What Can We Control?
We have been more or less quarantined for months now. Times are stressful and uncertain for everybody, but for different reasons. In talking to several glass artists over the past few months, I wanted to share what I have gathered in a general sense. I also want to encourage you to let me know what obstacles you are facing in your business by leaving a comment below this post. I will try to address them in future posts. On the other end of the spectrum, what positives are you taking advantage of during this time? Maybe we can expand on them in the future as well.
I have learned that glass artists don’t give up. Whether it was the environmental crisis a few years ago or the virus today, glass artists rally and don’t give up. Glass artists are resourceful and creative, not just in glass, but in business.
Compartmentalize what you can and can’t control. After the initial shock and awe of the severity of this virus earlier this year, glass artists have adapted in many ways. We know for a fact that we can’t control this virus, but the time is coming. When that time comes and we begin to get back to “normal”, will you be ready?
Some things we can all do now are build inventory, learn new techniques to offer new glass art to our existing clients, spend time updating and filling our websites and social media with pieces we have made and stay in contact with our current and past clients.
Creating inventory is a great way to use your time productively now and be ready for the holidays. Now, nobody knows what the world holds five months from now, but we can be ready. If art shows get cancelled, have a back up plan. Make sure your website and social media is as current as possible. Plan a socially distant exhibit of your own or with another like small business to build off of each others clientele. Obviously big crowds are not ideal these days, so plan accordingly. Maybe instead of doing one big show, you can do two or three smaller shows and make them more intimate. Do them outside if possible, under a tent like you are at an art show (if you are in a cooperative climate) or in your garage. Be sure to convey to your clients that you are taking the necessary steps to make your gathering safe so they feel comfortable coming. If you aren’t in a position to do a live, in person show, do a live online show. There are many options when doing this. Zoom and Facebook live are two very popular avenues artists are using to communicate with their clients these days and they both make it possible to host a live event online. Again, pair up with another like small business to make the event more diverse. Where there is will, there is a way.
Keep your past clients updated with what you are doing and working on. Another common thread among glass artists is many are learning new techniques in order to be able to offer their clients something they haven’t seen before. Letting your supporters know that you are working for and thinking about them goes a long way to building a strong relationship. Let them know that you have adapted and are working through these challenges. Buyers like to support people and businesses that show dedication and will. The fused glass industry is full of people like that.
Lastly, HANG IN THERE! You are facing challenges, we are facing challenges, everyone is facing challenges these days. Take a step back and realize what we can control and what we can’t. Focus on that which we can control, the other stuff is going to happen regardless. The last thing I will leave you with...Many of the artists I spoke with shared that when they feel overwhelmed or helpless, they call a family member or a friend to get balanced. Often times we can fill our heads with negative thoughts and it seems like we will never get going again. Don’t do this. When you start to feel overwhelmed, phone a friend or reach out to a family member. Chances are they are feeling the same way and could use someone to talk to themselves. Talking it out and sharing experiences can go a long way to getting us back on track and being productive.
We got this glass artists! Please feel free to leave a comment about challenges and successes you are having now. I will continue to research and share with all of you.