Handmade Artists' Blog


Preparing Artists for Full Time Success

Handmade Show RoomThis year, I have witnessed an incredible transformation taking place. I’m talking about artists and craftspeople taking the leap from “wannabes” to becoming serious businesspeople able to compete and thrive in the handmade marketplace.

Here is how that happens.

I’m the Director at The Arts Business Institute, a nonprofit with the mission of providing practical business education for creative entrepreneurs who want to sell their art or craft. We also offer individualized support to back you up. It’s what we’ve been doing for sixteen years.

Making a Commitment to Your own Creative Business

For the past year, I’ve worked closely with a group of artists taking that step to a higher level. Each one of them now has a strong dynamic website, an understanding of the business, a marketing plan in place, and a booth space at the top handmade wholesale trade show. They are opening gallery accounts, and orders for their work are coming in. They are poised for success and ready to join the higher echelon in the handmade industry.

They have a strong body of work. They are committed to a regular studio practice. They are fiercely proud of their vision and their line and they are ready to do the hard work of building their small businesses.

Is that you, too? Are you ready to take a big step in your creative business?

The Learning Environment

Arts Business Intsitute Winter WorkshopThe Arts Business Institute conducts in-person workshops, and provides e-courses and information on business topics. We offer personalized mentoring for artists who are very serious about their work, and are ready to make a strong commitment.

Our signature Winter Workshop, taking place concurrently with the Buyer’s Market of American Craft on February 16-17, 2013, will be an immersive experience for artists and craftspeople.

One of the most basic building blocks in creating a serious business is learning how to sell your work wholesale.

Nationally known speakers and experts present the “Business of Handmade” in an understandable and practical way. We teach Wholesale 101, Designing a Product Line, Creative Marketing for Artists, Dynamic Sales Skills, Pricing for Profit, Building Gallery Relationships and more.

Meeting the Exhibitors

Handmade Jewelry Booth ExhibitReal full-time working artists, exhibiting their work at the Buyers Market , speak to our attendees, with a Q&A session on the realities of designing, marketing, selling and growing their business. This is a very popular part of the workshop experience.

A tour of trade show floor puts it all up close and personal. The Buyers Market is closed to the public, but open to you as a workshop attendee. This is where serious business is done. Buyers from galleries, museum shops, major catalogs, boutiques and other retailers come to find wonderful new handmade products. See how it’s done. Take a look at the lines, the displays, and the professional atmosphere.

That All-Important Critique

Our workshop weekend offers optional personalized critiques to all attendees. Gallery buyers and ABI faculty take a look at your work. They give written feedback based on where you are, right now.

Artists want to know:

  • Is my work ready to sell at wholesale? Is my collection cohesive enough, and does it make a statement? Can I compete?
  • Are my prices appropriate? Will wholesale buyers be attracted? Am I able to make a profit when I wholesale my work?
  • What do I need to improve my designs, my presentation and my chances of success?

Carolyn EdlundThe Winter Workshop isn’t for everyone. It’s not for hobbyists, or people who cannot commit to their own business. It’s for people who want to become part of an elite group selling to retailers who present their art or craft, and their creative vision, to the public.

Carolyn Edlund ran a successful production studio for over twenty years. She is now a business consultant for artists, and the Executive Director of The Arts Business Institute. You can also find Carolyn’s writings on The Artsy Shark, a wonderful blog full of tips, tricks, and incites to the handmade world!

Images permission Buyers Market and Arts Business Institute

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