Monday, April 7, 2008

Sh#* Happens

I got in last night at 11:45 from a show in Atlanta. And yes, I am back in the shop gearing up for 2 shows this weekend. I'll be in Asheville teaching at a studio called Earthspeak Arts, and Norm and Drew are headed down to Miami to exhibit in the Interweave Beadfest. Life goes on, as usual.

I met up with Barbara McGuire, and talked with her about her new exciting DVD's coming out, and all the workshops she's been doing. She's heading to Ohio this week to do some more work. Barbara is such a classy lady. She's going to be doing more classes here at Expressive Impressions, and at the Down The Street Bead Shows. Rick and Audrey's Down The Street Bead Show is a great little bead show. Rick is a very fair promoter, and we get some really good instructors and great Artists in these shows, if you are ever on the East Coast, you should check out this show.

Now I'm going to spill out my "goat" of the day. If you sign up to take a class with an instructor, you should make an effort to go to that class. This is how we are able to offer good classes and quality instructors. If you don't show up for a class that you have pre-registered for you cause a domino effect. The classes falsely fill up, the instructor over buys materials and tools (out of their own pockets,) and this is how we instructors make our living. Do you stand up the doctor? No, because he charges you anyway. Do you arrive at your job in the morning only to hear,"Oh, we don't have any work for you today, so you're not getting paid." Well, when you don't show up, we don't get paid. We've still paid our rent to the promoters, paid our hotel bills/expenses, and bought all the materials for you to use. Plus we may have given up the date for another show to honor the appointment made for you. And the fact that you registered bumps out a seat for someone that might actually have shown up.

You complain about how expensive the "big" bead show classes are... well this is why! You have to pay in advance, and you are paying a middle man. But we instructors get paid even if you don't show up. Now I hate to take deposits and I don't want people to have to pay deposits, because that's money that quite frankly could be earning you interest in your bank account, or buying this weeks groceries, but this may be what more and more of us will have to do.

All of us instructors are artists first. We don't like the $$$ part of the business, but when it comes down to it, it's the $$$ that count as much as I hate to admitt it. If you want to keep good instructors coming to your local bead shops and attending your local bead shows, start supporting the instructors and artists that exhibit at them. Give them the credit they deserve. Buy the Artists work, don't just copy it. Take a class, don't just watch or interupt by asking enough questions that you think you can figure it out.

I teach over 100 classes a year. But I squeeze in as many classes on my few days off as I can manage. I volunter to teach classes so that I can be compt classes. I assist other instructors so that I can learn from them. It is only April and I have already signed up, paid for, shown up to, and taken 6 classes myself. I am teaching 5 classes in Milwaukee at the Bead and Button Show. On the only day I have off, I am taking a class...and paying full price for it.

Support you artists and instructors or they will disappear.

ok, I'm done. Never mind. I feel better now. I know... I'm preaching to the choir.


Monday, March 31, 2008

I don't have any friends other than family. Everyone in my life is either a family member or is associated with me through our bead business. My father was in the military, so we moved all the time. I have no childhood school buddies. I went to college as an adult. I had a baby and was married, so there was no campus social life. I'm not whinning, I'm just stating the facts. In short...I have no "girl friends." All of my "social" life is business related.

What pre-empted this is that my customers make up my list of "friends." And though they are "customers," I consider them friends. I have one "friend" that I could ask to do anything and she would with out question. She has gone on week long teaching trips with me where there were no air conditioners. She went on a one day teaching trip with me where I had an allergic reaction and she had to drive my car 2 hours home while I basically passed out. I consider her a true friend.

I have 2 children. One is on the threshold of 20, and the other is 4. The 4 year old spends a lot of time with us at the shop. Most of my customers know our children. Our 4 year old, Chase, has had a "lovey" since the day he was born. It's a little blue blanket with a brown dog head sewn in the corner. He and this blanket are inseperable. Well about 3 months ago, he lost it in the parking lot of our shop. We looked every where. We posted reward signs. We went to Target, Walmart, Babies R Us, everywhere. We finally gave up, but Chase did not. Everynight he would bring up the loss of "Sheesh." One night he told my he had a great idea, he was going to ask Santa to bring him Shish back. The next day I was teaching one of my regular students and she asked if we had found Chases lovely. I told her what he had said the night before. She asked my to describe him and show her a picture. This all took place about 2 weeks ago. Well, she walked up to me this weekend at a bead show and asked if I had time to accept a present from her. She pulled out a box. When I opened it, "sheesh" was inside. It was in slightly better shape than the original, but beautiful!!! I started crying and hugging her. This is a TRUE friend. She spent hours on line looking for this stuffed animal. She made a huge difference in my sons life. He has a few questions about why Shish looks "fatter." But he has not let go of him yet. People like Pam are why I love my job. I love the fact that I consider many of my customers friends.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Are horoscopes for real?

For the last couple of days, my horoscopes has sounded right on target with the thoughts that I've been having lately about my work. Is it coincidental, or do we read into them what we want to hear. I just think it's interesting when they seem to be so close to what's going on in your life. I had a student a couple of weeks ago that reads Tarot cards for a living. She wanted to give me a reading when we finished our class, but I said no thank you. All I need is something else to worry about. My husband, Norm, says that I worry about things to worry about. It is kind of nice to live in ignorant bliss to a certain extent. I really don't want to know what my future holds, and I can still remember the past, so why do I need a reading? I was one of those kids at the slumber party that went home when someone brought out the Ouija board. I admit it, I'm a scardy cat. Why tempt fate. But I do enjoy the daily horoscope in the newspaper.

