As you may, or may not know, I started a new business in August called the Maryland Artisan’s Guild, LLC (aka M.A.G.). So now I am going to make a shameless plug via my blog to make you aware of what I am doing, and maybe, just maybe, get a new client or two.
A number of friends of mine are craftsmen, and a number of them like to sell their work, but they don’t like the “selling” process. I personally don’t care for it either. I would much rather be left alone in my shop (fortress of solitude) and just work. After hearing the same story from so many people, I decided that I should do something about it. Thus the idea of the M.A.G. came to be.
I talked to a good friend of ours, Jill Yesko, to see if she would be interested in working with me to create a business to help me sell my work, sort of like an agent. Well, the idea expanded and we decided that we could represent other craftsmen like myself.
Not long after setting up the business Jill and I found out that we would need help. As an orthodox Jew, I can’t work on Shabbos, and as a Jew, I can’t ask another Jew to work for me on Shabbos. Thankfully, Jill brought Vera Sturm into the business, and now we are looking for another staff member to join to help out with shows.
M.A.G. has two roles, one role is the agency, and the other role is the Artist Co-operative.
M.A.G. acts as an affordable agency for artists/artisans like myself who are not in the big leagues, but need help selling their work and getting their name out in the public. The Agency side of M.A.G. offers three types of services:
- Show Services: We take your work to shows and sell it for you, taking a 20%commission
- Internet Services: We help you sell your work on the internet, taking a 10% commission
- Marketing/ Publicity: We do our best to get your name out to the public via the press media, a website, and social networks.
A big time Agent would normally get 40% to 50% of all your sales and virtually own you. We don’t work that way. To tell you the truth, I could not find anyone who had a business model like ours.
As a co-operative, we can band together and save money when entering shows. We have had success getting into juried shows as a group. The price for entering shows is getting higher and higher, and I don’t know about you, but putting down $500 dollars for a show and only selling $200 worth of goods scares me. Splitting the entrance fee can save you a lot of money.
Right now we have eight clients and three more are applying to join us. We have wood artists, a jeweler, and painters, and we are looking to build our client list even further. I have big plans for M.A.G. When we have more clients, we plan on hosting Gallery shows, and I hope we will become a recognized source of talented artists. I must say, right now, we do have a group of talented artisan’s and I am very proud to represent them.
I did not start M.A.G to make a load of money. I created this business to help me sell my work and get more publicity, but my higher goal is to help out my fellow artisans and bring more beauty to our world. We need more arts in the schools, in the home, and in our communities, so I am hoping that M.A.G. can be a vehicle to make that happen. I want to pay it forward.
If you are interested in learning more about the details of how M.A.G. works, visit our web site at: www.mdartisanguild.com and if you like what we are trying to do go onto FaceBook and search for the Maryland Artisan Guild, LLC and become a friend!