So the good burghers of the Bradford Industrial Museum sent me some flyers to distribute around the place to promote the Steampunk exhibiotion this winter. Can you spot Chris Naylor and Emma Brackenbury? (Check out Emma’s fantastic work here http://www.facebook.com/pages/Emma-Brackenbury-Costume-and-Jewellery/279769800667)
As you can see from the gallery above, I’m fairly well on with the chessboard but had to compromise a little bit. After all the fuss of using the Copper Nitrate to verdigris the brass, it kept flaking off, even when I lacquered it into place. Also the differentiation between the polished brass and the verdigris was just not dramatic enough under halogen so I swapped over to using green Hammerite paint instead. I still don’t understand how you can paint this stuff on smooth and have it then dry with it’s dimpled, beaten effect.
I will have it finished by December 10th which is the start date of the exhibition and they have kindly allowed me to sell me baubles in their gift shop for the duration of the exhibition. I put my expenses so far at about £350 for the completed chessboard but it will remain my property for future use or sale. Steampunk is still a cheaper hobby than say…Formula 1 or owning a racehorse.
You might have noticed that we have closed the webshop. I think it is fair to say that it is not the easiest way to sell jewellery, no matter how good the website. My business partner happens to work for the company that provides e-shop solutions so we were able to get the website for nothing….the option we had would have cost £90 a month so for the year that we operated it, the costs would have exceeded the £1000 mark.
So, how did I do on the website? I sold 4 items grossing less than £100. People on Etsy can do better because there is a hardcore collection of Steampunks on there who are the core market. Even the most talented jewellery maker I know has only sold 44 items in 3 years.
Craft fairs are a much better bet, I think jewellery is an impulse buy for so many women and so you have to be there in front of them but not leaning over them while they choose something. This is the main reason why I had the range of Colonel Fizziwiggs Steampunk blasters at Whitby to distract the blokes from dragging his missus away from the shiny stuff.
Paypal has also been a fantastic tool for small craft fairs, particularly where there is no cashpoint nearby. The customer can log on using my iPad and transfer the cash across there and then, you can also agree who pays the fee. If you are in the crafty business, make sure you offer this option, so you need either an iphone or an Android phone and the app is free. I do roughly 10% – 20% of my sales this way.
Whitby was great fun this year but having the event split into two separate weekends was a real pain in the arse. Although I took about 40% more cash than last year, you still have two lots of stall fees and be available for 6 days instead of 3 so it balanced out really. Here are some of the photos: