Artist Matt Bezak designs jewelry in glass and metal, using a time-consuming process to create stunning work which is sold in galleries throughout the country. Matt also serves on the board of The Arts Business Institute, and agreed to speak to us about his art and his gallery relationships.
ABI: Do you retail your work?
MB: No, I don’t currently sell my work retail. I spend all my time filling wholesale orders for galleries.
ABI: How do you maintain relationships with those galleries?
MB: My wholesale customers demand attention, and I am devoted to providing that. I’m not undercutting their prices. If I am approached by a prospect who wants to buy my work retail, I always refer them to my galleries. The owners appreciate that.
ABI: What about giving them exclusivity?
MB: Respecting exclusivity for my existing accounts is on the top of my list when I go to a wholesale show. I bring a notebook with customer’s zip codes so that I can avoid taking orders that conflict. I have turned down very good accounts due to this, but it’s the right thing to do.
ABI: What interested you in attending The Arts Business Institute?
MB: When I originally made the shift from retail shows to wholesaling, I did my research to find the most professional organization I could find, where I could get really good information, and presentations from professionals who were already in the field. That’s what I got with ABI.
ABI: How are you dealing with the current marketplace fluctuations?
MB: I’ve noticed some buyers “holding back” and being cautious about placing orders. Then, they get busy in their stores and call me needing merchandise quickly. I understand that they are the front line – and I am the supply line. Even though I usually need several weeks of lead time, I do my best to accommodate them. Being flexible is key to working with retailers in this economic climate. So is loyalty. I provide loyalty to my accounts and get loyalty in return.
ABI: What are you working on now?
MB: Right now I am training two apprentices, whom I need because the work is very labor-intensive. I’m refining my product line due to the higher cost of precious metal, making smaller versions of my larger jewelry – I call this my “petite line.” It’s something that buyers have been asking for.
On the other hand I have sculptural aspirations for larger work, and am in the process of creating those items. They will compliment my jewelry line, and I plan to target my existing clients when I am satisfied with the artworks.