My guest this week is another dear friend, former client and leader from the Media and Advertising world. I first met Lawrence Peters when I called on him to buy advertising in my prior life as a magazine publisher. We have stayed in touch over the years and through several transitions. I asked Lawrence to walk us through how he got to where he is today—a fascinating story and one we can all look to as a model we can adapt.
In Lawrence’s words:
“Officially, I am “retired” from the media sales world, yet I am more active and creative than ever. I apply what I learned in the “biz” – to listen and network – when I sell at a craft show, work on a new project, source new materials, or call on a retail shop.
Today I am a fiber artist because I listened to a mentor who suggested I take up the craft of weaving. He reminded me that I had a childhood wish to become a fashion designer but took another path. My first weaving class was a challenge. I had no idea what I was doing, and the teacher was disengaged. However, my classmates were encouraging and told me that I showed promise. Then, a friend told me about a five-day intensive weaving workshop at the Harrisville Design Center in NH. This teacher was kind and patient with a newbie, and once again I had reassuring classmates. So, I went home, bought a loom at an auction, and began to weave the proverbial mile.
I am so grateful to the members of the two local weaving guilds for their friendship and knowledge sharing. I am equally thankful to the members of a local artisan group who shepherded me through the craft show waters and advised me about which retail stores to contact and which to avoid.
When my spouse and I decided to leave behind the ice and snow of the East Coast for the warmth of Arizona, I went into action. I found out about the area weaving guilds and through a connection met a soap maker who ran a craft show. So, I had immediate access to a new network of people and became integrated into the weaving and artisan communities.
Through my guild membership, I heard about and took a workshop on eco-printing in which plant pigment from a leaf or petal becomes permanently embedded in silk and wool. I fell in love with the process and bring new product to market such as eco-printed silk scarves and wall art in various sizes.
As in Massachusetts, I rely on fellow artisans for suggestions about shows and retail shops. But I am not shy about “cold calling” a local retailer. I have high-quality work that customers deserve to see. Once I am in the door, the work truly speaks for itself. I have also asked some devoted friends around the country to become my ambassadors. They wear and show my eco-printed scarves to the owners of their favorite shops. Based on the reaction I will then do the follow up. Though not every store solicited takes my products, my retail network is growing because I have a vibrant and ever-expanding network.”
**** A huge Thanks to Lawrence for great words of wisdom—his contact information is below and a sample of his wonderful work! ARN