IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES.
The Build a Line Master Class Challenge has been about possibilities from the beginning.
Although our participants were only required to do five cohesive pieces in theme, meet the blog hop dates and participate as much as possible on our Classroom Page, many have indeed begun to see far beyond the original premise and into the future.
That's why there's so much truth to this quote by President Theodore Roosevelt:
At the same time, while ideas were in abundance, toward the end some were beginning to flag a bit. One gal said to me when I put this quote on a Facebook page, yeah, but the second half is the killer!
I know this was a tough one to meet. Just like Evie the cat, sometimes I just wanted to go and lie down and pass out!
The fact is for the greater part of a decade, I'd lived this life. I had a large collection and many store accounts. I had taken my little crafts show ideas to the limit and made the B'sue Boutiques brand. Thus, I knew the things that I told the participants would work. They truly are basic business principles for getting ahead in selling ANY sort of product.
At the same time, for me, writing good class notes and making them plain for everyone was daunting. Many of the ideas presented were completely new to so many in the group!
I did feel a bit vindicated when via research, participants discovered websites on business that corroborated my process does work and is rather basic. BUT.... WHO KNEW? Personally, I just sort of fell into it and figured it out as I went along.
I'm so glad these excellent artists jumped in with me and as a class team, they learned new things about the business of craft...and about themselves. They also helped me discover better ways to present information and to answer their questions.
Due to life circumstances not everyone was able to make it all the way to the finish line with all of their projects, but no one has dropped out for the final post. That means a whole lot to me. It says they still are imagining....and that the dream is still there.
The fact remains:
YET: sometimes there is a time in life that is best to pursue a goal, other times, we simply have to settle for guarding the flame and keeping our dream alive. Keep moving forward, hone your skills and challenge yourself in small ways, taking small steps. Each one must design what is best for them, their lifestyle, and their aspirations.
Some dream big, some dream small. It does NOT matter....so long as you continue to dream!
But you might be asking: Why was this class so draining for both students AND instructor?
In the end, we covered FAR MORE than the basic requirements. We talked about:
1. how to bring your line together
2. how the fashion industry, like it or not, DOES figure into your success....and how you don't have to follow it as much as be AWARE of it:
4. Listening to customer requests and taking a long hard look at what we are doing....are we designing for ourselves, or are we designing for our customer? (There should be a balance of both---and it's elusive at times)
5. The price pyramid....impulse line, statement line, couture/runway/one of a kind, bridal
A pyramid graph found by class member, Elizabeth Hildreth. This one actually has an extra step beyond the ones discussed.
6. The difference between an artisan hobbyist, a jewelry maker and a jewelry designer
7. Actually putting the right prices for profit on our work
8. The difference between cheapening or 'dumbing down' designs for the impulse pricepoints....and streamlining them while maintaining quality
I once took a class wherein it was stressed that the difference between high end pieces and lesser priced lines is the FINISH work. This may hold true especially for handmade goods as well as finely tailored designer couture and high end jewelry worked in precious metal. Yet lower priced lines still should have competent finish work and quality components that will last....if you want customers to return.
9. The subject of quality and why quality components and quality workmanship go hand in hand
10. We talked about how lines become collections. Briefly we discussed WHAT IF you sold a collection to a store, what next? We also mentioned making lines with a core for customization, as well as being reproduceable.
Below is an illustration made by Tammy Adams, another class member, as she tried to think how she might group lines into a collection:
These are really only the first ten things I can think of, off the top of my head. Believe me....THERE WERE A LOT MORE!
In this last and final round, the participants will reveal their final lines, talk about their plans and where all the information they took in fits into their lives.
Some intend to go for the brass ring, others have enjoyed learning about new ideas but are unsure.
Still others have found the greatest thing they've learned is that they are content where they are, doing things as they were.
All appreciated that they need to spend a bit more time on their online shops and show displays. Honestly, I can tell you: that's a CONSTANT process, you never get done making improvements!
They also realized they could better their keyword and photo presentation skills for greater success. There was also talk regarding the need to be more disciplined in getting the work done, and pieces listed.
I hope you will take time to read all the posts, even if you find you must do it incrementally. Where possible, please leave an encouraging comment for the participants who have worked so hard.
Our class will go on for a few more weeks before we are officially finished. A winner will be chosen based on finale posts by our panel of judges, and announced March 31. There will also be a random winner chosen among all those who finished the work.
I'll let you know on the 31st who won!
Let's get to it! The final participants are:
Mary Katherine Deis
Jennifer Merrill Williams
Denise Lussier Poirier