Re: craft relief, timing, etc.

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Posted by Luann Udell on October 15, 2001 at 16:43:54:

In Reply to: Re: craft relief posted by annie on September 26, 2001 at 08:50:04:

: What I see about sales for my high end friends is that they seem fine, so do my low end jewelry pals. I don't know if the distinction should be about price point, or solid businesses vs. shakey ones...

: This summer after almost 20 years squwinting at jewelry, and watching the market get more and more saturated, I decided to change to art lamps, and have carefully been designing that new business. I think my reasoning was very sound, and my timing stinks.

I agree with Brian's assessment further back--some of my accounts are a little slower, and some are doing better at one price point than another. And it's not necessarily the lower priced items that do well. It's all over the board.

My feeling is that my market includes many folks who are not adversely affected by the recession, and people who are excited to see something fresh and new in the galleries. That's always been my target audience anyway.

Now, about your comment with the timing of a new product... Rather than being depressed about hitting a recession, I'm glad I had my business up and running for the boom years before now. I'm so much further down the road than if I had waited til this year. This may be a tough time, but tough times come and go. If your business can survive the tough times by staying flexible and paying attention (yes, I read your FAQ on crisis management, John!), then you know your business will be ready to grow even more when things calm down.

And Annie, when you develop a new product, recession or not, there's still a new learning curve to get past. Don't mix up the economic climate with the ups and downs of transforming your old business into a new one. I saw this happen to a well-established artisan a few years ago. After 20 years of doing X, he switched gears and started doing Y, then thought he'd still have a good show at our annual state crafts show. He bombed horribly. His new stuff was nice enough, but his old customers wanted the old products, and he didn't have new customers yet. He was so upset, felt like a failure--til he realized that he had put himself back at the beginning again. He wasn't a "failure", he was starting over, with a brand new product and in effect, a brand new business. And that may take some time, and redevelopment and repositioning of your product & business image.

And, in a way, the slow-down in your old business gives you the gift of time, and the opportunity to switch gears, get into a new product line that may really rejuvenate your business, *and* your attitude. For example, my husband's business (self-employed) is dropping off. Yes, that's scary--but it also allows him to take off on other paths he's been eager to try for the last few years. It's an *opportunity*, for self-examination, redirection, and new growth.

In fact, I saw one article stating that growing your business is the right way to deal with a recession. No competion for manpower, resources or marketing. Everyone else is hunkering down, while some people forge ahead--with caution and thrift, as John suggested. But also with the knowledge that the playing field is now wide open. I think that applies more to larger, more traditional businesses, but still an interesting thought.

Hope this helps,

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