Saturday, April 25, 2015


We've all seen those empty storefronts in shopping centers and malls, perhaps we've even toyed with a dream of opening our own little shop.  Unfortunately all the technicalities, legalities, and uncertainties prevented our dream from going from fantasy to reality.  Recently I searched online to find more information regarding pop-up retail and came across this interesting website:

A  crafter who is able to mass produce their products could probably fill an typical sized mall storefront with little problem, on the other hand a small time, cottage  business would find it difficult to fill a few shelves.  GoVacant seems to have the answer and can accommodate both the big time entrepreneurs that require a spacious storefront,  or  the little mom and pop visionaries who need little more than a small kiosk.

I could also see how something like this could benefit a group of artists and crafters, working together to fill the shelves of retail business.

Patty  Gasparino  was lovely to drop by and give me additional information about Pop-Ups that's happening in her area. The idea of a shop within a shop sounds both promising and exciting.  It's definitely something worthy of consideration.

"Hey Anna Thanks so much for the shout out! Well as I have been seeing it the "new" Pop-Up shop is INSIDE another current retail location OR a purposeful set up in an ongoing location. IE There is a bakery that on the first Thursday of the month sets up a "Pop-up Shop night" and stays open late with cupcakes, drinks and music for a little extra shopping. I love these type of pop-ups as I think it could be a win-win for all concerned. The second I've seen is the "Once a month pp up" in a specific location. Think Farmers Market for crafts! I like this idea too - if you have the right venue people will come to seek you out. I actually haven't come across any around here of the vacant shop variety and I might be less enthusiastic about that unless it were a regular thing that would build a clientele. So maybe what is old has a new life again? XO"
Patty's facebook page can be reached HERE.

Below are a few of the comments I've received  regarding my post on Pop-Up Shops.

 Kokopelli Design  

"Sounds interesting! Following......"


"That's pretty cool! We have quite a bit of empty store front around here that'd do well with a pop up shop, but the landlords around here are too greedy I think."


"Well, I'm intrigued! I haven't heard of them, but after doing some research, it sounds like a big thing. I don't think it would work where I live, but I'm in a kind of rural area. Would love to hear if anyone else has done this."
Plowing Through Life (Martha) 

"This is a great idea!"


"We've been pondering this for our do an "occasional sale" maybe bi monthly, quarterly or even once a month. I had a retail store for 10 years and do not want to go back to being that tied down. I think it would be cool to get a few other antiquers to "go in with" but I KNOW you have to be really careful about that. Perfectly nice people can turn out to be closet crazies. There are a couple cool empty (expensive to rent) store fronts sitting in my town , but I don't know if they would be keen on turning on the power for a pop up..and being liable for insurance etc..hmmm..a thought though. You'd think some rental income would be better than none."

Pearl of The BeadingGem'sJournal

"I haven't seen any pop- ups into area yet. But they are a great alternative to long term rent."


So all-in-all, dear readers, this is an exciting prospect and another avenue in which to consider exploring.   With my very best wishes that good luck and a good life may always be yours.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Searching for Venues

Recently I visited My Life Under the Bus,  a lively, fun blog by PatriciaGasparino.   She asked if any of her readers had experience with "Pop-Up Shops".  Truthfully I had never heard of them but decided to check it out.  Seems it was a big trend several years ago and is still going, though perhaps not quite as strongly. 

The premise is that there are a number of vacant storefronts and rather than have them remain empty and losing money, people can rent these vacant shops short term and sell their products directly to their customers.   Rent is supposed to be below market pricing and one isn't locked into a lease.  Sounds great but I'm sure that back a few years ago, during the depths of our last recession, there were a lot of storefronts that were unoccupied and leasing firms were probably desperate to have these places rented and bringing in a flow of cash.  Today they may not be so eager and their rent could be considerably higher.  Still it is an interesting premise.

If any of you have had experience with pop-up shops or pop-up stores or pop-up retail (they really are all the same animal) , or if you know of someone who has had experience in renting a pop-up space, would you please share your thoughts and opinions on this subject ?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

All My Eggs In One Basket . . . conclusion ...

