I was at a local bead shop the other day picking up materials for a couple of commissioned pieces, and one of the staff noticed that I was wearing one of my own creations. She asked me to get in touch if I was interested in either teaching the technique to the staff so they could run a class, or teaching a class myself.
I’m not sure what to do! I’ve concluded that if I’m going to do it at all I’m going to teach it myself rather than putting my design in someone else’s hands, but I know there are all sorts of other things to consider before I take the plunge.
One issue that the bead shop staff mentioned is that there would be a number of other people out there able to produce my design after the class had been taught: Is that going to mean I can no longer sell it as an original in my online shop, or is the only risk that customers will say ‘oh yeah, I saw that the other day on someone else’?
What other issues do I need to consider?
Great point…the original
Congratulations on being asked to teach and a great point has been brought up about being an original. I would think that you could change it to an original design by Rebekah or something similar.
Is there some way that you can teach an abbreviated process to the technique?
You also have to consider that if the original technique is your unique selling feature, do you really want to give that information away?
by: pat barden
the fact that you didnt post a picture shows a lot. iwould consider teaching the basics–so students can put their own twist on it.
truth is–anyone who sees your site can attempt a reproduction–and you can only hope they put a twist on it to make it their own.
iwould most definitely show someone my basics–itd be eazy to reproduce my pieces regardless.
idid however refuze to show someone once when they said–Forty dollars for that? ican make my own….would you show me how?
Reply to “Teaching my design” and comment
by: Nancy B
Let me guess, Pat… that person asking you to show them how, was truly surprised when you said no. Some folks out there have no clue but you did right in my book refusing ‘that’ request.
Not a good way to ask for similar things.
I like what you had to say in response tho – I agree with you – teach the basics and keep the personal original things to yourself for your profit.
The bead store obviously is not aware of how original creations help sell items and the fact that those original creations are often not shared with others.
I do the same, teaching folks how to make chains from wire. I do the basic things and they can make their own creations their own way (not copy mine).
Nancy B (love this site for the info I read!)
Thanks for your insight, commenters:-) My design involves piecing together multiple identical components of different sizes in various ways, so what I thought I might do is teach how to make the component and leave it up to the class attendees to decide how they want to arrange them. I try to come up with original designs for my shop so it doesn’t encroach on anyone else’s territory, so there are plenty of other originals to keep producing…
One of my customers wanted me to teach a class on how I make my pieces. Well, as we talked it turned out that the class was for her alone. She also wanted to know all my techniques, and who were my suppliers!!!!! Needless to say I said that I could not teach her. I am a firm believer in finding your own style, not copying someone else’s.
I too have been asked to teach by various people. I have so far declined. What I do isn’t rocket science and with some skill it could be replicated – although my quality control, stone selection and more will keep mine apart from the copies.
But do I want any “competition” from these amateurs – in all liklihood at least a percentage will also try to sell things similar? Do I want others copying and then riding on my measure of success? As I live in a relatively remote area where my work is well known, my answer to these was no.
A Different Point of View
by: Lois – A Beaded Affair
As a general rule, I’ll teach anyone who asks “nicely” and have a set fee of $20.00/hour/person for the first 3 people with a minimum of 3 hours and $15.00/hour for 4 or more plus supplies. The person in the prior post, I wouldn’t have shown anything to. I don’t like rude people and that was just flat out rude.
I read a blog a long time ago and I wish I knew the artists name, but a well know artist that said she loves to teach and she teaches how she does all her current work. Her attitude was that by the time a student learned how to produce her current work, do it well enough to show, have enough product to show and was able to buy supplies at a good enough price to be able to compete with her prices she would be off doing something else altogether new and exciting.
I really like that attitude. I love to teach too so there is that as well. I don’t teach in bead stores so I can teach as I like and who I like. For the most part I’m sharing well known techniques with my little twist on them. If I ever get to the point where I’m not creating new and different designs and variations it will be time to hang up my pliers anyway.
Just a different way to look at it.
Depends how you look at it
by: Terri W
Wonderful original designs get published in magazines with step by step instructions all the time. And, I am grateful to all those artists who chose to share their designs in the mags and various classes I have attended. Some folks will attempt to copy anything verbatim that they have seen or read about. I believe though that the best artists are always evolving so in fact they are always a step ahead of the designs and classes they publish/teach.
My expectation as a student (where a picture of a finished piece is provided) is that I will be able to learn how to replicate that piece in class and how to recreate if after I leave class. After the class, I will take the technique and make it my own because I don’t find it creatively stimulating to just copy. But, I want to learn whatever it is that is being shown. So if you only want to teach the components, make that clear in the info you provide and I think everyone will be happy. Also, it is not unusual for people to want to know about your supply sources. If you want to keep yours special, maybe you could do a little research to find where similar items are sold (but perhaps not at the price you are getting them).