Bazaar Bizarre Maker Faire Applications Now Open!

Time to apply for the Bazaar Bizarre Maker Faire 2010!  Now accepting applications through March 16th 2010.

Maker Faire is a two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset. It’s for creative, resourceful people of all ages and backgrounds who like to tinker and love to make things. From a vendor standpoint, this fair is AMAZING.  I make more sales at the Maker Faire than at any other fair ever.  Period.  Also, on load-in day there’s free dinner and a chance to visit everything and meet everyone without the huge crowds.  This is a huge bonus because the exhibits (and rides!) at the Maker Faire are hands-down the coolest you’ll ever see.  Of course, this also makes getting a booth at the Baz Biz Maker Faire extremely competitive, so bring your A-game to this application, folks!

Thing-A-Day 16: An Effing JOB

Like many creative types these days, I’ve had to get a day job.  It’s not that I’m getting fewer projects, it’s just that fewer of them pay much, if anything.  When faced with the choice, I always go for the well-paying projects first, then fill my remaining time with the projects that pay in web traffic, nebulous future sales/commissions or “cred.”  Unfortunately that’s been most of them lately.  I’m pretty good about not taking on jobs that realistically won’t give me much of either.

My new job isn’t bad.  It’s mostly tech-y admin stuff and it changes on a regular basis so it’s not too boring.  I also really like everyone I work with and I can make ends meet by working only 25 hours a week.  Even though it doesn’t sound like much, 25 hours a week will basically eat up four full work days when you add in lunch and commute time, which doesn’t leave much time for creative projects.  It makes me kind of tired and stressed.  Prepare to see this blog get a little crankier.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re all: “this girl is going to completely reneg on her thing-a-day responsibility!”  I did consider it but no, I will continue to make a thing-a-day. BUT, I might not post it every day and the rules may relax closer to their original incarnation. On days like today when I don’t get home until 10:30, I will probably not make something AND photograph it AND post it AND tweet it.  Sorry, but I need to not make myself crazy.  I have enough doing that for me already.

Today I took photos of my yoka in various poses.  Then I accidentally dropped him and the very tips of two of his toenails broke off.  You can’t really tell but it’s enough to bother me so I made replacement toenails tonight.  That’s my thing.  Whatever.  I’m going to bed.

New Show Added to Bazaar Bizarre SF Line Up!

This one’s got a really quick turnaround, so be sure to act quickly if you want to participate.  I for one am thrilled to have the chance to beef up my mid-winter income, which is typically kind of a slow season for me.

Here’s the info:

Bazaar Bizarre San Francisco and Maker Faire

Artist Village Volume 2: Valentine’s Day


Saturday February 13, 2010 from 12pm-8pm

Vendor Applications Now Being Accepted

Continuing our new collaborative series, NEW PEOPLE and BAZAAR BIZARRE SAN FRANCISCO will create another all-day, all-floor vertical art village to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?
Did you know in Japan, it is only the women who give presents to men on Valentine’s Day?  Traditionally chocolates are given to loved ones, friends and colleagues. Whether you’ll celebrate the Eastern or Western tradition…you should come Explore Japanese Pop Culture, cutting edge art, film and gifts at NEW PEOPLE!  Buy a fresh bouquet of flowers, Sample FREE locally made chocolates, groove along with our Local DJ, pop into the FREE photo sticker booth, pick out Handmade Gifts from Bazaar Bizarre artists and stop at the Complimentary gift wrap station to send it off in style!

About NEW PEOPLE
NEW PEOPLE is a 20,000 square foot, striking, contemporary building located at 1746 Post Street in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown (one of only three remaining in the country). The project represents a $15 million investment by Shogakukan, one of the largest publishers of Japan. NEW PEOPLE will become a destination in itself and a source of stimulation for both San Francisco locals and tourists, bringing a new cultural energy to an area filled with history. With three stories above and a basement below, NEW PEOPLE will share Japanese cinema, retail and art, all under one roof!  More Information About NEW PEOPLE Here

NEW PEOPLE
1746 Post St,
San Francisco, CA 94115

[email protected]

Patch Together

Got an idea for the next hot toy?  Put it to the test over at Patch Together.

