"As artists living in one of the most expensive country in the world, competing with mass production from low pay countries, how on earth are we going to pull this off”: my wife asked me when we where starting out and building up Hraun art and design. "We can not compete with mass produced products and their prices."
"You know that this would fit a stylish young independet woman that dares to be different, like some of my friends”: , she said. "I design it for me and our daughter and here friends and those that are not afraid of creating their own style. I probably create it for the Icelandic business women and art lover, but do we find the likes of them here? We are in Norway you know, what do we really know about the stiles here”: , she said and smiled at me.
"There are people with money and style in Bergen just like in most any place other in the world”:- I said trying to be more optimistic. "There are people out there that want things that are special, some thing no one else has or can get their hands on. We just have to reach out to them. Find them and let them know about our products. It is not easy and its going to take time but I think we can make it. It is worth the try and will be fun."
Playing optimist pessimist is some thing that we have done since we started dating. I get a crazy idea and she hacks it down until there stands nothing left and if I can not rebuild it and sell it to her the idea drops dead. The same goes for her when she gets even crazier ideas, then its my turn to twist them and turn and for her to sell me the idea and convince me. This has usually led to some of the craziest adventures we have taken like biking in the highlands of Iceland or back packing in Copper Canyon Mexico or sell every thing we own and live in a camper, driving the americas for two year. And this is the experience we draw from in our art and design.
It turns out that we where both right and wrong. We opened up a retail in Bergen and with in the first hour a young man from Moldavia had bought a necklace and a bracelet for his loved one. He wanted to give here some thing extra special and had been roaming around in Bergen trying to find it and just stumbled up on us. And so it was through out the summer our clients where just the ones we wanted. Educated sophisticated, culture and art loving people with nose for design and unique pieces of jewelry and leather design.
The tourist season ended and things turned. This month I have been going through the books to do the annual taxes and looking at our clients and those that I remember we had the from all over the world. Moldavia, Hungary, France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan Germany, Iceland, Denmark and USA but strangely enough the fewest of them where from Norway and if they where they where tourists in Bergen.
We knew that we had to change course immediately and started working on the website. Some thing we just did not have the time to think about when opening the retail shop.
Since opening retail and closing again we have heard about people spotting others with our products in trendy bars and it tickles our vanity. We have had people contacting us through the web to ask us for custom made unique items and we keep on creating new design all the time. We have had people come for the third and forth time buying for them selfs or to give as gift and we love it. We have the clients that we want and they are coming through the web from all over the world.
Our customers are not necessarily rich, but they have money and they appreciate things made by hand that are unique and personal and gives them their own style. This still has not made us rich or famous but it has given us joy. Creating for some one that really knows what he is getting in terms of craftsmanship gives us extra boost. This is why we still have had no complaint and no customer request or question that we have not been able to deal with. If we get famous for that then bring on the joy. We are already rich of experience and good relations with our customers.
Dare to be different and enjoy life. That is really being rich.