The More Things Change…

February 3, 2012

…the more they stay the same. That’s the quote, isn’t it?

Things have changed a bit (again) since my last post many months ago. I no longer have the booth space in the craft mall, for one thing. It seems the people who shopped there were looking more for baby gifts and trinkets, rather than handmade artistic pottery and home decor items. It was an educational experience, though — it gave me a new understanding of arts and crafts marketing that I hadn’t had before. (You can check out my work in my Flickr portfolio on my Clay Harmony website.)

Last fall, I got another, entirely different perspective on what I’m doing at Clay Harmony. I went to the Oklahoma Arts Conference in Tulsa last October, where I was surrounded by about 300 artists of all types — fine artists, as well as writers, musicians, dancers, and other artists working in less common mediums like my polymer clay or another lady I met who painted on silk.

That conference really opened my eyes and made me realize that what I do is more art than craft — no wonder I didn’t do well at the craft mall! They were the wrong audience for my art. I had suspected as much before going to the conference, but the things I learned there confirmed it.

During one of the sessions, I showed someone a bracelet I wore to demonstrate the answer to the repeatedly asked question, “What do you do?” That person happened to work at the Gilcrease art museum in Tulsa, and she suggested that my jewelry would fit in well in their museum gift shop. Yes! That would be the proper place to display my creations! It made perfect sense.

So, one of my goals this year are to upgrade the quality of my jewelry, using sterling silver hardware instead of “costume jewelry” fittings, for example, so I can approach museum and gallery gift shops with confidence. It looks like I’ll end up with two product lines — higher-end pieces for the gift shops, and lower-cost items for the handful of craft shows I plan to do this year.

Another goal I have set for myself is to finish writing a book about my mother’s life. I have much of it written, but need to refine it and add pictures and other details to it. I’ve joined a writer’s group online to help with the writing part, and plan to self-publish it by the end of this year.

With my desktop publishing skills, why not? The book will be a good challenge, and I think it will be a very satisfying project on a personal and professional level. Stay tuned!

New Focus

April 17, 2011

In the past few months, my focus and attention has been concentrated on a new business venture that has nothing to do with typesetting or web design. I have opened a small store (booth space, actually) in an upscale gift gallery called Showplace Market in Moore, Oklahoma. The name of my store is Clay Harmony, […]

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Website Navigation

November 23, 2010

There are many styles of navigation menus available for websites, but the one thing they should have in common is that they allow the person viewing the website to find the information they’re looking for in the most efficient way possible. Most sites accomplish this very well, but unfortunately some don’t. We have become very […]

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Editing Assistant

November 12, 2010

I know a guy who’s been a customer of mine for over 20 years. He’s definitely an “idea person” – you know the type. He is a smart marketer of his services, was a social networking genius long before Facebook was invented, and is one of the funniest and nicest people I know. But in […]

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Communication Is Key

November 3, 2010

Nothing gets done without communication and collaboration, and that is definitely true when trying to create a website or develop a professionally designed printed document. You are the only person who knows your business inside and out, and your willingness to share your insights and provide feedback throughout the process will largely determine the quality […]

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Identity Basics

October 22, 2010

How do you introduce yourself to your customers? Most likely, the first in-person exposure to your company’s image is by means of your business card. It gives your prospective customer all the information they need in order to do business with you. Another thing your business card provides is a lightning-quick first impression of what […]

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Instructions for Success

October 16, 2010

Would your business benefit from providing your customers with detailed instruction or installation manuals, spec sheets, parts lists or other technical documents? If your product needs to be assembled by the purchaser, you definitely need to tell (and show) them how to put it together. Clearly written and illustrated instructions make for a happy customer, […]

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In Good Form

October 7, 2010

Most businesses use forms for one purpose or another in the course of their daily operations. Whether it’s an employment application, order form, invoice, or any number of other information-gathering documents, each form conveys an image of your company to those who see it. Their perception may be subliminal, but I guarantee they are forming […]

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Making Contact

September 28, 2010

How do you reach your customers? Is it by handing out business cards, networking at trade shows, putting an ad in the newspaper, having a business directory listing, or inviting visitors to your website? It’s important to cross-promote your business using different media. For example, your website should be listed on all your printed materials. […]

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