…A Guide For The Aspiring Bead Artist
by Warren S. Feld

Excerpts From This Ever-Evolving Tale.....

I don’t mean to drag a poor Elephant by its tail, kicking and screaming, into our bead world against its wishes. Nor do I perceive the elephant to be a threat, like you might see an Elephant in the boudoir, or the fine china store. And I don’t want you to shut your eyes and pretend not to notice that this Elephant is here, standing shoulder to shoulder with every beader and jewelry maker around.

The Elephant is not a joke. And the fact that it is “Rogue” makes it more important than ever to figure out why it’s here, among size #10 English beading needles, and Czech size 11/0 seed beads, and Austrian crystal beads. It seems so worldly, yet other-worldly, our Elephant. It’s not our muse. It’s not our Cassandra. It has no secret plan or strategy. It does not depend on its size to make its point. It does not hesitate to stomp and chomp and clomp because the beads before it are raku or glass or gemstone or crystal or metal or plastic. But a Rogue Elephant in the middle of our craft room forces upon us a completely different logic, so that we can make sense of it all.|



My Aunt Gert

My Aunt Gert had, what some people call “Chutzpah” and others “Cajones”. She could always make a business situation work to her advantage. She had no self-doubt, some would say no self-restraint. One time, she came up from Florida to visit us in New Jersey, where I grew up. An A&P grocery store was going out of business. Aunt Gert prepared herself for the kill.

At the beginning of the week, the A&P had a big banner on the outside of the store – “25% OFF EVERYTHING”. My Aunt Gert moved rapidly towards the entrance, grabbing two, not one, but two shopping carts, and rushed the meat section first. When the carts were both full – a matter of minutes, it seemed – she approached one of the managers, and asked him, since she was getting so much, could he do better on the price.

With little hesitation, the manager agreed. He told her to grab him when she was ready to checkout, and he’d give her another 50% off at the register. My Aunt Gert filled two more shopping carts that day, and at the register, they first took 25% off, then another 50%.

Exciting, great, good deal, almost war-winning. Yes?

No, Aunt Gert wasn’t quite finished. She went back the next day, got her 25% then 50% off. And the next day – 25% then 50% off.

On the fourth day, the A&P now displayed a banner that read “50% OFF EVERYTHING”. This only egged my Aunt Gert to get more eggs and cheese and canned meats and vegetables. Another 2 shopping carts worth. And at the register, they first gave her 50% off, and as she pointed the cashier to look in the manager’s direction, she reminded her that she was to be given another 50% off. And another 50% off it was.

And Aunt Gert went back on the 5th day, and got 50% then 50%, and on the 6th day, and got 50%, then 50% off, and to her glee and the store manager’s dread, she came back once more on the 7th day. But now the banner read “75% OFF EVERYTHING”. And, I’m not sure how she found enough to fill another 4 shopping carts worth of food, but when she got to the cash register, they very reluctantly gave her the 75% off, then her extra special, the-manager-was-very-nice-to-be-giving-her her additional 50% off.

Well, my Aunt Gert lived in Florida, so virtually everything she bought was for us. But she was determined to bring back her 276 cans of tuna fish, that she had paid $0.04 per can, with her back on the plane. She stuffed these into two large leather suitcases. When we got to the airport, an airport attendant offered to get her two cases out of the trunk. Was he ever surprised? I wish I had a camera to capture his face. And at the ticket counter – the ticket counter lady tried to lift the bags onto the conveyer belt. She’s probably still going to the Chiropractor.

This story doesn’t have anything to do with jewelry, I know, but I love my Aunt Gert, and always love to tell her stories. But, in her week-long grocery shopping business, she does illustrate a point and some lessons about business that can serve you well. Negotiating, price consciousness, and persistence are keys to success. Very often “creative” types are uncomfortable with these more business oriented skills. But these are important to your success.

Whenever I feel uncomfortable in a business situation, I role play. I suppress who I am, and try to become someone else. Very often, I pretend to be my Aunt Gert.



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