Bigot or just Jaded?

Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust or hatred on the basis of a person's ethnicity, evaluative orientation, race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.

Ok I can admit it, I could be considered a bigot.  I distrust other artisans based on a variety of characteristics. There are so many people faking it: not really making what they say they make, or making it; but not the way they say they do. If I have just met you, I don't trust you. There are things that make me distrust you more than others.

If I am at a show that I consider to be a "local" show and someone drives in from Montana in a huge box truck that they have been sleeping in for weeks, I have will have trouble believing you. The artisans I closely know are almost constantly in their workshops, making, doing admin work, researching, developing. For us to go out with three or four weekends of inventory and not come home in between would be a very tough thing to do and still have a business when we got back. I am not saying it can't be done. It is done, and quite often. But for me this is a red flag. I defiantly need to get to know you better before I trust you do what you say you do.

The huge influx of foreign and "fair trade" goods makes it hard for me to believe certain things are hand made by the artisan representing them. I am not saying the things on the display are not hand made, just not made by the person claiming to have made them. And honestly, especially if the artisan is a recent immigrant. I know this is AWFUL to say, to admit to. It is my biggest fault as a human being that I find myself thinking this way. I do my best not to, and I do my best to get to know the truth as quickly as possible as not to harbor or to pass on my distrust on to others. I blame this on the influx of foreign goods into art and craft shows that are advertised to us artisans and to the public as "juried" or "hand made". There are even tutorials on line on how to fake your photos to get into shows: photos that supposedly show you MAKING something! So yes, too many caucasian people selling things made in China (or other places) as their own, has made me doubt the people originally from China (or Guatemala, or any other place on earth) are making their own stuff. Is it awful to think: yes. Am I alone: no. Am I the only person gutsy enough to admit it and start a real conversation about it: maybe.

I also distrust anyone selling their products for under "industry standard" pricing. Of course there will always be some fluctuation in this depending on where you live and where you sell. However, if you have a 20 inch long silver necklace for sale for $20 I will either believe you are lying and it's not silver, or you are lying and you didn't make it (and imported it from overseas). With silver being about $18 an ounce here, there would be no real profit in that necklace for anyone taking the time to make it themselves. It is hard enough to compete with Wal-Mart, but to have to compete with the equivalent at a show a few booths down from you is almost impossible. I believe this is why some shows ask for a range of pricing when you apply. It is to help weed out people hurting the entire industry. As a friend of mine just stated today "to be the cheapest is a refuge for people who don't have the guts to point to their product or service and say- this isn't the cheapest but it's worth it"

I would love to think we as the human race are all honest. But we are not. We are human. A few bad apples have spoiled it for me. Am I a bigot? Maybe in the truest most base sense of the word. But I feel that I am more jaded- "made dull, apathetic, or cynical by experience" than bigoted. I search out the truth whenever I can, I like my mind to be changed.


In Case of Emergency

I have been trying to add things into my business that help me be prepared for an emergency. The first thing I have done is to back up my computer to an off site "cloud". I have always had a back up hard drive, but what good does that do when it is on the desk next to my computer? If something bad happens to one, something will happen to both.

This also means that I have had to start taking some things that live solely in my head or in physical notebooks and start to transfer them into documents that can be stored and retrieved when not at home.

This started for me when I learned that the artisan who mad my air freshener blanks had had a fire, gutting her workshop and a good portion of her home. I am blessed, when my grandmother passed away, my mom and step-dad have kept her mobile home on their property and in working order. I always have a place to go, and I know I could make soap there and have an ad-hoc workshop in not too much time if it was ever necessary. But it is 4 hours away from here, and it doesn't have my notebooks, computers, or recipes. In order to carry on, I would need to have all that information at my finger tips.

I also make sure the fire extinguishers and fire alarms in the shop work and replace batteries every 6 months. My workshop probably has the biggest chance of fire in the house other than the kitchen. We always have crock pots on, small appliances going, heat guns and shrink wrap machines as well. There are quite a few things going on and they can be tough to keep track of.

I also have insurance. I am amazed by the number of people I know that don't have insurance to cover their business. Discuss this with your home or renters insurance and figure out what you need and get it. Figure out what business insurance you need as well. This is not wasted money.We live in a litigious society, take care of yourself. 

I think of all the years, all the time it has taken my to acquire the things I use every day in my work. I think of all the things I have acquired in my home as well. It is important to do all you can to be sure an emergency doesn't happen, but if it does have in place the tools to get yourself running and bringing in income as soon as possible.

It is so hard when you wear so many hats when you own your own business to not let things like this slip by because there always is something more immediate, or pressing to take care of. My hope is that if I make all this preparedness part of a routine, it will just take moments in my future to keep it going.