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Topic: [ careers in craft. ]  (Read 2131 times)
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xfoxglove
« on: April 11, 2007 07:50:26 PM »

so I don't know if this is really the best place for this or anything, but here goes...

I'm finishing up my first year in college and I'm still undeclared.  I don't know much about what I want to do with my life except that I want crafting to be a part of it, a big part of it.  I know I want to get a degree and all that, but that's pretty much it.  I'm in Philadelphia for school and there are so many opportunities that it's overwhelming!  (and a bit tempting to play it safe and go for a more conventional sort of internship or job.)

anyway!  that's just me.  I guess what I was really wondering is...

how did you all get to where you are now?  or how do you plan on getting to where you want to be?  what are your aspirations?  if I want to be crafty and make it a part of my career am I limited to just selling things?  can a person work their love of crafting into a more stable nine-to-five sort of job, without it being just something like crochet on your lunch hour?  (not that that's bad in any way.  in fact, I'd love to know about your jobs even if they aren't crafty!)   

so if any of you had any ideas or stories to share, I'd love to get a discussion started. 

I don't know how well this will go over, but I hope some people have things to say!

<3

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april_cocaine
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2007 01:30:36 PM »

well - here's my life story!

I've always loved making things, and I decided on doing a 2 year HND (that's 2 thirds of a degree in the UK) when I was 18. I took Textiles with Fashion, which also inlcuded courses on business planning, photography, fine art and loads more stuff.
I really enjoyed my two years, and I learnt an awful lot about how hard you have to work to get where you want to be.
I opened my business officially last year, and I now spend upwards of 6 hours a day crafting. I'm really loving being my own boss, it's very liberating! Of course, it's also very lonely and stressful at times.

I know that building a business up can take years, and I certainly won't be raking in the money for a few good years.
I'm hoping to have my own studio within the next 5 years, and maybe even take on some employees of my own.
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xfoxglove
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2007 01:49:10 PM »

Yay.  Thanks for the reply.  I applaud anyone who goes to school for what they actually love.  So, kudos to you.  I know a lot of people going for something they aren't passionate about, just for the money.

That program you were in sounds great, having courses dealing with the business aspect of things, too.

I also took a look at your website and I like your things alot!
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2007 02:03:04 PM »

Well, it seems like you have several different questions. First choosing a major. I think it is great that you spent your first year undeclared I think too many people "know" what they want to do, but then start to do it and realize that they actually hate it. You have a head start on them. What classes did you take? What classes did you love? Why? What are your interests? Besides crafts what do you like to do? What crafts do you like and why/what part of them? If you do want to have a crafty business then you should think about taking business classes. If you like writing you should take some journalism classes with the idea of someday working at some sort of magazine. Like computers, take computer classes.

For me, and I only know what I know the obvious "crafty" majors are art, theater and teaching. You can do anything if you like to teach and work with any age from little kids to seniors. You have to think about what you want in a job, if you want security and a 9-5 schedule you have different options than if you like the freedom of having short lived jobs or spurts of working and looking for the next job. I work in theater and the technical aspects of theater are very crafty and offer a more stable schedule and are in demand, especially if you like the real technical aspects of carpentry, scenic painting, costuming, props.

Lastly, I have watched someone and their feelings towards work grow and develop. Starting with "the only way I can be happy is if I 'do what I love'" but were afraid to make the jump of going from a steady job, to completely starting over with no guarantee of earning that steady paycheck. Then coming to the realization that sometimes your job is your job and your hobby is your hobby. You may have to work to live, but you can live to do what you love. I have found this to be true, I make costumes all day and I do love to make patterns and sew, but because it is my job I don't have the urge to come home and sew things for fun. I have lost the ability to have sewing as a hobby, I am not saying that I regret anything, it just totally changed (for me) the way I look at what I do. On the same token, I consider knitting my hobby, I knit when I am stressed, bored, angry, but I wouldn't want to have to do it. 
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2007 02:32:23 PM »

