Glassblower Mark Rosenbaum and his wife Brenda have owned Rosetree Glass Studio for many years. We asked him to reveal some secrets of his family business and how they gained success.
ABI: You have a family business, and work together as a team. What advice would you have for other artists planning this type of arrangement?
MR: The most obvious advice is that you have to have a very good relationship to start with. Brenda and I are together 24/7. We love each other, but we are also best friends. A lot of our friends tell us that they would never be able to work with their spouse. We are very different people, but we work well together. We bounce ideas off each other all the time. I trust her judgment and she trusts my ideas as an artist.
ABI: What stages has your business gone through in growing over the past thirty years?
MR: Our business has evolved from a single artist with a part-time assistant to a small business with three full-time and two part-time employees. When Brenda retired from her teaching job to join me in the business, it allowed me more freedom to explore and expand our business. There were growing pains along the way.
When the economy was better, we had more employees, but I went from being an artist to being an administrator. I missed making art full time and going to work was more of a regular job. There has been a lot of learning along the way. Neither one of us has a business background, and in today’s reality, our studio has to be run as a business as well as an art studio. We have made mistakes, but we try to keep our business on a personal level. Our name is on every piece, and we try to treat our customers the way that we expect to be treated.
ABI: Tell us about your experience with HGTV creating a video and presenting your studio on television.
MR: The video that HGTV made was for a show named “Modern Masters.” It was a great show that presented artists working in their studios to a national audience. It has since been cancelled, and regrettably, there has not been another show to take its place. Making the 10 minute video was a great experience. It took 12 hours to do the filming. It was interesting to see how editing, camera angles, B rolls, narration, and other aspects of production can shape a good video. We had instant recognition when it aired. People even called our home to find out more info about us. We still have visitors come in to the studio who recall the show.
ABI: Has video helped your sales? How do you use it in promotion?
MR: Video has certainly helped our sales. The internet has been a terrific tool to get exposure. 5 or 10 years ago, to view an artist at work, you either had to visit them in their studio, or go to a gallery that represented them and view a video (if they even had one).
Today, exposure is instant. A photo or video can be posted from a phone to youtube or facebook the moment that the piece is completed. I have even sent photos to clients while the piece is still hot and in process to make sure that we are both on the same page.
We have a couple of videos on our website that can be accessed by everyone. It is a great sales tool to allow customers or potential customers an insight to how a piece is created. The internet can be an amazing way to sell your work. In my opinion, it will never replace actually touching and holding a piece of art, but the exposure that can be created on such a large scale makes it easier to market our art.
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