This time, I really am back.
After almost 3 years being away from bear making and working a "real" job, I have dusted off my machine and re-opened the studio. I'm back to Bear Making!
I have to catch up on all the new sites and places and facebook pages that I need to connect with.
I'm using up all the material I have...and I have a lot.
Three years ago with the crash in the economy and the crash in Bear buyers, I had to go get a real job with health insurance and all. I have to say I did have a nice experience and learned a lot. I worked in graphic design, marketing and social media...still do....but I miss the bears!
So....here I am.
Does anyone remember me? Bayside Bears..polar bears?
I have no idea how to put an image on this post, so you can go to my "work in progress" website to see a few bears. But, I have a new facebook page too....whcih needs more "likes" before it can get its name. So, if you are so inclined, search Bayside Bears on Facebook. I'm going to post some behind the scenes photos ans stories there too. Maybe some How-to articles.
I take it the Bear Biz is still kind of slow. Someone suggested I open an Etsy shop, which I did with my little needle felties. Does anyone list successfully on Ebay anymore? I used to sell all my bears on Ebay, but a quick look through the pages, it didn't look like there was much activity.
So...what's new? What have I missed?
It's nice to talk to you again. :)
PS--how do I put images on here...I tried, to no avail.
Mary Lou Foley
Welcome back! THere is so much I'd like to tell you about this NEw bear world. For now, I'll just say your prices are way too low! I'm not just saying that because I know the quality and art of your bears, but because your price structure puts you in market position that isn't doing very well in this economy. Enough business. Have fun and enjoy
KJ Lyons Design
Hi Mary Lou,
Welcome back. I certainly remember you and your polar bears from the Boxborough shows, as well. I did that show a number of times. I think we started about the same time. I'm still making bears and selling on the internet through my blog. Ebay is not great anymore. Too many rule changes. There are some internet shows springing up - I'm doing the Teddiesworldwide one on November 18th - 20th and there were two others last weekend. Might be a place for you to check out. Enjoy your time making bears
Thanks for the nice welcome everyone!
I'm having fun surfing all the teddy sites, new artist blogs and facebook pages. When I stopped making bears, I really did stop entirely, so all the changes I see are really new to me. Lots of inspiration out there!
I did come across some online teddy bear shows. Those sound intriguing. Is there any specific place I can go to find out about them? I lost my extensive email list to a virus/phishing incident which means that I only have an email list of collectors who have purchased bears that I got from my Paypal history, so I need to get some exposure again. I hope to be able to do this full time again, but for now I have to keep the "real' job and just try to find some of that elusive spare time to devote to bearmaking.
I've enjoyed looking through this wonderful site to learn about some new needle felting techniques too. Joanne,love how you do your noses with the beeswax, I agree that the way it just kind of becomes one piece with the snout is great for a real look. I'm def going to try it.
Oh, and thanks to those that have gone and "liked' my new facebook page. I need 3 more likes to get my name in the url, so if any of you are so inclined, just search Bayside Bears to find the page.
Now, I'm off to that other "work" for the day......digging in to a new bear tonight!
Hi there. I started making bears probably just after you started your break from bear making. It's nice to see someone experienced come back. Looking forward to seeing your creations!!!
**when your are writing a post, at the top is an "img upload" button. That's how I get pics into a post.**
Congrats! You didn't tell me about the marriage :hug:
Working in my studio is, to me, more real world than any outside job I have had Also it's physically harder than any job I have had. I support myself and thoroughly enjoy what I do but it takes a tremendous amount of hours and you have to constantly reinvent and evaluate where you are going with your business. It's challenging to balance all this and still keep the creative spark. I think that is why many bear artists chose not to make their art their career?
I am working towards the day when I can again make art my sole career. I am also a pastel painter (my first love and my passion). The ONLY reason I got a job was for the health insurance it offered. With the economic downturn, my husband's small business could no longer afford to provide it. The cost of insurance, buying it privately in Massachusetts with a $2000 deductible, is about $1600 per month. All it would take is one serious illness ( my dh has had cancer) to ruin us financially.
I think employer based health insurance is another drain on the economy. More and more small businesses can't afford it and the costs go up every year. So instead of ever getting a raise, your employer pays health insurance increases. And people are trapped in their jobs because they can't risk losing their health insurance. ( don't get me started on our horrible system! I'll step off the soapbox now.)
I reveled in the long hours spent in the studio... it truly fed my soul. ( that sounds so cliche, but I mean it) Working on my art filled any empty space I ever had and made me feel whole.... and my hope is to be able to do that again very soon.
And, LeeAnn, congrats on the marriage from me too!
Welcome back Mary Lou!!! I think anybody who has ever had any dealings with artists bears at all would know who Mary Lou Foley is!! The Polar Bear Queen has returned!! YEAH!!! We have all missed seeing your wonderful creations and its great to see you back doing what you love.
I think with the downturn in the economy, the majority of us have had to consider leaving bear making. Ebay certainly isn't what it used to be...no more $1 NR auctions...(ahhh the good ol' days!). I think the TB category has turned more to hobby and less artist. I still occasionally list there, but I do also have an etsy account. In my opinion, etsy doesnt really support the higher priced bears as well as ebay. Don't get me wrong, I have sold a few bears there, and many other artists do too. The fees are easier to swallow on etsy vs. ebay also. Ebay has gotten out of control with fees for this and fees for that.
Anyways, enough business talk. Just wanted to welcome you back to the wonderful world of bears!!!
Thank You! I guess it's like starting over. I'll have to figure out where and how to sell my bears again. I opened a Bearpile account. Any of you do that? But right now I'm having fun just creating them. I spent a few hours in the studio today trying new things....tossed a couple of things into the " didn't work as well as I thought" pile.LOL! I think a few years ago I may have been a little burned out after doing it for 12 years. I have a lot more enthusiasm now...and I'm having fun again.