exhibitions. This gets real customer traffic and also word of mouth, maybe do a guest post on your work at different blogging friends (you are welcome to do a post for me). I just don't have the time right now to do what it takes to get the customers. But having an online presence is a definite must these days so people can order from you even if they are far away.

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  3. Hari Om
    Hear hear to what Essay said!!! The thing is Joanne, whether online, in market stalls, or actual shopfront, selling is just plain b****y difficult in the 21st century. It's all about the next fad and rarely about artisan works. Though there are plenty out there. Don't let your 'therapy' become another weight on your shoulders dear lady!!!

    Looking forward to whatever updates come our way... ((((((HUGS TO YOU)))))) YAM xx

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  4. You are an amazing lady, good luck with your venture!

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  5. For etsy it's a lot of work , you have to like other folks pages, make treasuries, and list almost daily and in a few years you might start selling a lot.

    what about local galleries= there seem to be more sales in those locations. I am planning on re-opening my etsy shops soon, we shall see, if only I could afford any dentail, eye, or medical care but until I am 65 in six months, I will keep on keeping on.

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  6. I am not sure how it all works out to get one's products out there for people to view, but every effort you can think of to get the word out I think is a good one. Good luck with the blog hop.

    Betty

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  7. for me, I got my customer base for the commission work by making cold calls to designers and architects until I built up a good customer base. but taste's change and blah blah. anyway, at 64, I am not interested in making sales calls trying to convince some designer to suggest out work to their customers. we basically rely on our website now (which I won't pay a monthly fee for to make sure I'm pinned to the first page of the search engines) which I try to update fairly regularly so the spiderbots will notice. if you haven't updated your website then you sink to the bottom of the list. also our old contacts are aging and getting ready to retire as well. I don't know what to suggest to you. etsy is far too big for anyone to do well unless they work it every day. I do have a FB page for the etched glass and recently did one for the cast glass. but to get noticed on-line you have to have a massive presence. which you found out. maybe those granddaughters of yours can do the fairs and man the booths this spring and summer. we definitely still need income but I'm trying to think of new avenues as the commission work seems to be petering out. this year anyway.

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  8. There's some tourist traffic in your area, if I recall correctly from a few posts. Are there any stores that will sell your things on consignment? They don't have to be clothing stores; gift shops are the more usual places for quality handmade clothing and accessories around here. Is there a craft group in your area? They often have their own craft fairs. Sales tend to be mostly in the two months prior to Christmas. But you probably already know that.

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    1. Someday I may write a post about not being a prophet in your own land. In thirty years this town has never supported our work. As for tourists, they tend to come through on bicycles with no carrier baskets, and probably not even a credit card in their spandex shorts. It's an interesting phenomena. At this moment two shops sit vacant, two more are floundering. The town buildings are owned and controlled by the foundation of a man I've written of, who created his own vision of Brigadoon through zoning, effectively turning off any development. Like sewer and water. It all seems wonderful, until you look under the rocks.

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    2. Poo! I'm sorry to hear this. Is there no place within a reasonable distance with more forward-looking attitudes?

      I see Linda, below, has made you an offer, though.

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    3. Sounds like the town I live in Joanne. Here, the residents don't support the local businesses. Either they go to the Walmart or drive the 30 minutes to the neRest big shopping complex.

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    4. Simply amazing, isn't it. Just be a tiny bit off center of main stream and you're suspect of violation of the code of the center--whatever that is. I wonder if it's the same in Taos.

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  9. Where-ever your journey takes you, I hope there is pleasure as well as work. I like jenny_o, and Linda Starr's ideas about alternative venues (says the FB, twitter and instagram virgin).

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  10. Good luck. As for the possibility of you running out of subjects to write about I cannot imagine it. You are always so resourceful and imaginative - you will find topics (and we will be pleased to read about them!).

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  11. and this is why I continue to do art shows. I must get out to the public instead of waiting for them to come to me. Headed to Chantilly, Va in another 10+days and would love to have your work with me. Not my best but the best I can do at this time of year. Will be in touch.

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  12. You have rather a lot on your plate right now, Joanne and of course your priorities must be the girls, your work and your therapy, and the weaving too. Perhaps one or both of the girls could help you sort out the social media side of things if you decide you really need that as well as your etsy shop.
    I'll be glad to continue reading here whenever you post, but don't let this become a chore that you must do. Take a break, post less often, we won't mind at all. Just don't push yourself to exhaustion, please.

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  13. You post great posts and you weave great cloths all the while taking care of your wonderful grandchildren. You are a saint but please remember to take care of yourself! -- barbara

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  14. You are an inspiration to us all.

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  15. We are all so inspired by your stories and how you have taken on so much at this stage in life. I can hear, though, the anxiety in your words of the burdens that this has given you. Social media seems so easy for those who are young but it is a pool that us of a mature age have barely dipped our toes in. Kudos to you for entering those doors. Finding other crafters/artisans to join you into the market and sharing skills might be easier than doing it alone. Much luck to you, dear Joanne. Please keep us updated.

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  16. Joanne, I am full of admiration for you. I hope you have some success with your new idea.

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  17. The tapestry of life keeps weaving itself. We all must follow our own patterns.

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  18. Dear Joanne, I like your blog very much! Writing takes time, and you are an avid writer. Everybody has only 24 hours a day (well --- IF we had them....) Maybe you can keep the blog by writing less often - we will follow you.

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  19. I ordered a lovely soft blouse from you through Etsy. I have utterly no idea how Etsy works, but it seemed to leap out nowhere. Packing up and going on the road would seem impossible with the new "parenting grandma" part of your life.
    Keep blogging, oh please do not stop. You are one of the most intelligent bloggers I know.

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    1. I'm figuring it out, Susan. Perhaps it's just one more adventure. The boxcar children and their boxcar grandmother. Nothing like the old days.

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  20. Joanne you are inspirational & we love reading your Blog. Take care of yourself as well as others xx

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  21. You have your own patterns, loom or no, my friend!

    Pearl

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