Artist Spotlight: Karen Daniel

Artist Spotlight: Karen Daniel

Karen Daniel - Glass Art Design, Holland, MI

In the 90's I was busy raising my family. With the help of the kids we would make stepping stones from found objects. I developed an interest with glass and found where I could take a class to learn how to cut, foil and later fuse. After that I am mostly self taught. I feel then the product is truly my own. As others saw what I was doing I started to get request, which led me to do some small local craft shows. While being at one of these shows a gallery owner came up to me and said "This is not where you belong, come see me". When I visited her gallery she handed me a copy of "Wholesalecrafts" catalog. She told me to have professional photos taken and to take out an add with Wholeslecrafts. I remember thinking it was a lot of money for me to be spending, but she told me to do it. I did just what she told me to. That was in 2005. Since then I have sent her a few bouquets of flowers with a big thank you! My education background is a BA in finance from Michigan State University.

Describe your work.
Hand cut fused glass night lights. Many of the lights are embellished with beads or buttons. I draw all my patterns. I have had many request to also include sun catchers. I am now testing that market. Over the years I have noticed that when people look at my products they smile. They are a happy product.

How did you get started in the crafts business?
Taking an add with Wholesalecrafts.
How long have you been wholesaling?
Since 2005
What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?
The majority of my business is wholesale. I do a few retail shows. It is always nice to get out of the studio and talk to people. It has become a way for me to do market research. Finding out what people like, what they are looking for and the colors that interest them.
What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?
Number one is being a part of Wholesalecrafts, now IndieMe. Going to ACRE has been very beneficial. I have also had the good fortune of current buyers passing my information on.
How has IndieMe helped your business?
I still have quite a few customers that found those very early adds that I took out with Wholesalescrafts back in 2005. Going to ACRE is not only a great way to find new customers, but I love seeing my current customers (notice I did not say "Old customers:)" The relationships I have made over the years is truly priceless. My customers know me and my family, and I know theirs. Also the other vendors at ACRE have become good friends. Every year during set up I pinch myself, still can't believe I am included with all the talent that is at the ACRE show.
What advice do you have for new craft artists?
First of all for the new artist, make it your own. Make what you love to make and have the pride in knowing that your product is unique to you. You will find that your passion will come out when meeting buyers. Know that your product is not going to be the right product for every gallery, but you will find your fit. When you do find that fit, nurture that relationship. Be sincere and be a person of your word.
What advice do you have for new craft galleries?
My advice to the new gallery my night lights. All joking aside. Know your market. And do your best with customer service. I like going into galleries that give me a good feeling. I may or may not buy at that time, but if the feeling is right I will return and a purchase will be made.

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