Taking the plunge
If you are an Artist wishing to survive without having to take a 9 to 5 or part-time job, you must be prepared to suffer some hardships and sacrifices, but I can assure you the rewards are more than worth it.
It is extremely difficult for an artist to survive selling just pure art, whether you are a painter, sculptor, weaver or whatever discipline. Be prepared to supplement your income producing quality fine craft, or you may have to take part-time jobs.
Do not be fooled by the pure art galleries you may encounter. Chances are they have undergone years of struggle before reaching stable and economically viable position, or a wealthy benevolent husband, wife, close friend or organization supports them.
Don’t be afraid to take the plunge, try to open your own small gallery. Look for an affordable rental space in a busy tourist shopping area, or an old abandoned distinguished historic building you can decorate and promote.
I am assuming you have already developed a small customer base, ash your friends, family and established customers to spread the word. Approach your local media to announce your opening and try to engage
Arrange as many local interviews as possible, along with some fliers you and your friends can produce and distribute
Do not Underestimate the power of Internet marketing; this offers you billions of people from all over the world as your market.
If this is new to you, then learning is not a problem, Just click on the advert in the side bar and get started. Consult with someone who is an expert for additional help to speed up the learning process.
Drawing up a business plan
Business plan is vital for the success of you operation.
Things to consider.
1. Setting up a bank account.
2. Can you afford to hire an employee, If the thought is very daunting, organize a time table when you can manage the business during the optimum business hours; I have operated a retail space where late afternoon and early evenings were the best opening hours; restaurants and entertainment bars were frequented by tourists and locals during the chosen hours. This allowed me to produce for at least four to five hours a day.
Currently during the slow season, the gallery is opened from 9 am until 1 pm. the opening hours are prominently displayed on the entrance door. This enables me to produce for another four to five hours a day; and avoiding having to hire staff.
Strict stock control should be organized, whether you are managing the operation and more so if you are employing a sales staff; this allows you to monitor whether you are losing stock due to theft or dishonesty. Do not clutter your displays; this not only gives your stock quality appearance but it also allows you to monitor sales activity. you may even take photos of your displays, in case you ever had to confirm any queries.
When I started my gallery there were no cell phones for easy capture and storage of photos, but every week I would monitor a particular shelf display, I was able to recognize when an item was sold or missing. If you have been reading my posts, you would have read of an incident where this practice lad to the dismissal of an employee, luckily for me the customer brought the item back to ask for an exchange, the employee had denied selling the item.
If your budget will accommodate, install a security system with an alarm in case of burglary and a camera or two to monitor activity, the entrance door and the cash station are your first choices; with today’s systems you can even monitor the space from the comfort of your home.
Testing an employee
As a businessman I have learn to “Trust No One”it sounds terrible but you have to face reality, I have employed many workers but there were only 3 that I felt comfortable with; and one of them led me to that slogan-trust no one.
One of the most honest if not the most honest person I have ever met was a young lady who worked in the ceramic workshop, but did house keeping for me on weekends and holidays; I may have told this story before, but I feel compelled to repeat it in this context.
Sometimes when I went shopping and was in a hurry, I would slip the change in my pocket and forget to retrieve it before giving the young lady the clothes to wash, but the change was safe, she would always rest it on a table with a note. One day the young lady approached me with a surprise message” Mr. Devonish please search your pockets before you give me your clothes to wash, I am having some financial difficulties and I don’t know if I have the strength to resist taking any change I find”
Tears still comes to my eyes when I recount this story; my response was “I will try to search my pockets; but from now on if you find any change you have my permission to take it”That lady worked with me for over 15 years until I immigrated to another Island, worked in sales, ceramic production, and house keeping.
Because of that experience a plan was devised to test all sale employees. Employees were told to always report whether cash was not reconciled at the end of the day, whether it was over or under; if it was under they were responsible and if it was over still report it because it may turn up during stock taking.
They were not only told but the system would be tested at certain periods; Extra money would be slipped secretly into the cash register for at least 3 times for an employee; If the extra money was not reported after the third time the employee was dismissed sometimes with a different excuse.
The Banks and credit card companies had done businesses a great service by not displaying the full number on receipts as was the custom in the past. Only once did I experience credit card theft, the customer did not shop at my establishment but the credit card number was used in my establishment to make a purchase.
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