The Flaming Hot! topic of the week was discounts — to offer or not to offer. Lori Greenberg discusses how she handles wholesale pricing while Lyn Foley describes how offering a one-time discount can come back to haunt you.
You fall asleep and think you are dreaming. But really, you have just traveled through time forward 5 years. What does your glass world look like? Blog it!
Hmmm.? Well, I think it looks, ah, full of glass…
Honestly, I’m not sure how different the studio, at least, looks from today.? More glass, perhaps.? I hope I’ll have decided by then whether I’m giving up the Bullseye or the COE104, since I already do mostly boro and two soft glass COEs is probably unnecessary.? There’s always the possibility that I’ll have a bit bigger torch by then, too.? Though since I’m leery of going with tanked oxygen, it wouldn’t be a whole lot bigger.
Outside the studio, though, I can see a successful little business on the side, making a modest profit every year with online sales and the handful of shows I do, and a nice collection of happy customers that are always glad to see me at those shows.? They eagerly inspect my new lampwork and purchase the perfect treasures for their creations.? Every time I have something new and different for them, as well as old favorites.? My style continually evolves, but is always my own.
Most of all, though, I still have my wonderful glass world friends .
That was a stumper for me, because there’s not much about glass that I don’t enjoy.? If anything, it would be easier to say what I DON’T enjoy about glass and the business I run.
There are two little ways, though, that I particularly enjoy my avocation.? One is just watching the glass itself melt.? For me, that is mesmerizing and utterly relaxing, even if I tense up immediately afterward because I’m trying something new or very complex. That little moment of Zen as I ready myself to mold and shape the glass to my vision is what it’s about.
The other is talking to other people about lampworking, particularly those people who don’t know anything about it.? One skill I’ve developed over many, many years of dealing with technology is explaining things to people simply and clearly without talking down to them.? I get to use that skill in a non-technology environment when I talk to people about the process of melting glass and the pleasure I get from it; it’s especially satisfying to see the proverbial light dawn for them as they realize just what is involved.
We all hang on to the familiar. What is your staple glass object you continue to make and why? Blog it!
My staple glass object right now would have to be something like this:
These are really just very basic beads from boro glass. I start by making a twistie cane of three or four or six colors striped over a clear core. This one was made from Northstar Caramel, Elvis Red, and a green (possibly Glass Alchemy Aqua Azul, but I am not sure). Once I make the twistie, I use it as the core for a Basic Round Bead, and encase the bead with a layer of clear glass. With my average twistie, I can get a set of anywhere from ten to eighteen beads, no two of which are going to look exactly alike but all of which will go together.
Since lampworking is, for me, as much relaxation and respite as it is creativity, I try to keep my approach to it as Zen-like as possible. With these beads, I can get into “the zone” almost without effort, whether I’m going the twisties or the beads. It’s a rare torching session that I don’t either make one or more sets, or at least make the twisties for a set or two at my next session.
How do you track the progress of your glass business? Do you set goals and benchmarks to be reached? Do you have detailed directives? Do you just plod along and let it happen? Tell us what you do to keep your business thriving. Blog it!
Up until now I haven’t really had goals and benchmarks for my glass business. The “business” part of it just sort of happened. A year or so after I started lampworking, I started selling the occasional bead or set, and that made me realize that it was becoming an endeavor that had best be made a legal and proper business. So in summer 2006 I got the tax ID numbers and business license and such, and started filing the necessary paperwork for sales tax and such.
For 2007 I didn’t formally set out any goals for the year. I thought I’d try out a show or two, maybe a couple of auctions, and see what happened. So I did, and a few things happened — enough for me to decide that this is worth continuing.
It’s almost 2008, and maybe it is time to think about some more concrete goals — get more specific about shows, about online sales, about a better plan to keep it organized. But I will make the main goal to enjoy what I am doing, and not let it get out of the hand so that it stresses me out!
Being self employed has it?s rewards and challenges. How do you manage to get your work done? Blog it.
I’m not altogether self-employed — I do have that “day job” teaching computer science. The lampworking is very much a side business.? It is very hard some days to come home, switch gears, and work on the side business.?? If it’s an evening when I need to make something, usually that’s not so tough.? I find that melting glass is relaxing and stress-relieving, and I look forward to doing that unless I’m just too tired to have any business sitting at the torch.
Other things — photography, bookkeeping, advertising — I have a lot more trouble with.? They aren’t stress-relieving; they are stress-inducing.? I tend to avoid them in favor of fiddling around with the computer or something.? I know I’m doing this, though, and one of my goals for the next few months is to get myself into the habit of keeping up with photography so that I can list things for sale online.? I still haven’t figured out the “carrot” for that one, though.
Maybe it’s a matter of comfort zones — things like computing and lampworking itself are part of my personal comfort zone so it’s not hard to convince myself to do them.? The other things are outside that realm, though, which makes it harder to convince myself to tackle them.
This week’s Flaming Hot! Tips Tuesday discusses etching beads.? That’s one of those techniques I’ve never gotten around to yet, so I’m reading everyone’s tips with great interest.? Apparently milk (not skim, has to contain fat) is the magic ingredient to stop the chemical process.? Who would have thought it!
I’m pretty sure etching won’t work much, if at all, with boro glass.? However, I do have a lot of Moretti/Vetrofond beads that haven’t attracted any real attention at a couple of shows now.? It might be worth a try at etching some of those and see how well they do.? In fact, I can think of several sets that might work very well etched, so I might as well give it a shot.