Here’s how it works: you submit an image of your awesome resin or plush toy design and Patch Together members vote on which designs are worth prototyping.  If your toy gets chosen, it will go up for pre-order in the Patch Together store.  Once it has enough pre-orders (20), your toy will be produced as a limited edition and you share the profits with Patch Together (40% you, 60% PT).

This is a pretty good deal if you consider that average licensing fees max out around 5% for artists and you get to keep the rights to your designs.  If you want to skip the contest part, you can pay PT outright to manufacture your toy.  They’ve also recently started accepting ideas for Flash animations and “products in general.”

“Mason” the vengeful birdhouse by Wickedbird.  Currently available for pre-order.

BUST Craftacular Applications are Up

For all the east coasters out there (or folks who can travel light), BUST magazine’s annual Holiday Craftacular has posted its application page for this year’s NYC show.  The 2009 Craftacular takes place Sunday, December 6th from 10am-7:30 PM.  Their booth fee seems steep, but it looks as though they’ve moved the show from Brooklyn to Chelsea, so it might very well be worth it.

Ponoko Meets Spoonflower

over at Envelop.  The Belgian-based company digitally prints your designs onto fabric.  They make aprons and pillows (and other things) out of it.  They set up the eCommerce web site and do all the selling.  You upload your designs and reap the profits.  Becoming a member is free, but not all designs make the cut.  For tips, see their submission guidelines.

via SwissMiss

Ask Biz Miss: Licensing

I was approached my someone who wanted to talk to me about licensing my work.  I was a little skeptical since I’ve never been approached with an offer like that and I wouldn’t know where to begin to look up the legitimacy of a licensing company.  Would you have any tips or advice for a newby starting out that would be interested in licensing their work?  I would hate to get involved in something that would not be in my best interest or in the interest of my work.

I’ve only ever licensed my work to other small businesses, so I don’t know what kind of situation you’re in, but in general, if someone is asking to license your work in the first place, they’re probably acting in good faith.  Most folks who aren’t will just rip off your designs with poor (or in some cases, even exact) copies and won’t ask you at all.  That said, businesses act in their own best interest and are happy to take advantage of your naivete.

A standard licensing percentage for a small business is 5% of gross sales, and the contract is often exclusive to the particular product for a limited time.  For example, a company might license your design to print on notebook covers.  Your agreement would likely give them an exclusive license to print on notebook covers  for two years (which may also exclude you from doing this if you’re not careful).  Under this agreement, you would still be able print your design on t-shirts, fabric, etc., or license them to someone else who would.  No matter what, you should never sign an agreement until you’ve seen a sample of the product that’s being made with your design.  It’s the only way to make sure you’re associating your work with a quality product.

If you’re looking at a much larger licensing deal with a bigger company, I would suggest hiring a lawyer to help you negotiate a fair contract, at least the first time around.  The Renaissance Business Center here in SF can point you to some free and cheap legal advice.  You can also find a good counselor there.

I can also recommend the book Your Crafts Business by Nolo Press.  Nolo is a do-it-yourself legal publisher.  There’s a whole chapter in there on licensing and the book comes with sample agreements.  Also, this article recently posted on Crafty Chica is helpful.

I hope that any deal you make is both fair and profitable.  Good luck!

Three More Days to Apply for Bazaar Bizarre

This Wednesday, April 1st, is the deadline to apply for the May Bazaar Bizarre, which takes place during the Maker Faire in San Mateo on May 30-31st.  If you make your own wares, and you only have the time/budget to do one craft fair this year, apply for the Bazaar Bizarre.  Not only is it by FAR the least expensive to participate in ($130 for the entire weekend!), they really take care of you, providing dollies, load-in help, and free food and drinks all day long.  They even have volunteers to man your booth while you take a bathroom break or go get lunch!

