The past year has been mostly a learning experience for me, both creatively and business-wise. I applied to a large summer outdoor craft fair, but was notified that I had been put on a waiting list which actually turned out to be a good thing since my booth display didn’t really lend itself to anything more than a long table and a couple of dress forms.
The large pieces I was working on back in July took a different direction than what I had posted at that time. One actually became a tunic top, and another ended up with four different surface treatments with a stunning result. It seems the silk and colors have minds of their own and what I intend for a piece hardly ever ends up to be the finished result.
Which is good in a way, but also bad because I’m still searching for continuity – that signature look that brands Mauveine and my creative identity. But maybe that’s what it’s going to be – random, one of a kind, born of flashes of inspiration or happy accidents. Most of the time if I’ve thought long and hard about what I want to do with a piece it doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would anyway. So why fight it?
I did have booths in two craft shows, one in November and one in December. Neither were all that great as far as sales go, but invaluable for the tips, advice, input and feedback I was able to get from other exhibitors and customers. I’ve had several Etsy sales which has been really encouraging and I’m anxious to get some new pieces up for sale there.
I had a wonderful conversation with McKenna Hallett, jewelry artist and owner of Currents Low Impact Jewelry. She opened up the possibility of wholesaling and gave me some great advice and marketing ideas. She was so encouraging when I really needed a pep talk!
I’m getting a much larger tank built to handle up to 1.75 yards of 45″ wide fabric which opens up possibilities for larger, more versatile pieces that I’m excited about. I’ve also discovered some new colors, the DecoSoft line of fabric paints that are supposed to leave the fabric with shine and softness intact. I’ll be playing with those and I’m anxious to see the results.
The holidays have diverted my attention for the time being, but in January I plan on setting my sights on registering for at least one larger summer/fall show as well as pulling together a couple of lines of products to approach some local handmade/gift boutiques. We’re working on a display back wall that can adjust to different size booths and once it’s done I can build on that to develop a much more dynamic, professional looking showcase. There are so many elements and aspects to making Mauveine really happen – it’s so much more than just playing in my art room and I know I’ve just begun to scratch the surface.
My hope for 2013 is that I have a viable website up and looking fabulous, a knockout booth setup for one large show, and at least one retailer interested in carrying a Mauveine line, and expanding my Etsy listings.