Tuesday, January 6, 2009

looking BACK so I can look AHEAD...2008 to 2009

I feel like I walked through 2008 in a fog. It was a personal year of sorrowful lows and wonderful highs...and a business year of significant achievement and constant self-doubt. I have been wondering what happened to 2008 and what are my expectations for 2009. Luckily, I recently discovered Alyson Stanfield's Art Marketing Action Newsletter and her annual "Acknowledge Yourself and Celebrate" checklist via Margaux Lange's blog. As Margaux said in her post, "It's easy to forget sometimes how much we accomplish over the course of a year....Try answering these questions for yourself as a way to feel inspired about your progress before moving on to writing your goal lists for 2009." So I did just that!

How did you promote your art and your online presence?
I really concentrated on creating an online presence this year...
  • opened my Etsy shop
  • started my blog
  • occasional contributing author on the Etsymetal blog
  • opened a flickr account
  • was accepted onto trunkt
  • invited member on Handmade Contemporary Jewellery
  • joined facebook, crafthaus and twitter
  • launched my new website (still working on some glitches)
  • mailed postcards to craft show retail customers, informing them about my new website, Etsy shop & blog.
  • answered a few blog interviews
  • upgraded my lup rocks designer account (this happened at the very end of the year...but it still was 2008!)
I also did my usual print advertising plus some new ads...
  • advertised in NICHE magazine and the Buyers' Market of American Craft's show guide
  • participated in co-op advertisement in American Craft magazine (with 9 other artists)
  • participated in co-op advertisement (for Etsy) in BUST magazine
  • participated in co-op advertisement in American Style magazine (with 3 of my galleries)
  • participated in co-op advertisement in New York magazine (with CBL Fine Art)
What technological skills did you learn or improve?
  • blogging / a tiny bit of html
  • refined my digital photography and Photoshop skills
How many people did you add to your mailing list?
  • I added both retail & wholesale customers to my mail list...but I no idea how many.
Who were the top ten cool or influential people you met?
  • Frank Stankus of the Jeweler's Resource Bureau (via emails)
  • Brian Clarke : amazing master silversmith (via smithing workshop in Ireland)
  • Steve Midget : mokume gane jeweler extraordinaire (via Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry Show)
  • several members of the Etsymetal team : always supportive, challenging and an invaluable resource for knowledge and inspiration!!!
Whom did you mentor or help out?
  • I helped Alyson1234 and many others on Etsy with wholesaling issues, resources, etc.
Did you create a new business card, portfolio, or other marketing piece?
  • utilized new logo (which was designed 11/2007) on business checks, address labels, invoices & letterhead
  • developed a tagline
  • logo promo stickers (for jewelry boxes, envelopes, etc.)
  • stock # labels w/ logo (for wholesale orders)
  • postcards ( as mentioned above)
What medium or skill did you attempt or master?
  • sinking & crimp raising
What did you try that was completely new?
  • crimp raising
What did you try that was uncomfortable, but helped you grow?
  • opened an Etsy shop (I was concerned that my work would not fit in and that my wholesale customers would not be happy that I was selling online)
What worthy cause did you support in some way?
  • several small monetary donations to various charities
What new art events, galleries, and museums did you visit?
  • National Museum of Ireland (the Archaeology & Decorative Arts sections)
  • The Georgia Museum of Art (The Ring Shows: Then & Now and Putting the Band Back Together)
What resources did you discover?
  • Gem Show in Asheville, NC & several suppliers that were exhibiting there
  • I also discovered many resources that I haven't used yet, such as ponoko...

How did you improve your studio habits?
  • didn't
What books did you read to help your career? What videos or films were useful?
What seminars/workshops/lectures did you attend or teach?
How did you enhance your office or studio environment?
  • didn't
What organizations were you involved with?
  • Etsymetal !!!!
  • ACC (membership only - no active participation)
  • Southern Highland Craft Guild (membership only - no active participation)
What grants/honors/awards did you receive?
  • 2008 NICHE Awards Finalist (in 2 catagories)
What articles were written about your work?
  • INDESIGN magazine, “neck and neck” July 2008
  • INSTORE magazine, “men’s jewelry” June 2008
  • NICHE magazine ,“Sparkle, Dazzle and Shine” Spring 2008
  • Jewelry Resource Bureau website, "What Works: Selling Your Goods on the Etsy Craft Site" written by Frank Stankus
  • and several blog nods....
What exhibits, grants, contest, etc. did you submit your art to?
  • NICHE Awards
  • Saul Bell Design Awards
Where did you save a wad of money?
  • I cut back on hired help (regular employees and sub-contractors). For the first time in 7 years, I had only a few weeks of hired help . This was a good and a bad thing...
What was the single best thing that happened to your art career in 2008?
  • I opened my Etsy shop! As I said eariler, I was worried and doubtful about Etsy. However, it ended up benefiting my career in many ways:
  1. I sold well above my goal on Etsy
  2. I received a few engagement ring / wedding band commissions through Etsy
  3. I gained a great wholesale account through Etsy
  4. I discovered and was accepted into Etsymetal (an invaluable resource of information, inspiration and friendship)
  5. learned about blogging, trunkt, flickr, twitter and crafthaus; all via Etsy or Etsymetal
  6. I was interviewed by Frank Stankus of the Jewelry Resource Bureau about my experiences with Etsy


Ashley said...

Thanks for sharing your accomplishments Danielle, you are always an inspiration. Also, thanks for sharing those blog links, some great ones that I didn't know about.

Valerie A. Heck Esmont said...

I will have to try listing my accomplishments out too, that's a great idea. I'm always beating myself up for not working on things every waking breathe. (Therapy has taught me to take breaks and relax. Still trying to get better at that without feeling guilty.) Thanks Danielle!
You got a lot accomplished this year!

Kim Caro said...

i dont really have "goals" i go with the flow... i mean i have goals in life which dont change but i switch back n forth with things but never give up on the things or ppl i love..

Unknown said...

Your jewelry is awesome! I really love the contemporary look. It is very different from the work I do.

danielle embry said...

Impressive! ... and inspiring. I think I'll be keeping better track of my accomplishments now. It's amazing all you were able to get done in a year. Keep it up!

-beautiful work, btw.

Anonymous said...

Its definitely about time I concentrated on my accomplishments instead of all those things I wish I had done. Thank you :)

Robert Wallis said...

You were buzy in 2008!

Thanks for the mention Danielle.
Hopefully 2009 will be the year when people start to "get the idea behind the HCJ Project", giving artists more time at the bench!

If you want a tip for 2009 I would recomend Google Friend connect. Which is basically a "bolt-on" social aspect for your site: but more than that, as people carry the same profile across the web with them.
You can impliment it easily here on blogger, but I would recomend that you make your domain the base URL and then add the blog as an additional URL, as that gives you more control over the canvas (full page view).
You can see Google Friend connect implimented on the HCJ Project. If you don't "get it" or need help adding it then just ask.