“Every Artist Deserves a Home”

3 Mar

“Tell us about a situation where you’d hoped against all hope, where the odds were completely stacked against you, yet you triumphed. Be sure to describe your situation in full detail. Tell us all about your triumph in all its glory.”

 

Tammy and I have hopes to make Entwined Vines into our primary source of income like many artists and we have seen how hard that can be. With this in mind we work hard to keep momentum and set goals along the way. We started off with a very tiny part of a booth at bazars as well as online at Artfire. We knew that with our primary creative endeavor as Jewelry Artists required us to get “known” as many people have no clue what Viking Knit is let alone how amazing it is and how comfortable it is to wear while getting huge amounts of positive attention. We knew that is people did not actually see our pieces or see how it is made and how much time and materials go into each piece that we would not be able to make sales let along grow. With this knowledge, we set out to be in positions to be seen more and more so we went through the extensive application process and involvement of becoming members of the Portland Saturday Market (not to be confused with a farmers market). We worked hard at this for three years which was our goal but had concerns that our online sales had been going up but were not stable enough to remove ourselves out of the public eye but knew that our personal lives had been taxed with needing to work 5 days a week at our “normal” jobs and then working so many hours every weekend. Something HAD to give and we were talking about what our options were and voiced that is would be really nice to be a part of an indoor artisans market but that it just was not reasonable as there were no options like that in the area that were not styled as a consignment kind of thing and we both need to be in charge of our work and not just hand it over blindly to a “boss”.

Once we both found our inclination to be a part of a store-front business we looked at cost and energy that would take and yet again we were blown away with the shear level of crazy that would take from both of us to make that happen. We had sadly put that on a back burner as not do-able yet dream worthy when a business acquaintance approached us with a “golden” opportunity; to be a part of a co-operatively owned and operated artisan store-front! Our dream!!! The group was small and had only started brain storming and plotting a month prior so we knew that the work would be intense with huge possibility of not being able to get off the ground let along real success. The formation of by-laws, getting a business license, learning the local laws, figuring out a base start-up budget, finding a location that would work for all, all the little things that a business has to work through before even opening had to be learned and implemented for not just one business but a group of 40+. We found a location and things were looking up to learn that it had fallen through the month before projected opening and the group was stress and crest-fallen. We had high hopes that had tons of momentum and had gone from zero to 100 in a few short months. The scramble was on and the newly appointed board of directors franticly searched for a new location that was in the original area yet still fit all our needs. In less than a week they succeeded although there was added stress as the rent was significantly higher than planned and several people were starting to re-consider paying to be fully a part of this venture as we had passed projected open dates a few times (we had dreamed big and had hoped to open in March – remember planning started only in December) as well as the daunting issue of funding since our very first ever kickstarter project had been basically a bust. Was our hope going to get shattered? Would we as a collective manage to succeed?

The results are still out but it feels like we as a collective have succeeded and Entwined Vines is still an active part of this. Artistic Portland was officially open for business June first after just 6 months of crazy hard work, several downs, and mega up’s. In the last several months the group had shrunk and then grown, we have transitioned, had trials, growing pains as a group as we learned to work together while still working as individual leaders, teams have formed and take off with mostly incredible results, and our hope continues to grow and evolve to greater heights. Entwined Vines is still working on sales through Artfire while growing and working in our community and loving almost every moment of it. Hopes and dreams are completely worth chasing and making true so follow yours then share in our comments.

 

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