Did you join us at all last week The State of Making: An Online Summit? We are one week down and have two more to go, starting again this Thursday. Make sure you don't missing a session. You can read all about it here.
With this summit, we are featuring the stories of maker and their years leading up to the summit. Today's post looks at the year for maker and #ahasmember Angela of Wit & Pepper. She took the leap to do bigger shows this year and hear how that paid off.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
A: I'm a part-time metalsmith working in the corporate world. I run Wit & Pepper jewelry out of Seattle, WA in my small home studio. Wit & Pepper pieces are designed and fabricated in collaboration with an outside casting company to produce modern, linear jewelry inspired by architecture and text.
I studied metalsmithing, with an emphasis on lost wax casting and cloisonné enameling, as well as painting from Ball State University in Indiana. I spent a little over a decade in the desert before moving to the Pacific Northwest, happily settling in Seattle where I run Wit & Pepper jewelry out of my small home studio.
Q: Overall, what did the last year look like for you?
A: Last year was an exciting year in which I branched out into my cast design series that I incorporated into earrings, rings, bracelets, pendants. Formerly working purely in assembly, soldering and fabrication from sheet metal, I was really excited to materialize design concepts I had been sitting on. I have a tendency to collect materials and ideas and sit on them. I also participated in some larger shows, really putting myself out there financially and it paid off!
Q: What is the biggest lesson you learned?
A: My biggest lesson this last year was that summer shows are tough, no matter how big the event name. Summers are especially fun in the Pacific Northwest, but with all the festivals/outdoor activities there is a saturation of things to do. Which lead to low attendance as well as customers looking but not shopping.
Q: How are you anticipating and making changes for holiday 2016?
A: I'm ramping up my Holiday show game, applying for the larger shows that I have experience with that have been successful for me. I'm also already starting to think about advertising and holiday sale offers for exclusive Instagram and Facebook followers.
Q: What about your 2015 holiday? Or are the holidays not your “big” season?
A: The holidays are definitely my big season. I participate in at least 2-3 holiday shows from October-December. I spend a considerable amount of my time and energy on photographing and promoting my work online as well as build up my inventory and have a new set of work each holiday season.
Q: What was your proudest moment of the last year as a business owner?
A: I think my proudest moment last year was getting accepted into Renegade Seattle and vending among some of really well-respected and admired artists. I say artists, specifically, because I think it speaks truer to what we do.
While many of us work at our craft, it is the artist's imagination that gives it life. I also feel that Renegade has nourished a really thoughtful family of artists and the followers that appreciate buying directly from them. I've participated in dozens of shows over the years but this was the first that really made me proud.
Q: What is one business tool or product that became invaluable to your business this last year?
A: Access to creditable and cost effective casting companies has been the best tool for me. It really branched out my design capabilities and jump-started a whole new series.
Q: What business tool or product did you decide, “Nah, actually I don’t need to deal with this”?
A: Twitter. Which is great for many people but I thrive in a visual world so Instagram is really my jam. In fact, I figured out how to pull directly from my Facebook page's posts so I don't ever have to go to Twitter. YAY!
Q: Where can people find you online?
A: You can shop directly from me via www.witandpepper.com which will take you to my storenvy shop. I'm also on etsy, www.witandpepper.etsy.com
Instagram: witandpepper <--follow for sales announcements and behind the scenes. I love using #ahasmember in my posts!
Facebook: facebook/witandpepper <--facebook specific year round discount codes
Twitter: I'll be honest I don't really tweet, but you can follow my direct from Facebook feed at twitter/witandpepper
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