My sister, Sue & I in front of co-op on Grand Opening DayLast month my sister, Sue and I joined an Artisan Co-op in Janesville, WI. My sister designs beaded jewelry pieces and I make a variety of items from pins to sculptures. Sandra, the co-op owner found me via my Etsy store and asked if I'd be interested in joining her Art Co-op. As a matter of coincidence, my sister was with me when I met with Sandra. As I was talking to Sandra she said that she was looking for jewelry to sell at the co-op. I went to tell my sis to see if she wanted to talk to Sandra about joining. How's that for being at the right place at the right time?
The location of the co-op is a bit of a drive for both of us, but one good thing about the location is that it's about halfway for us to see each other. My sis lives three hours away from me, but the co-op is approximately an hour and a half away for each of us. Thank goodness we are able to work together on our co-op work days. One requirement for joining the co-op is working one day per month at the co-op.
Last week my sister and I decided to work two days in a row and stay overnight at a hotel in Janesville. We had a fun time on our mini time away. Last week was our 3rd and 4th days of working at the co-op. During our first three days of working there, we had no sales. Thankfully, on our fourth day, last Friday, we had four sales. We were so excited to finally work a day and have someone buy something.
One purchase from Friday was of a painting from a co-op member, Pam, who we have become to know since she works in the same building as the co-op. Each day she works, she stops in to say hi. And on Friday just after stopping in and telling us she still has not sold anything, my sister sold one of her paintings. We were so happy for Pam. After awhile I decided to try to find Pam's office on one of the floors above the co-op. I found her office and told her the good news. She was so happy. She gave me a hug and wanted to do a happy dance. The painting that she sold was one that her husband told her would never sell and Pam told him that it would be the first painting she would sell. And it was!
After our second day of working at the co-op, my sister and I were trying to think of some ideas to try to promote the co-op. One idea was to print postcards to hand out to people in the offices above the co-op. We had some postcards printed and last week on Thursday, we went to deliver them to the offices after we were done working.
My sister Sue at her beading table at co-opThen on Friday, we had more customer traffic in the co-op. My sis was convinced that our postcards helped bring some of the traffic in. On Friday afternoon, I dropped of some postcards at a local cafe across the street from the co-op. The food in the cafe looks delicious. Next time I work at the co-op I want to buy some food from the cafe. I also stopped at, Carousel Consignment, a nice antique shop with so much to see, and dropped off a rack card for them to hang at the counter of the store.
While at the hotel, I helped my sister name her jewelry pieces. I try to encourage my sis to name her jewerly with unique names, instead of naming it "magenta & black beaded necklace", I recommend something like "magnificent magenta." On Thursday while at the co-op I was having a dry spell trying to think of names for her, but later at the hotel the names were coming more easily. I joked telling my sis that it must've been because I needed to eat some chocolate to get the ideas going again. :-)
My pins (shown on left) & my magnets (shown on right) at co-op
My turtle sculpture at co-op