Remember way back when things were “normal?” You know about eight(ish) months ago? It seems like so long ago yet the beginning of this whole covid pandemic deal was only 8-9 months ago. Our lives have certainly changed.
Brenda and I have taken the opportunity to look at what we do and what we want to do and then to make the changes that might get us on a slightly different path. Some of the changes we’ve made around our two brands LickinFlames and The Hobnob Collection, have been about how we can take those products to market in new ways. BC (before Covid) it was unusual for someone to have a virtual LIVE sale on line…here and there, sure, but nothing to the extent we see today. Now, it’s about the only way to get your fix other than going into your local shop (yarn or otherwise). Of course, anybody and everybody had an Etsy shop or a website of their own…but LIVE? Video? It’s a brave new world.
There will be winners during the Covid era and there will be losers. Some of that…maybe most of that…will be determined by one’s ability to and willingness to adapt to change. For example: I love to make pots and play in mud all day. If that’s all I did I’d be happy. Just pile the finished pieces by the side of the road with a jar…folks could come by, take what they needed and leave a bit of coin…happy camper me. But get real…that’s not the way the BC world worked and it certainly wouldn’t work today. I have always needed to get out and let people stop by the booth and touch the pieces and hear the story about their creation. Well that was BC…and during CE (the Covid Era) nearly all of the shows we were to attend were closed/cancelled/postponed to 2021 and shops?...shuttered for the most part. So what’s a person to do? Adapt.
I’ve always referred to the building that I make the pottery in as “The Studio.” The building we assemble, clean, pack, receive and store our finished bits in has been called “The Workshop.” We’ve relabeled the pottery making building to “The Mudroom.” The Workshop remains the same but we have developed a new space for video…that is now “The Studio.” Why did we need to start calling the spaces by names anyway…so we could tell each other where we were and where something might be sitting. Seriously…we needed a way to talk about the locations.
The Studio is a dedicated area for our video work…we have a separate dedicated room for photography…The Studio is all about video. At the moment, as aftermath from an event over the weekend, we have five tripods set up with three devices mounted on them. Our pipe and drape backdrop and tables and covers, along with the product displays and mannequins are the same as we would use at a face-to-face show, but duplicates. We don’t see video going away…ever…so we approached this new Studio with some kind of permanence. We brought fiber optics to our property (several 100 hours of labor and many $$ worth of equipment) and we did that so we could broadcast a strong video stream to improve the viewer experience.
I never thought about video becoming such an important component of our little business in the middle of the forest...but it has become vital. It has caused me to rethink lots of the details of our work. It wouldn’t be so bad, but I’ve chosen to use great equipment and cameras and every little “bit” shows under the lights (who knew my black shirts would show the dogs fur)…adapting to change.
So while I’m blathering about in the importance of video…I must say that our website (http://www.lickinflames.com) is critical and THAT is driven by better photos. I can’t win…cameras everywhere. Using the videos, blogs, social media and the website has taken up the slack from packing up the rig and leaving at dawn for shows in far away lands and many McD/Flying J’s later (my excuse for Cinnabons for breakfast). Now I get up and get to figure out locations, platforms and compatibility.
…and then there is that computer storage…I thought my 3T of storage would be enough. At the time I set that up it was all about storing photos for a website. Now…several websites, three carts to feed, 4 social posting sites and video shoots 3-4 times a week sucked up 3T…what next?...and then there is the backup protocol. The Cloud was not an option without fiber (DSL is too slow for uploading)…so does this take us to a free-wheeling work-from-anywhere realm? Really? What happened to making mudpies?
Life as a potter used to be so so very simple. Sing along…”The clay on the wheel goes round and round…round and round…round and round…”