Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On the Road with Designs by Dreamweaver: Newry and Trenton

My small business venture is a huge success despite the challenges! The latest challenge occurred two weeks ago, just before we went to a festival, when I realized that the finish I had been using was not trustworthy. I had researched and learned that Varathane and Future floor polish were good on polymer pendants. The only Varathane in the area came by the gallon at $40, but Minwax had a similar product that was $10 for a small amount. I've been using it on all my pendants and beads. Then I learned the hard way that it doesn't work, despite the recommendations on the internet. So I pulled everything on the table (if anyone reading this has a problem, please contact me!!!).  I had two weeks to get enough product on the table to go to festival. Shesh. So I concentrated on pendants, creating about 50 and sanding another 25 before using my new Varanthane. I pulled all necklaces with polymer beads, and only had about four replacements on the table -- but those sell better at Etsy (even when I deliver in person -- the sales number on the site is deceptive).  

I'm pleased to say we visited Newry, SC two weeks for their mill festival. An unincorporated township, they are in Wikipedia but not my GPS! No gas station, nor Wal-mart, but they do have a post office and a population of 52 in the 2000 census. We met a lot of art lovers, however, who truly appreciated our work, and sold five of my handcrafted polymer pendants. They also seemed to appreciate the murano style glass and danglingly earrings from Peru (a real boon since they had only arrived the day before - the lady at the table next to me was selling the same thing for more than twice what I asked). 

We didn't even have time to take pictures, so this picture of the mill, where they offered tours, is courtesy of Wikipedia. The mill has been sold to a development company who plans to invest $11 million to convert it to apartments. We were set up on the main street and the kind people in the house behind us provided me with electricity for my fan. We were impressed with both the music and the hospitality, and plan to attend next year's festival as well. 

Last weekend we got up at 3:45 to drive to Trenton, SC, returning home at 3 the following morning (why didn't we do this when we were in our twenties?). We had a terrific time, located near the bandstand, enjoying local talent. We were entertained by an Elvis impersonator, fabulous local musical talent and dance. 

We had a great reception, once again finding that low prices got us quite a few customers. It's tough watching my pendants, which I spend a great deal of time designing, creating, sanding through three grits, buffing and polishing selling for $5. 

But they do sell! They still don't sell as quickly as the glass, but I'm working on the process and think as the glass becomes a passing fad, their popularity will increase. 

I've also employed the resident artist in more than running the buffing wheel. When we were at Newry, a lovely lady I'll call Miss Betty described her family's life around the mill. Five generations they lived in Newry and worked at the mill. She was looking for a humming bird for her sister for Christmas. When I got home, I put her to work painting. Imagine a mural artist with a tiny pendant! LOL She said she needed a smaller brush! 
I liked the results so much, I asked for a few more and sold three at work. These are priced between $15 and $22. 

I'm not satisfied with the pictures of the pendants I created, so I'll post them next time.