6 years ago, I went down to part time from a steady full time job, so I could put more time and energy into selling beads to jewelry designers. If you had asked me then what my plan was it would have been to sell only beads on Etsy and a few bead shows per year. 

At the time, that was enough for me as an artist and it pulled in enough income for me to be reasonably comfortable. 

Things have changed a bit since then. I still love beads and creating them, but I want to do more. I'm still creating new designs, but I'm very much feeling limited by working with practical bead sizes and being realistic about what price points work for sell-able jewelry.

A little over a year ago, I started working on focal beads that really are not practical to create jewelry with and are more intended as display pieces, but that scratched my itch for pushing my own limits in what I could do using stringer.

Do they sell particularly well? Well a $150-$200 bead can be a tough sell, but they do slowly move and I get to make more of them. Again being realistic, there just are not that many people who collect beads (I do though!).

The next step was for me is to make this for a different market. So I started making marbles. There is a decent sized community of folks who collect glass marbles. It also helped me to discover that I really enjoyed working off mandrel. So, I started using bead techniques and making soft glass marbles with them.

Upon discovering how much I enjoyed working off mandrel, the next logical step was to create cabochons to be set using copper electroforming. So now, I have these awesome jewelry pieces that are totally different from what my jewelry designer customers create and I can still really push my limits when it comes to what I can create using glass stringer.

So now, here I am with three different types of items with different buyers all made using my skills with glass stringer. My biggest challenge lately has been trying to market them to different audiences. Do jewelry designers want to hear about marbles? Should I make different social media and mailing lists for jewelry, marbles and beads? Did I just triple my marketing workload? 

I wish I could focus on only one thing, but it seems that I need to diversify to be able to make a comfortable income lately. Been feeling very fractured and unfocused. Wish I knew what the right answer is, but the only way to find out is to try.


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