I work with a lot of therapists (not the same I know) have never taken any business classes, and that is why they work for a non-profit instead of doing private practice.  It is hard for people who go into business for themselves but don't have the tools they need to succeed at it.  I think people often make that mistake (not that i am advocating a business career) and go into business for themselves and don't know about accounting pracitces, marketing, and a lot of the concepts that a business owner needs to understand to have a successful business.  That is just my two cents, and I wish you luck!
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xfoxglove
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2007 02:58:59 PM »

Wow.  Thanks for the replies.  I'd love for more people to keep commenting though, so we can keep a discussion going for anyone who wants to talk about any of this!

Anyway!  I've taken a lot of classes that fill core curriculum, but also explore my interests.  I realize that while psychology is interesting, I could never do the research.  I was thinking anthropology at one point, but I might be leaning towards something where I could work in a museum or do events.  My university has a school of hospitality and tourism, so I'm toying around with that idea, thinking I could be creative in that aspect.  I know Philadelphia has a fabric museum and workshop, which seems amazing, but I think I'd need a degree in art history, something I'm not sure I want to take because it might limit me in the longrun.

& that's a great point about loosing your interest in your hobby.  Or at least, it becoming more stressful. 


Pheather, I think business classes are really helpful for anyone.  My uncle runs his own business and I did a little work for him over the summer, so I know firsthand how much work there is! 
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SnowfallDesigns
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2007 09:36:03 PM »

I am currently working on my masters in social work and have a bachelors in social work as well.  My first major was Textile and Apparel Management which I switched from because it was too much fashion and not enough construction for me.  I had originally wanted to do theatre costuming, but then I decided that I wasn't willing to move to a city to get a job (small town girl here!).  Then I switched to Family and Consumer Science Education because I like kids and thought I could still do something creative.  Well, my school decided to phase out the program so I switched to Art Education.  I stayed in that for a semester and finally decided on social work. 
So...in my masters program I have a choice to take either a clinical track or a policy, planning, and administration (PP&A) track.  I have chosen PP&A because I felt that I got enough clinical education in my BSW and I wanted to learn the administrative part.  So, because of the classes I am taking, I will be able to develop and run my own non-for-profit.
I, too am stuck in between a normal 9-5 job and wanting to focus on my design company.  I really don't have much time right now to sew between classes and working.  I basically make things for myself and have made some things for friends.  I do some costuming for a community theatre but it is on a vounteer basis.  I would like to sell a few pieces and maybe some of my photography but I'm not sure how to go about doing that - is eBay easy to work with and is it worth it if I am only selling a few things??  I have a network of women that I could get involved with who sell clothing at street fairs and such but I am honestly a bit intimidated by them!
« Last Edit: April 15, 2007 09:37:50 PM by SnowfallDesigns » THIS ROCKS   Logged

xfoxglove
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2007 11:16:09 AM »

I can't give you any advice for selling on eBay, but I took a look at a few of your things.  I love the tie-front birdy shirt and, considering how well-made it is, I don't think you should be intimidated one bit.  I also really like the spring dress that you made.

Maybe you could make a few pieces and go to one of the fairs and see how well your things do.  Maybe you could look into etsy, too.  It doesn't hurt to try and I think your designs are great.
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2007 02:33:20 PM »

- is eBay easy to work with and is it worth it if I am only selling a few things?? 

Ebay is easy to use but it won't be worth your while, most likely.  Try etsy.

Check out this thread: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=2972.0
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SnowfallDesigns
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2007 04:25:50 PM »

Thanks you all are awesome!!
One of the big problems I have is that I can't get the money out of my products that I would like to charge...especially around my hometown!  That is why I'd like to sell on the internet.  I have to knock down prices considerably because I live where most people won't spend more than $40 on a piece of clothing unless it's for a wedding or prom!  Not to mention that my friends and family expect me to make them things as a favor and I end up only charging them for materials....
« Last Edit: April 16, 2007 04:32:46 PM by SnowfallDesigns » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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