Monday, December 7, 2009

one of a kind chicago

i'm sitting here in chicago waiting to board my train to new york, and thought i'd get a few thoughts down. the show i just finished was decent; i learned a lot of stuff and will try this show again next year. first, because i was in the etsy pavilion i had half the footage as other artist, so that made my sales not as high, i didn't have the room to have the inventory to really bring in the money. i also learned that i need a LOT more inventory to make more money at this show. my new natural line seemed very popular too. all this will help me for next years show.
i also have to note that at this show i was accosted by a sheep farmer. she came into my booth and asked about where i got my wools from, so i told her. some i get from local and independent farmers, but most i buy through ashland bay, which is a wholesaler out of portland. they use wool from all over the world. the farmer got pretty confrontational with me, lecturing me on the need to use local, domestic farmers, which i don't disagree with. but i told her until local farmers can be competitive with price and consistent with quality, it doesn't make business sense to buy it. she then argued back that if more people bought domestically, then the prices would be competitive. ok. we then moved on to the silk fabric i use, which to my knowledge isn't available by domestic mills. she gave me a breif history lesson about the US being the largest manufacture of silk... during the civil war! fantastic, does that help me now?
here's the point: i'm producing a product that is from natural and renewable fibers, recycled goods, using eco-friendly dyes, made by domestic artisan hands, my own; how much more do i need to pile onto my product? how much more cost can i really pass on to the consumer? she tells me they make less money by using domestic wool in there products, ok but i'm still waiting tables to pay bills- how much less can i make? i wished i had asked her if the wool blazer she wore was from domestic wool or if her blue jeans had been constructed within the US, i bet not. does she go into macy's and lecture the sales clerks about domestic fiber in their products? why does the responsibility fall on my shoulders as a fiber artist?
that's all i have to say to that
more to come from NYC......