CUSTOM DESIGNS JUST FOR YOU
Dear Editor: (April 2020) - WRITTEN TO THE EVERETT HERALD NEWSPAPER
DON’T FORGET US - THEY DID NOT PUBLISH THIS! (Edited 9/24/20 for my webpage)
The Corona Virus has devastated many of us. There is much talk about our heroic front line personnel, suffering restaurant owners, hair stylist, small business etc., but have the forgotten been forgotten: Artist’s who are sole proprietors.
Yes, we’re the ones sitting at home, making our product and have nowhere to sell it. We aren’t essential. We are working but aren’t earning a dime.
On March 2, 2020, my business took a turn when the state went into lock down. The spring and summer - and now winter shows where I sell my jewelry, ALL cancelled. That’s 33 out of 35 markets, festivals, fairs, and shows CANCELLED! NO REVENUE for 9 months .
I’ve applied for grants, SBA Paycheck Protection Program, Washington Unemployment benefits …anything I can to recoup funds and to stay afloat. I’ve been denied all the art and small business grants because so many have applied, or I don’t have a brick and mortar store in the city I live in or I don't meet their specific criteria of minority/gender etc.. I did receive a $1,000 loan from the SBA PPC, but since I don’t pay myself a salary (W2), I have to pay back $750 and 1% interest. I used this money to develop a website. I am trying to sell my product on line and be creative different ways.
I write this because I want you to know that my fellow artists who are vendors at these shows are all in the same situation! We have to prepay for the rental of booths/tables for our shows in the month of January. (Yes, we have received refunds for the cancelled shows –EXCEPT for the $25-$30 jury fee - and Taste of Tacoma $300 NOT returned!!!-that have not been returned to us) We also have to have product ready for shows. In January, many of us order a lot of supplies to make our products. This means we go into DEBT in January and February. We rely on spring, summer and winter shows to make back our money and make wages to live on. Farmer markets are opening up, but only essential products can be sold (veggies, food). - this happened through June and some of July. I participated in the Everett Market August and some of September. Thank you to the wonderful Market masters and customers! You are awesome!
Here we sit. As some of the business and state is opening up, we aren’t. Restaurants can sell with take out or limited seating. Hairdressers and brick and mortar stores are opening up. We aren’t and can’t.
My hope is for you and our government agencies to be aware that artists don’t fit in any category. Don’t forget our small businesses who don’t have employees, who don’t have ANY way to sell our art, who aren’t considered essential, who are probably in debt, and who are struggling to make a living without any way to do so - until –maybe September. -----NOT---Maybe December now?
If you can and are able to do so, support an artist. Here’s how:Go onto their webpage and make a purchase. Buy gift cards! Make a donation. Call them and encourage them!
Uniquely Designed Jewelry