I taught cold connections to a group of 13 women yesterday. Man was I tired. We worked from 9:00-5:00, but it was a lot of fun. I hope to work with some of these energetic ladies again some time.

I was thrilled today to find out that I will be seeing Barbara McGuire next weekend. She and I will both be teaching at The Down The Street Bead Show in Atlanta. Barbara is such a classy lady, I just love her.

Well Norm is sitting at the kitchen table counting out and bagging beads so I'd better go and help him. The fun of owning a bead shop never ends, it's 10:00 p.m., we were at the shop until 8:00 p.m. loading the van for a show this weekend, and now where bagging beads. WeeHaa!

Bead On!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Thanks everyone!

Today was great! Thank you everyone for your warm welcome to the bloggersphere.

I now realize that no one knows how to take a day off. I spent most of yesterday catching up on all my e-mails and getting back in touch with old e-mails that I hadn't heard from in a while or had sent off into the great blue no where quite unintentionally. Well apparently I wasn't the only one because I got more e-mail from real people today than I ever have. Usually I just get my Harbor Frieght Ad, Books-a-Million coupon, and my 3rd week free with NutriSystem e-mails. But not today, boy I heard form everyone. I felt so over whelmed with joy that I almost cried. Thank you everyone.

I had a customer today that told me a story that made me as a shop owner feel pretty good. She said that she had been in one of my competitors stores last week (which I am totally cool with, we are friends) and a lady shopping was looking at a finished piece of jewelry. The lady made the rather rude remark to the sales clerk, "Well... I'm assuming by the price that this is sterling silver!" The clerk politely aswered, "Yes, it is." And went about her business. My friend walked up to her and said, "Hi, I'm a customer here too. Do you make jewelry?" The lady answered, "No." My friend said, "I do. You know it's not all that easy. Do you have a job?" The lady answered, "Yes, I do." My friend said, " Do you get paid?" The lady gave her a strange look and said, "Yes I do." Then my friend said, "They do too."

I think most people forget this. It's not just the components that we put into our finished work, it's our time, creativity, and love that we put into our work. How are we paid for this. By the ever changing price of silver? The amount of time it took to make? It's a question that has many answers and no answers, but it is probably the most frequently asked question that I get from my students.

Bead on buddies,

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I'm New At This, Be Gentle With Me

Well I've gotten this far.

Today is Easter and I made a promise to myself that I would do things today that I have been putting off. I promised a friend of mine (name dropping), Margot Potter a.k.a. The Impatient Beader that I would get with it and start a blog. So here I go.

I wear a lot of hats. I really don't know where I hang said hat. Along with all the family hats, i.e. wife, mother, daughter, friend etc. I am professionally a bead shop owner, instructor, designer, and writer.

I few myself as one of the luckiest people alive because I get to pursue my passion professionally. And not only that, but I am surrounded my my family 24/7 in this profession. My husband, Norm, works with me full time (yes, we still like each other.) My daughter, Nora (20 years old),helps run our shop. Nora's boyfriend,Drew, helps us at our trade shows and in the shop. My ex-sister in law ( long story), Tammy, is our shop manager and web master. Our change of life son , Chase, (4yrs old), is raised by the "village" consisting of all of us including my parents and my mother in law. I said I was the luckiest person in the world, I don't know if the previosly mentioned people share my enthusiasm or not. I often feel that I sucked them all into my personal black hole.

I think of my path to all of this as a beaders epic journey, hey, that sounds like a book title, hint hint. But I have to say, I don't like to limit my self to the title "Beader." This whole life style/hobby is so much more than just beading. We recently had a discussion in our family about what a "master" is, i.e. master silversmith etc. and Drew made the comment that maybe to be considered a master you had to pick one medium and really stick with it. I immediately said, "Then I'll never be a master." I have a passion to do more! That is why I am so drawn to mixed medium. The thought of getting to combine so many exciting mediums is overwhelming. And so many new things keep coming out. Well enough of that soap box. Moving on.

An interesting thing happend in our shop yesterday. A little back ground info here first. Our shop is just undr 4,000 square feet. It is divided into 4 sections. Generally there is staff in 3 of the rooms at all times, but there are times when a room may not be totally under observation. We also have a "make yourself at home" policy. I know that I personally don't like to be smothered by over helpful sales people, so we greet our customers, give them an over view of how our system works if they are new custormers and then turn them loose to enjoy. Well, much to my dimay, we have had to install security cameras. We've been noticing some things missing in the last few months. Getting back to the event of yesterday. We received a anonymous box containing almost $1,000.00 worth of our beads and a note stating that these items belonged to us and were being returned. This note indicated that the sender had an "illness" and was returnig items taken from us. This elicited mixed feelings in me. I was glad the person was trying to come clean and return stolen items. But I also felt betrayed and sad. The items taken appear to be things taken over a long period of time. So this person is most likely a regular customer that we have trusted to shop unaccompanied and at there own leasure. Did they return the beads because they want to do better, or are they afraid they have been caught on camera? Shoud we change our "our customers are our friends" policy and start watching everyone the entire time they are in our shop? Or do we continue with our open door policy and again believe that most people are honest and should be trusted? I would appreciate your input to this?