I need help with this jewelry thing, particularly how to get it to work online.
January of 2019 is the fourth year I have been working on this close to full time. In this time I have entirely self-taught myself silversmithing, aside from one six-session class at a community center. I have built my brand so that it is ready to take off. I have done everything for it—the packaging, photography, content and copy writing, a little marketing to galleries, building and maintaining the website, the wrapping and shipping. I’ve endured an unending mission attempting to figure out the mystery of selling one’s art through social media. It is a lot of work but I enjoy it. I’ve left behind my previous career to try and make this what I do for the rest of my life because that is how much I love to do it.
Four years into this, though, my financial life is a complete wreck. I know money is not the source of happiness but it is what runs our world, and I try to foster as healthy of a relationship with that reality as I can. Most of the time I look at it as a game, or a give and take of energy—and for awhile now, it has been something that I am not engaging with successfully. My other option is to move back to a city, get a tech job and pretend that I am content with that. But I just cannot go there. For me, that way lies an amount of stress, unhappiness, and illness that is totally destructive in every way. It’s something I can’t really do ever again, try as I may. We all have our limits with what is doable and what is not. So I keep at it with this jewelry and while my heart and spirit are happy, the financial hole is an enormous burden.
I am incredibly, beyond blessed, to share a warm and beautiful house with my mom while my dad is away traveling for work. I am consciously thankful for this at least 100 times a day. Beyond that though, I have been unable to sell enough of my work to pay for life—a lot of which is loan debt from my ‘previous life’ when I could have paid it off rather quickly. Now though, it is only growing. I would be so elated to not have this settled over top of me, to be able to share a life with someone and live in a quiet and simple home out in the mountains, to have the space to give my time and resources to my community, to share what I grow, and maybe have a few more animals. That is what I am working toward. That’s it! It’s a simple thing I am trying to reach but I’m faced with this ominous, seemingly insurmountable impasse that deepens daily.
How does this online business happen? I see a literally uncountable amount of artists and small businesses here that make their living selling their art by marketing through Instagram and Facebook. I follow all of the guidelines I have found in research, I have built an honest and authentic image of my work, I don’t engage with any of the fake nonsense I see, I strive to have genuine conversations with those who write to me in these spaces—I do all of it with the truest intentions and from an honest place. I work on it every single day. My heart is so grateful for each and every interaction. I don’t ever want my business to be untrue in any regard, that just isn’t me and I can’t go there, even if it means taking longer to make this thing work. I also am not comparing my journey with those who are rocking it. I’m trying to learn how they did it, so that I can find myself on my own path of success… because a lot of people are doing it, and getting onto that road is a mystery to me so far. So far, things have just… not moved, on the scale that is needed.
If you have answers or pointers, that is great. If you have love to send, that is great too. I am writing this to get it out of my head, to see it from a round perspective... and hoping it might make a shift somewhere that is needed, perhaps catch the attention of some help that is any sort of breakthrough. This has been such a process in staying with the course, working to keep my energy up and positive, learning to take hits and failures lightly and use them as more fuel rather than giving up. The constant production of art is a testament to this because any artist knows that you create nothing when your energy is down. I work many hours on this each and every day, with breaks when needed. I have optimism, love, attention, and devotion in every step. I know it will work eventually, I know it with all that I am. I just do not want to sink into a lifetime of debt before it happens!
(Yes, I am exploring markets—in the real world—off the internet—in Santa Fe. To be honest, right now, I do not have enough money to pay for a booth, the paperwork and fees, the gas to get there… and my car, my only financial ‘asset’, may be taken soon. That’s not a ‘woe is me’, it’s just where I’m at. I’ll move into markets when I am able to do it.)
(Yes, I put work in shops and galleries when I am able to. These partnerships are based on consignment where I am paid when something sells. I'm not in a position, right now, to personally put forth the investment in materials for the set of pieces I make. Wholesale would be -awesome- but it's not an opportunity I have come across yet.)