Artist Spotlight: Annie Ciszak Pazar

Artist Spotlight: Annie Ciszak Pazar

Annie Ciszak Pazar -Annie's Arts & Follies, Anchorage, AK

Annie Ciszak Pazar hails from Buffalo New York, but now calls Anchorage, Alaska her home. After finishing college, she ran away to the great white north, where her education in jewelry design and metalsmithing was put to immediate use. In 2005 Annie's Arts & Follies was born and she hasn't looked back since.

Describe your work.
Annie takes inspiration from her surroundings by simplifying the lines in nature, and ensuring a handmade and organic feel in all of her pieces. By using sterling silver, copper, genuine gemstones and pearls, she ensures the highest quality, one of a kind, funktastic pieces. What is funktastic? The melding of funk and function of course!

How did you get started in the crafts business?
Annie initially aspired to major in drawing, but when the human figure continued to foil her on the page, a jewelry class was just the distraction she needed. Lo and behold, it was awesome! And thus she was bitten with the bug. Forming and fabricating an actual piece of matter is fabulous and rewarding.
How long have you been wholesaling?
Annie's Arts & Follies has been wholesaling for over 10 years.
What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?
Approximately 60% of the business is wholesale with about 40% being retail, the final 10% being all sorts of fun random things. Switch it up! It makes life in the studio even more fun.
What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?
Believe it or not, cold calling (within reason) has been very successful. Follow up on each lead (but take a hint when it is given) and send a sample if it might seal the deal. Retail shows have also been a great jumping off point for wholesale accounts - buyers are shoppers too! Advertising in the Buyer's Guide has also had fabulous results.
How has IndieMe helped your business?
IndieMe has been a fabulous platform for my wholesale business. Living in Alaska, it can be very expensive to fly/crate/stay at in-person wholesale shows. Advertising in the Buyer's Guide and working with the site has saved the actual time and mileage involved to go out to the big shows. It has given Pazar the freedom (by leaving those calendar days open) to work on new designs and ideas.
What advice do you have for new craft artists?
Do what you love and be your own biggest fan. Always have a business card ready, and follow up on leads. And always treats each account like it is The Big One - everyone likes to feel special, and that will show in orders and loyalty to your line.
What advice do you have for new craft galleries?
Understand that each artist is different - the perks and quirks are what make us each fabulous individuals. Learn about the people who make the things in your space - your customers love little personal tidbits and you may find that those details finalize the sale.

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