Do you make your own stuff? 

Yes! I do purchase finished chains and certain findings for certain lines, and I purchase beads, but for the most part, I do all my own forming, enameling, stamping, wrapping, and other creative work.

Do you sell wholesale? 

Yes! A major goal for 2016 is putting together a wholesale catalog. In the meantime, you can email lori [[at]] alchemary [[dot]] com for more information.

Where do you get your supplies? 

Like most artists, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy doing research to find the best suppliers for what I make, and I don’t share that list. Many of my commodity supplies come from wholesalers who require large minimum orders. That said, I buy a large number of my beads in person at bead shows and at Bead Paradise in Oberlin, Ohio — I like to see and feel what I’m getting. When I travel, I almost always carve out time to check out local bead shops. For metals, MonsterSlayer.com has great prices and does not require a wholesale license to purchase. I do have an Etsy supply shop, paxsupply, where I occasionally list extra supplies.

Will you participate in my show? 

Over the years I’ve developed a solid roster of shows that work well for me and attract my ideal clientele. I do about six to eight shows each year, usually one or two of which is new to me. I’m happy to hear about your event and delighted to pass the information on to my fellow Cleveland Handmade artists. Please drop me an email (lori [[at]] alchemary [[dot]] com) with the information and I’ll take a look. Yes, I am willing to travel for the right show, and I am especially looking to add good holiday shows on the east side of Cleveland, the Akron area, and the Medina area.

Will you donate a piece to my charity event? 

Donations can be a touchy subject with artists. Many artists (including me) operate under a cash accounting system, which means that we write off supplies when we buy them and count the income when we sell something. Under this system, we can’t take a tax write-off on item donations, because we can write off only the cost of the supplies used to make the item (not the retail value, and not any of our time), and that write-off was taken when we bought the supplies originally. There is no financial benefit for artists using cash accounting to make donations. (When a donation is requested or required for participation in a show or event I’ve agreed to do, of course I donate then, but that is factored into the cost of doing the event.)

I do have a couple of causes that are near and dear to my heart, and I support those with cash donations and occasional item donations for specific events. I’m not currently adding any causes to my list, so while I’m sure your cause is a great one, I’m sorry, but I can’t donate.

But what about all the exposure you’ll get for donating? 

Ah, yes, the nebulous “exposure.” I’m sorry to say that, in my experience, the value of “exposure” for donations is just about zero for most events — unless you’re a local car dealership donating a two-year car lease or a travel agent donating a cruise. Even then, who remembers the name of the dealership or travel agent? Oftentimes, a jewelry donation will get buried in a basket with other donations, even when I’ve provided a display stand (at my own cost). Over the years, I’ve donated a few dozen gift certificates for custom stamped pieces, and I’ve had only three returned, and usually right before the expiration date. That tells me that the “prize” was an afterthought to the winner. Likewise, I’ve offered special coded discounts for attendees of events and have had zero actually used. Donors also need to be careful of overexposure. If your work is in every raffle under the sun, people tend to undervalue it and hold out for the chance of winning it rather than buying it.

(Want to read my friend Chris’s take on the subject of donations? She’s more eloquent [and funnier] than I: go here.)


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