Fall and Winter Trends for Artisans

Fall and Winter Trends for Artisans

By: Charlene Davisphoto

It is official: summer is over. Pumpkin patches are sprouting up along the roadside, the leaves are changing, and Canadian geese are flying south for the winter. As the nation slowly emerges from an economic depression the fall and winter season of 2009 will be a defining one for fellow artisans.

Carolyn Osborne (http://www.creativeforcesbycarolyn.com/), an artist who creates one-of-a-kind jewelry, charcoals, watercolors, cremation jewelry and custom gift baskets, generally only has two shows a year: one in June and again in November. However, this year she is adding two more shows in October and may decide to participate in others. Osborne says her custom gift baskets are usually in big demand this time of year, so it will be interesting to see what people decide to do in light of the economy. "I've also made a bigger effort to make art and jewelry pieces that are less expensive and affordable," she says. "This has been good because it has opened my work to a wider array of customers."

For many artists and crafters, the fall and winter months are the busiest time of the year as people begin stocking up on items for gifts and holiday entertaining. Denise Greenwood-Loveless (http://www.artofgreenwood.com/) says this is the best time for her art business. "I am meeting myself coming and going by putting in 70 to 80 hour weeks in the studio to prepare for my fall and winter shows," she says. "I consider myself extremely fortunate to be making a good living with my art."

Ron Anderson and his sons, Benjamin and Sean, are also exceedingly busy this time of year with art shows lined up through the end of the year. And, like most artists, they prefer to set new trends rather than follow them. "As artists it is our goal to set new trends, to present new ideas that will interest and inspire others," says Susie Anderson, wife, mom, and manager to Anderson ART Collective (http://www.andersonartcollective.com/). "Artists have to live to create art that communicates; to create things that are unique."

In addition to the creative side of the artisan industry, there is also the business side. Consider using some of these strategies to enhance your own business and increase sales during the fall and winter season:

• Create clothing and accessories that are more versatile, which makes them more economical;
• Create a new trend or product by giving new purpose to an old item such as turning old sweaters into stuffed toys or vinyl records into coasters;
• Create and produce art and/or crafts on a smaller, more affordable scale to increase the number of sales;
• Consider teaching a workshop or class to local individuals;
• Participate in more shows and festivals for added exposure;
• Hold an open house during the holidays to showcase your work;
• Send out press releases letting the public know where and when you will be exhibiting;
• Spotlight your work by donating one of your products to a charitable auction during the holidays;
• Join a professional organization such as the Association of Artisan Businesses (http://www.artisanbusinesses.org/).

Greenwood-Loveless says that every year with the coming of fall she feels like she is right where she needs to be. "I can look back and see the evolution of my artwork," she says. "I think it will always be this way. It's sort of like being a midwife for the process, and in the fall there's this rebirth that happens." Such a poignant way of looking at the season ahead as artisans across the country indulge in their own artistic evolutions.


CHARLENE DAVIS (http://www.cdavisfreelance.com/) is a nationally published writer specializing in business, retail, e-commerce, and food. She has written Design and Start an Online Travel Business in a Week, Start Your Own Photography Business, Start Your Own Clothing Store, and How to Sell Clothing, Shoes, & Accessories on eBay, as well as two additional books co-authored with Jacquelyn Lynn, Make BIG Profits on eBay and Start Your Own Senior Services Business (all published by Entrepreneur Press). Charlene wrote this feature article exclusively for the Association of Artisan Businesses (http://www.artisanbusinesses.org/), an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the artisan industry.