Artist Joy Light shares her beautiful collection of hand painted silks, as well as insights from her business.
ABI: What products do you have in your collection?
JL: Hand painted silk accessories are my metier. Within that genre I create products. My best selling item is the satin trimmed chiffon ruana, it’s like a cape but open on the sides. Its versatility makes it very popular with travelers because it can be worn for special occasions and for everyday comfort and warmth.
I have many styles, shapes and weaves of silk scarves. My silk boa is soft and fun to wear, deconstructed from a lovely triple-layered chiffon silk. Some new items include silk ponchos in two sizes and the mini-scarflette which I introduced on Earth Day 2012. I create couture fashion jewelry accessories combining my silk and prints of my silk on crystal and mother of pearl jewelry with chain, silk cord and vintage bits from my grandmother’s extensive costume jewelry collection.
ABI: What have you learned from doing wholesale trade shows?
JL: When I launched Joy Hand Painted Silk in 2009 via wholesale trade shows in Las Vegas and Los Angeles I learned about location, location, location. If you can afford a corner booth, take it. The additional exposure from a corner location is tremendous and well worth the expense!
I got a deeper understanding of what I call “price integrity”; how to price your items for the wholesale market. I learned how to create and distribute tiered collateral materials, collect as many leads as you can and follow-up.
ABI: How have you dealt with difficulties in your business?
JL: Over the 20 years that I’ve been in business, there have been lots of challenges. I started out in a small room in my house, improvising my equipment. The economic decline in 2008 taught me to develop an unshakable belief in myself and my craft, to stay focused and to do whatever it takes to keep business alive! I kept in touch with my regular clients.
I continued outreach to new and existing accounts. That kind of persistence is invaluable. I ventured into direct sales at art & wine festivals in California.
Recently a flood in my studio did major damage and interrupted my production. Fortunately, I had the foresight to have both homeowners and business insurance policies which allowed me to have the damages repaired so I could get back to work in a reasonable amount of time. The point I want to make is that it is important to review your liabilities and your insurance to assure that you, your work and your workplace are protected.
ABI: Tell us about creating your website video.
JL: The video on my homepage was shot in my studio with an HD video camera. The cameraman shot about 40 minutes which was edited down to create a succinct studio tour and silk painting demonstration. I did the voiceover in my kitchen!