Once a year I get asked to return to the school where I studied jewellery-making - Kootenay School of the Arts - to give a slide show and talk to the students about moving from being an art student to being an art business owner. As April is just about upon us and students will be graduating in a few weeks I thought I'd share with you my top ten tips on this subject.
- Work hard.
- Establish a routine of regular working hours, tell everyone you know, repeat it continually.
- Buy a camera, learn how to use it and make a photo booth for your work.
- Start selling locally, move further afield as you become experienced.
- Try different things - you won't know if it works until you try it.
- Book-keeping - do your own, then you'll know what is coming in and what is going out.
- Artistic work feeds commercial work - do both if you can.
- Be reliable and nice with everyone - customers, gallery owners, suppliers etc
- Show off your art - wear you own handmade jewellery, clothing, accessories.
- When you can afford it, go to a workshop or conference, for creative renewal and networking.
I have tried my best to do all of these things and my hand-made jewellery business will be 12 years old this year. Here's a photo of a brooch I made in my early years - Oak Leaf in sterling silver, 14k gold and acrylic.