Artist Spotlight: Glassworks Northwest

Artist Spotlight: Glassworks Northwest

Kristie Thorndike-Kent, Bellingham, WA

Kristi Thorndike-Kent has been making things for most of her life, and has always been creative and crafty. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and likes to figure things out. She earned a college degree in Journalism, held several jobs in marketing and advertising but quickly learned she wanted to work for herself. She bought her first house at age 24, and fell in love with house repairs and remodeling. This lead her to get her real estate license, and she and her husband have now built or remodeled more than 25 homes together.|

Remodeling houses proved to be a very creative outlet. She did everything from designing homes to doing her own tile and trim work. Always wanting to master new skills, she started working with glass in 2006. That is when she started Glassworks Northwest. In 2018, she started working with polymer clay and started Go Inside And Clay.

Describe Your Work

I make totally fun fused-glass and clay garden art, ornaments and more. I would call myself a production artist and a perfectionist. I love designing something, and then making it exactly the same over and over.

How did you get started in the crafts business?

Honestly, I flew down to take a glass fusing class in Vegas in 2007. While I was gone, my husband purchased a 10x10 tent. He thought I needed an outlet to sell my work. For about 8 years, we did lots and lots of retail shows.

How long have you been wholesaling?

I started wholesaling in 2010 by joining Wholesale Crafts. For the first six weeks or so on the site, I went to my first WSC show that same year, and then started doing additional wholesale shows. I soon learned that I preferred to sell wholesale since I love production work so much. I now get several orders a week and have sold to more than 325 shops and galleries throughout the U.S.

What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?

Being on IndieMe is how I reach new buyers now. I no longer attend shows. I try to add new products to my shop often. Get on social media -- FB, Instagram -- and networks with other artists and shop owners. People are very busy. You need to get in front of them and always be top of mind.

What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?

Wholesale: 85 percent Retail: 15 percent

How has IndieMe helped your business?

I love IndieMe puts me in front of hundreds of potential buyers. I also steer a lot of shops who find me other ways to join Indieme so they can place orders through the site and get in touch with 1200+ other handmade artists. I love getting an email with a new order. And, Indieme is always improving the site features to make it better and easier.

What advice do you have for new craft artists?

Jump in with both feet! You only live once. If you love making your art, make that your job and then you will always love your job. Take the best photos you can. Be responsive when you get a new order and have good communication with your buyers. Most buyers will not just order once, but many many times if you have a good product, ship on time and communicate well.

What advice do you have for new craft galleries?

Check out the many artists on IndieMe, search often for new, fresh items. Communicate well with artists. Don't say you need something ASAP when you are not prepared to pay for it ASAP.

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