Saturday, September 15, 2007

Should I Start My Own Stained Glass Business?

Every stained glass student who builds a piece of glass and enjoys the process, toys with the idea of starting a stained glass business. I give all of our students the same advice. I wrote an article which gives views about those who are already in the business or considering buying one.

If you think you might want to start a stained glass business, then start slowly. Talk to your friends and relatives and start building windows for them in your spare time. Keep your day job! See how things work out. I would advise anyone thinking of going into any business, that before you make a decision to get into it, work for at least 3 months in the business, 90 days seems to be the point where you really get an eye opening. The honeymoon ends and you see what you're really getting yourself into. As you build windows for others, you'll get a feel for how the business works, what highs and lows there are. As you gain more practice building stained glass panels, you'll get better at the techniques and you'll learn how good you really are at it. You will be starting a stained glass studio at first instead of a stained glass business. After all, if the art doesn’t push you along, no amount of business will be enough to sustain you in your “hour of darkness.”

What usually happens is that you’ll discover what some of the frustrations of the business are. You will then be equipped to make a decision whether or not stained glass is the right business to try. I admit to people on a regular basis that I could make more money, more easily doing almost any other business than stained glass. It's true! And there have been times when I've gotten sick of stained glass. This is a truth! When you begin to do your hobby as a business, at some point it becomes work. I had reached that point when I met Milo, the student who drove me over the edge, I really quit the business and couldn’t look at stained glass, even as a hobby, for over a year.

But, after all is said and done, there is another truth that leads many true artists to start their own business and that is that they love it! I’ve written articles about the joys and setbacks of the stained glass business at and there really are moments where it’s all worthwhile, that the struggle is worth it.

So I recommend that you give it a try, start slowly and test the waters. You don’t need to get a small business loan or sell the family heirlooms to raise capital. Just get a few hand tools, and maybe a grinder or a saw and start in your basement or garage, building a few pieces of glass.

If it gets frustrating, you may decide to bake bread or paint for a living. But if you find it to be a joy, then expand and expand till you are forced to break forth into a “real” business. Remember that you don’t need to start with business cards and licenses to begin. You simply begin to build one window and then another. Most stained glass artists I know started in exactly that same way. Good Luck!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

How To Build A "Double Foam" Crate -Sept 2007

When a window arrived at a clients address, with a slight crack in the border glass, we were very glad that we had built the crate to specifications. The insurance on the parcel was more than enough to cover the replacement of the glass, but it is a nuisance to have to build or repair the glass and the customer is inconvenienced.

Read the whole article with pictures by clicking the title above.