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Does Anyone Make A Living From Beading?

Q: What do you call making a living? I'm not being a wise-guy, but I think that different people have different ideas of what is enough to live on.

A: I have been making some kind of jewelry for over 30 years. In the last 5 years, my sister and I turned to beadwork. It's true, everyone has their own opinion of what is enough to live on. We have been trying to divest ourselves of our "day jobs" for about a year now, and have done small and large craft/gift shops and sell to stores, primarily galleries and we are hopeful that if our soon-to-be up website and my sister's instruction book on beadwork "makes it" that we will be blissfully employment-free sometime this year. You need to have good stuff, it has to be well produced, nicely presented, and you have to do a lot of networking. We make mainly amulet purses. My sister has developed new techniques that will be revealed when her instructions come out. We got gypped out of our Xmas business by a shady website maker, but we go on... we do make money, but our first concern is quality always... Hang in there! I certainly hope they do! I am starting my 3rd career in gemstone, bead, etc., jewelry - the kinds of things I like to wear but usually cannot find. The shows have been great, but there haven't been enough of them - we started too late in the year (when I got "eliminated" from the "real" job world - wonderful!) so missed many deadlines. So far, the results on the web have been puny (still trying to get listed well in search engines, etc.). I have been thinking about sharing the site with other bead/jewelry crafters, so that customers have a true assortment of styles & materials in one spot to choose from. I have not given it huge amounts of thought yet, but commentary on what we make leads me to believe that there's enough of a demand for other styles & there's no reason for customers to have to go elsewhere to find that. Any input on shared sites? Anyone interested? Anyone know of problems (there have to be some I haven't considered)? Here goes a whole new thread! Yes, I do, but then I've been working at it for many years... I have designed and made jewelry out of beads since the days when galleries just thought anything made with beads was out of the question. Those same galeries are now very glad to see what a draw we are. Now that I'm a lampworker and sell on 'eBay' (KD-W on 'eBay' home page search). Life is a lot more peaceful. I work hard, but do not do so many shows. It really helps to put some effort into packaging and giving buyers information about your work, and by the way, don't worry if your work does not sell immediately on the internet auctions. If your work is good, even if it takes a few weeks, people will look for you and then, if when they get the pieces, they are more beautiful in the hand than in photographs,.. ie, the holes are centered, etc., and they find that incorporating your beads in their work helps their own sales, you will find yourself with regular buyers. You will grow those relationships and everyone will have good fortune. I find myself turning down most requests for special orders because the sheer fun of putting pieces up to auction where you can get several bids on your pieces, upping the original prices, is stimulating...