The spring Bazaar Bizarre is always extremely well-attended.  60,000 people went to last year’s Maker Faire, and I think most of them came through the Bazaar.  Most of the time it was so packed I couldn’t even see the booth across from mine.  Last year it took the organizers a full hour after closing time to get customers to stop shopping and leave.  Having learned from experience, this year’s Bazaar will run two hours longer.

There are only 70 booths available for the Bazaar Bizarre, so competition is pretty stiff — usually two to three vendors vying for each spot.  But the organizers are committed to always reserving a certain percentage of booths for new crafters, so even if you haven’t been accepted before, keep applying.

Epiphanous: Jeffery Rudell

How do you make a living off your art?  That, my friends, is the $50,000 question.  There are the standard models we all know about, but they’re all deeply flawed in the same way: in order to be successful, you need to spend most of your time on non-creative endeavors.

Take the typical gallery model, for example.  Unless you are sponsored by some incredibly well-connected patron, you need to go to graduate school, network like crazy, and then apply for shows, grants and residencies with the hope that you will secure one out of fifty.  All of this while maintaining some sort of day job.  Where is the time after all this to actually make art?

Then, of course, there’s the DIY/self-publishing model.  You can put up your own web site, or sell your art on Etsy, thereby bypassing the need to work within the establishment and their 50% gallery commissions.  But then you need to do your own publicity and promotion, not to mention shipping, web programming, bookkeeping, etc., still while likely maintaining a day job.  This can also often entail churning out dozens of the same (more affordable) product over and over, making you a manufacturer, not an artist.

Lastly, there’s the merchandising model.  Either through licensing images or having items manufactured, you get your designs into the hands of the public through mass-produced items.  This involves many of the same things as the DIY model, only you’re focusing more on sourcing manufacturers or licensors than you are on manufacturing products yourself.

I’ve been using a combination of the DIY and merchandising models for the past few years and while it is satisfying in many ways, it leaves me very little time to do creative work.  I spend most of my day on correspondance, order fulfillment, marketing and bookkeeping.

Then yesterday I read this article on CraftStylish by Jeffery Rudell and I had a revelation: here, finally, is the model for exactly how I want to run my career.  Mr. Rudell crafts for a living, and the actual creative process is what takes up most of his time.  Of course he networks and promotes himself — that’s unavoidable — but essentially he’s a freelance art-producer.  Magazines, stores, TV shows and other media commission him to create specific art pieces for photo shoots, store windows and tutorials, within variously flexible parameters.  This is very much like being a graphic designer (a route he came out of that I have also briefly pursued), but it involves working with your hands on three-dimensional objects much more often than sitting in front of a computer screen.

Okay great, so there’s a guy out there with a career I’m totally jealous of.  What am I supposed to do about it?  Follow all the steps Jeffery Rudell did!  Luckily for me, he’s a storyteller, too, so he couldn’t resist laying out his trajectory step by step:

Step 1: Create a gorgeous and variable portfolio while working a day job for money.  I just read about him yesterday and I’ve already drafted a long list of art-director-friendly projects to work on and I’ve applied for a part-time bookkeeping gig.

Step 2: Introduce your work to valuable contacts by sending them inexpensive, eye-popping “introductions.”  Send similar “thank yous” to existing clients so they don’t forget how awesome you are.

Step 3: Say yes to everything you can do or learn to do within the specified deadline, even if it seems difficult.  By embracing challenges you become a better artist and a more valuable asset.

Step 4: Value your work highly and price it accordingly, always remembering that people are paying you for your ideas in addition to your production hours.

Step 5: Remember that it is your job to communicate ideas, emotions and experiences, not just create a pretty product.  Mr. Rudell calls his promotional introductions “(souvenirs) of the experience people have working with me.”

I don’t really know what to call Jeffery Rudell’s job (prop-maker? production artist?) but I am determined to make it happen for myself.  More on my specific steps in later posts.