Learn all about the business of selling Hawaii handmade crafts
SO YOU'VE made a ton of jewelry, ceramics, or bowls on a lathe and they're stunning and salable. Now what?
Artisan Pam Peterson has an MBA and she knows how to use it -- for the benefit of your burgeoning beading business or other creative, captivating contrivance.
Peterson, co-owner of Puka Bead Boutique & Studio
in Manoa, is offering a seminar called Craft Fair 101 twice in the coming weeks and will stage more, if there is demand.
She knows of nobody on Oahu teaching crafters how to hit the craft-fair circuit.
"I don't want people to go through what I did," she said. "There's a huge learning curve. There's nobody to tell you, 'This is how it goes.'"
"The first time I did it, I called a week before the craft fair," only to learn there was a two-year waiting list for admission, she said. Inclusion in another event, the Haleiwa Arts Festival, is juried. "You have to submit in March for the fair that's in July," she said. Peterson, a member of the Pacific Handcrafters Guild and the Handcrafters & Artisans Alliance, says every fair-staging organization is different.
The seminar is primarily for jewelry makers, but other artisans may glean helpful information, such as where to buy interesting bags, where to get tents, "how do you deal with the weather -- there are all sorts of wild and disparate types of things you encounter."
It can be discouraging enough to make someone throw in the embroidered tea towel.
"But then they (would) lose what is a really wonderful experience when you put your stuff out there. You get feedback, really good ideas -- and sometimes you can even make some money," she chuckled.
Peterson worked for the former Hawaiian Telephone in operations, finance, marketing and strategic planning, but left the company during a round of "early-out" opportunities.
She had recently opened the shop and the exit offer presented the chance "to really go for it," she thought. That was nearly three years ago.
Jewelry-making classes are taught at the shop at 2909 Lowrey Ave. in Manoa Valley. Many beading stores customarily assemble kits of necessary materials for students to use in learning a technique or specific project, but Peterson said: "We have a unique philosophy in the store. We are anti-kit."
Peterson uses a "buffet" approach. "When people take a course here, we let them pick their own beads." Risking OD from sensory overload, "they get thousands of beads to pick from," she said.
The shop is the outgrowth of a family enterprise. Peterson's partner and husband, Kim, is a well-known glass bead and art-glass maker; their daughter Kari has her own line of jewelry.
The store also has a free studio in which people can work on projects using the store's library and tools at no charge. There is no requirement that beaders buy supplies in the shop. "We wanted to have a feeling of community," she said.
"We have high school teens who, after school, they just hang out," said Peterson.
Craft Fair 101 will be taught from 1 to 4 p.m. on Memorial Day and Kamehameha Day, May 29 and June 12. The $50 seminar is discounted for members of the Puka Bead Discount Club. It is open to the public, but reservations are required due to limited seating and can be made by phone at 988-7852 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com