I was at a Memorial Day picnic talking about my new arts and crafts design line when someone asked me what had happened to the old 'new' design line. I had started a new aspect of my arts and crafts business last summer and decided to put it on hold this year in January.
The reason for this was simply that I enjoyed coming up with the name, tag line and design sketches. I just didn't like fabricating the product. Hey, it happens.
Remaining Flexible in Your Arts and Crafts Business Ideals
I spent about four months working my way through various prototypes and just finally came to the conclusion that this was not something I was going to enjoy doing long-term. No matter what amount of time is put into a design line, it's important to remember that flexibility is key. You have to learn when it is time to cut your losses and move on.
However, I have come to realize in the fullness of time that everything is a learning experience so I don't regret the time I spent on the now abandoned business model. I still think this business model could be something I want to pursue in the future, but using a different method and maybe as more limited production line.
Brainstorming With Other Artists and Crafters
Had I bounced the idea of my new business model off another crafter, I probably would have come to the no-go conclusion (or maybe even a feasible modification) a lot earlier in the process. As being an artist or crafter can be a mostly solitary pursuit, you may find it helpful to hook up with other artists and crafters in your area to bounce ideas off each other.
I think this would be most beneficial if you had a good range of artists/crafters in the mix. This way you'd get perspective outside the norm for your particular area of art or craft.
Some artists and crafters are reluctance to talk about their designs or ideas because they are afraid of knockoffs. While a risk, remember that you have specialized knowledge about the design that gives you the edge.
Finding Art and Crafts Support Groups
My local newspaper lists all local group meetings weekly. If yours does as well, see if one of the groups looks interesting. You can also do a web search using a key phrase such as 'arts and crafts guilds'. I did so for Atlanta and found this guide to artists and crafters in the Atlanta area (a city I am not familiar with). While most of the entries were for galleries, it was a place to start. I refined my search somewhat and found this great list of craft support meetups in the Atlanta area.
If you attend a few meetings of any arts or crafts guide and find it's not a good fit or the members are too clicky - start your own! Find resources in your area, such as your public library, that will let you meet in a conference room at no charge.
Just make sure that you are selective about sharing any personal details with participants in your group until you get to know them. My church requires criminal backround checks for any new members wanting to join a group, regardless of how long the person has been a parishioner.
Plus, meeting with other artists and crafters may give you a good source from which to pick to organize a holiday cooperative craft show or pop-up shop. I've written a few articles about both cooperative craft shows and pop-up shops: