Thursday, June 24, 2010

Herding Cats (or Pushing String)

There are times when being a weaver as a profession feels a whole lot like herding cats - or pushing string.

Well, truth be told, pulling string works a whole lot better than trying to push it, but there are days.......... :}

I've been thinking a lot about aspects of being in the business of making and selling textiles, partly because of my health issues and partly because Mizz B has voiced her desire to make and sell textiles.

So I sat Mizz B down last night and we had a chat about some of the realities of being in business.

The first thing I asked her is what her focus was going to be.

"My focus?" she pondered as her eyes unfocused (the better to see the future perhaps?)

I pointed out that many people make the mistake of thinking that what they are selling is textiles when what we are really selling is our creativity, our design esthetic, and our skills.

Anyone can weave if they really want to. Not everyone has the ability to come up with original designs and create those. Many people recognize that they don't have the time or skills to make original things but do have the disposable income to pay for the talents of someone else to provide them with unique things in their home or office environment.

I suggested that since she was already very in to re-cycling, re-using, and re-purposing that she should consider marketing her textiles with that slant. I suggested that a good first product might be rugs, in particular rep weave mats. I made dozens of these mats when I first started out and they were fun. You can do a lot of patterning with four shafts just by changing your treadling, and the thick weft could be made from rags.

We talked about markets and the fact that the village she was going to be living in was not going to be her primary market. Even the town I live in isn't big enough to support me - I sell way more of my textiles in metropolitan centres. But likewise I save a lot of money by living in a smaller town where living costs are much lower.

We talked about the mechanics of being in business - logos, hang tags, business chequing accounts, loans to purchase equipment - because being a weaver means there are a whole lot of 'lean' income months where things have be be bought in order to make product long before a sale where income might start coming in, happen.

And it never hurts for a single woman to have her very own credit rating, separate from her partner, if she has one of those. :)

While we only scratched the surface of what she will need to know, I learned most of these things by doing. And I'm confident that she will, too.

The good news is that we have agreed that she can keep fringe twisting since she'll be coming back to town several times over the summer. Yay! And who knows - she may move back?

1 comment:

Gail V said...

Interesting to hear your thoughts on the business of creativity.