Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The bottom line

"Accidents and inspiration lead you to your destination."

The bottom line is that there is no bottom line.

I'm not sure how many times I am going to need to teach myself that lesson.

In context, I am referring to trying to analyze and figure out what bead customers want and will buy.

It's not as though I haven't done a score of shows where I've proved over and over that if beaded keys sell really well at one, and I go home and make a bunch more, beaded keys will languish on my table at the next show.

So, the obvious answer is to make what you love and, even if the money doesn't follow, you'll have made what you love.

Apparently I'm a bit daft because this is a brick wall that I continue to hit my head against.

On the bright side, I've been selling a lot of beads on Facebook at Lampwork Beads For Sale and Lampwork Bead Market. You have to be a member to participate, so if you are interested, visit the page and send a request to join and someone will almost immediately approve you.

You can see lots of pretty beads for auction and for sale and you can hang out with fellow bead lovers and feed your addiction.

I spend a lot of time in those Facebook groups now, probably because I'm being intermittently reinforced. At this time I can have up to three items for sale or auction, each of which is to be posted for at least 24 hours, unless someone opts for the Buy-it-Now (BIN) option. Then you can list something to replace the sold item.

So, some days I have three items that are gathering virtual moss. Likes are nice but not really helpful, comments are the next best thing to bids because they bump your item to the top of the list. Recently, at the end of a very long 24 hours without traction, one of my auctions ended (without a sale), I listed a new item and 37 seconds later I had a BIN. That's also a shot in the arm.

Sometimes though I'll have a whole series of BINs. As fast as one item sells and I list another, it sells. A few of those and I start feeling overwhelmed. I can always slow things down with a 24-hour auction without a BIN, but usually I just list something expensive that is less of an impulse-provoker. Usually that works. Sometimes I get surprised.

Yesterday I spend time taking apart all the sets in my show trays. Most of them were 17 beads, including 9 of the main design and 8 coordinating accent beads. I pulled 6 beads out of each set, and my new 11-bead sets are priced to sell and doing well. Since these are mostly simple frit beads, I'm starting the auctions at $11 with a BIN price of $16.

It's a good deal for me because I've had those beads for a while and I don't have a show planned until the end of July. It's a good deal for the customer, especially those who are buying several sets and leveraging shipping.

And with the 6 beads I took out of each set, I've been stringing orphan pair lots, some to go up on eBay and some for my online trunk show.

Oh yes, my online trunk show. It's this weekend, May 3-4, at Glass Open Market. You have to join that page too. For two days, actually starting on May 2 at 10 pm CDT, I have the page exclusively and I get to have a rolling 20 items listed. As items sell, I will replace them, and if they don't sell within 12 hours I will replace them.

I'm planning to have a lot of variety, my new smaller sets, beaded keys, reactive stacked dot beads, floral beads, discounted focals, orphan sets, and whatever else I conjure up from my trays and boxes. I may even scavenge my Etsy shop, deactivating items and listing them in the trunk show. If they don't sell, I'll reactivate them on Etsy.

I have a lot of deadlines looming. I finally finished and turned in my draft story about Glass Sorbet for Glass Bead Evolution magazine. I have two more paragraphs to write and add and I've committed to have that in on Friday.

Tomorrow is the deadline to register for ISGB Gathering before the rates go up. It's also the deadline for one of the juried exhibits, Fired Up! – A Personal Interpretation of Inner Light. I've planned all along to enter, I just need to wire some pendants and take some photos and pay the $25 fee, but as I sit here, I'm contemplating blowing it off. I have a gut feeling that my work won't be accepted. It's not novel enough, or complex enough, or just plain brilliant enough.

Then again it is just $25 and a few photos and there's always that long-shot chance.

Saturday is another deadline, the Bead Soup Blog Hop Reveal. I have one piece done, using both the required components, the focal and the clasp. I'm pleased enough with how it turned out. I still would like to make one more piece with the other beads I got, Well, there's still tonight. And Wednesday, Thursday, and most of Friday, since I'll photograph whatever I've got and post it here at midnight on Friday. [April 30 update - The BSBH Reveal is postponed for a week. Yay. More time to make another piece.]

Between now and then, I have my second-to-last Digital Photography class on Thursday, and all my homework for that yet to be done, 40 photos with a monochromatic theme. I have a volunteer shift at Sugar Land Animal Services tomorrow morning. And this is the last week of my online Colgate class, The Advent of the Atom Bomb. I finished the lecture videos today, I have two films to watch and I want to post some thoughtful comment in the last weekly discussion.

There's also a Colgate classmate doing a book reading on Thursday night, but I'm having to cheer-lead myself to go and it's not working very well. I don't know the author, but she's a friend of a friend, so maybe I'll suck it up and go.

Not everything worth having is going to be easy.

I said that to Neil the other night. We were driving home from dinner and somehow the conversation veered to how much less stressful some aspects of life are now than they were in our dating days. There were so many balls to juggle then, jobs, kids in high school, homes 25 miles apart. We navigated those complexities for 4 years and change and it really is so much nicer to be living together, even if we're both always going 100 miles per hour in different directions.

But we did what we had to do to make it work, because it was important. And what I started to say was, Nothing worth having is going to be easy. But as I started to say that, I reflexively thought about how some things worth having really aren't all that hard. Sometimes it's just a matter of luck and timing, sometimes things just fall into place easily.

But not everything, maybe not even most things. Certainly not everything.

"You could be this man, he's got it all worked out
To the nth degree, no fears, no doubts
He'll retire at thirty to his big-ass house next to the putting green
Now he's got a picture in his head of the perfect wife
Their perfect children, their perfect life
Nothing wrong with that, coming home each night to his cul-de-sac of dreams

Funny now how it all went by so fast
One day he's looking over his shoulder at the past
When everybody had to go, had to be, had to get somewhere
How did he forget about what got him there

Now you could be this woman, she's the CEO
She's got her power suits and her IPOs
She punched a hole in the ceiling years ago, and she hasn't pulled back since
Now there's a gardener for the flowers, a cook for the meals
A maid for the laundry, an accountant for the bills
A walker for the dog and a trainer when she feels the need to lose an inch

Funny now how it all went by so fast
One day she's looking over her shoulder at the past
When everybody had to go, had to be, had to get somewhere
Somehow she forgot about what got her there

Accidents and inspiration lead you to your destination

Or you could be the one who takes the long way home
Roll down your window, turn off your phone
See your life as a gift from the great unknown
And your task is to receive it
Tell your kid a story, hold your lover tight
Make a joyful noise, swim naked at night
Read a poem a day, call in well sometimes
And laugh when they believe it

Funny now how it all goes by so fast
One day I'm looking over my shoulder at the past
Now everybody's got to go, got to be, got to get somewhere
Baby don't forget about
You really shouldn't forget about
Baby, don't forget about
What got you there
I think it's what got you there
Yeah, it's really what got you there
You know what got you there
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."

(Mary Chapin Carpenter)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz