Had another loss to declare with the business, $1200. Materials costs were about 50% of gross sales. It surprised me to discover that ~20% of my gross sales went into artist (other than me) pay-out. I think that the changes in pay/pricing that I made in October will make that percentage a little less, but not much. I paid my artists a total of $1035 for the year, and earned Elfwood $303. The largest 6-month check I wrote was $198. Several artists had very little or no payment, which always breaks my heart. And of course, I didn't pay myself anything. Never have. All profits are re-invested, separate from my personal account. Would have made a profit last year without Reno costs, probably, though there was no catalog, so there may have been a trade-off. But I just can't consider Reno a loss because I had so much fun, met great people and made important contacts.
Thought a while about /why/ I run my business (since it's obviously not the money), but didn't have to look very far for the reasons. I remember that thrill, that absolute thrill of selling my work for the first time. That complete rush, even though it was only a few dollars. Everyone should feel that! Everyone! I want to give people that... that... satisfaction. That feeling of pride that their artwork is 'published,' that people see, and like it. I want my artists to get that amazing feeling that a paycheck for Art gives them. Even if it's just a couple of bucks and hardly worth the trip to the bank. If I could bottle that feeling, I'd give it as Christmas gifts.
I run my business for those every-few-day 'you have done something wonderful' or 'you always have exactly what I need' comments in my email or at the bottom of an order form.
I run my business because I love to create useful, beautiful things.
I run my business because I want to see that light in people's eyes when they catch sight of something that 'speaks to them' at the fair.
I run EMG because of those eager artists who write to me wanting to be part of this little business.
I run EMG because it satisfies something selfish that wants to soak up praise and recognition.
I definitely don't run my business because I love to sort receipts and do taxes on a weekend when I wanted to paint!