As you've probably noticed I've broken up my story into 3 segments.  Having it all in one post would have been much too long and, understanding how valuable one's time is, I didn't want to make my blogging friends feel trapped reading a mile long post.

Anyway to continue onwards ...

 Photo of my beadwork lariat necklace.  Super long at 72" and embellished with  tassels of beadwork fuchsia flowers and leaves, this necklace sold in less than 3 weeks at the ArtCenter Manatee.

With reservations the ArtCenter Manatee agreed to give my beadwork jewelry a chance, so from September through November I was on trial.  I think they were surprised to find that my jewelry was actually selling and when the curator of the art center's Artisans' Market, printed out an invoice for all the items of mine that had sold during that time frame, she was pleasantly awed to see a grand total of  over $1,000. 

Needless to say there is no longer a question of whether or not they will be accepting my beadwork jewelry into their market. Of course the ArtCenter receives 40% of my sales but since they're the ones collecting the sales tax and paying the fees that credit card processing incurs and, most importantly, since they are a nonprofit organization, I have no qualms with their cut of the pie.

So in the end I still have all my eggs in one basket but I will continue to keep my eyes open for any new venues that may look promising.
Close-up of the beaded fuchsia flower tassles.

Monday, April 6, 2015

All My Eggs In One Basket - continued...

Know it's not a basket full of eggs but I was out of eggs  and my sea shells makes for a prettier picture.  :)
All my eggs in one basket . . . continuation ....

In years past I had belonged to a local art club and decided to rejoin this group, it had originally been open to all local artists and crafters, bar none.  However times had changed and the president of the club told me that they had passed a new bylaw stating that membership would be denied to anyone whose media represented an over saturated field as they were attempting to curtail "over representation" of any one media . . . namely "Jewelry Makers".  Of course this had been voted on unanimously by all the current jewelers in the club. 

Perhaps it was all of this constant rejection that put me down in the dumps and I lost interest in just about everything (including blogging).   I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything and found myself moping around and feeling sorry for myself.

Finally a friend encouraged me to try the local art center, ArtCenter Manatee.   Hope had been renewed and I called to set up an appointed with the curator of the art center's Artisans Market.  At the beginning of our meeting, things didn't start off well.  First I was told that the art center had accepted beadwork jewelry in the past and it just did not sell.  That's when I began to beg.  Just give me a chance, my jewelry used to be a hot seller at all of the fairs and exhibitions and had been the top selling item at the last gallery that featured my work.  Reluctantly they agreed to give it a shot.  I would be on a probationary period and if nothing sold in those first 3 months then I would have to come in and pick up all of my products.

To be continued ......

Saturday, April 4, 2015

All My Eggs In One Basket

The world of Arts and Crafts is super-saturated with jewelry designers/makers.  I've known this for years but it never became more apparent than after I lost my one and only source of  selling.

 Years ago I used to do the art shows and fairs, granted it was a lot of work to haul everything from my  vehicle over to my assigned booth location and then hassle with getting the tent set up, the tables in place and then arranging an assortment of displays and all the various pieces of my work.  It was easy to envy those who didn't have all those little bits and pieces to fuss over, seemed as though they were able to get in at the last moment, set up and were ready for business in a matter of minutes; likewise they packed up at the end of the event and were long gone whereas I was still packing up boxes of jewelry and displays and still had to face hauling tables to my car and taking my tent down. 

Having my jewelry in a shop or gallery was a lot less work, a lot less hassle, but not totally hassle-free.  Occasionally a jewelry tag went missing and the jewelry was sold with the wrong ID number. Then it required detective work to figure out what piece was actually sold and at what price.  That's when I decided I did not wish to have my jewelry spread out all over the county.  Yes I know that having all my eggs in the one proverbial basket was not a good idea but the thought of trying to keep tabs on a number of items placed in several different shops overwhelmed me. 

When my one and only resource had to relocate her shop and decided to discontinue having an Artisans Gallery, I was forced to look around for other venues.  That's when I was truly struck by how saturated the market was with handmade jewelry.  Shop after shop, boutique after boutique, gallery after gallery met with me and shook their heads saying they already had far too much inventory from local jewelry makers and just could not take on any more.

To be continued ....

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