There are a handful of teddy bear artist who sells bear fulltime in Singapore. Sadly I'm not one of them.... It's a dream... may be if I strike lottery first.
Selling teddy bear is a great way to pay for the mohair. Before I sold bears, I could only affored every few mohair and stopped making bears for months 'cos it was taking a lot of savings. After I started selling bears, I ended up collecting mohair...
It's great that the hobby can sustain itself. And I get to keep those teddies and friends that I love the most and can't bear to part with it. If this was a business, I'd probably have to sell them off too!
I would hate the pressure of 'having' to make a bear. I totally close down when I'm pressured.
Becoming a bear maker has been the best thing to ever happen for me. I would hate to ruin it.
I'm in it purely for the artistic and creative output. I have no problems giving away my bears.My heart breaks when and if I find they are'nt being cared for though.
I don't try to sell my bears...I just enjoy making them. Like Kim, I work full-time in a law firm. My husband is now retired but his pension is only slightly less than my income. I don't smoke or drink so I figure the excess money I'm saving by not doing those things can go to my hobby. My husband is ok with this because it helps keep me sane and un-stressed!
Well, this has been very interesting to read.
I really appreciate all your honest responses.
See, I've planned to try and sell my bears, poly clay sculptures etc, part - time.
I think I would need to keep my day job for sure, at least 20 - 30 hours a week. That way, if all goes wrong, I'll still be able to eat, and not give the boyfriend a reason to complain.
But it's going to be tough to get there. I have to think of my time in a hourly wage. I make $XX.xx an hour at work. So in order for me to live off bear making, I would have to make about that much. But man, as you guys know it's tough. Very few of us make a decent hourly wage, and you have to include, ebay auction time, research time, shopping time etc. It's all part of it. Plus, so far, I'm very slow at bearmaking, so I would have to sell my bears for tonnes of money.
So, I decided to try for part-time bearmaking. Still a good goal if you ask me. If not, it's good extra money, pays my hobbies and it's just cool to be able to say I make money selling my art. How cool is that??
I know lots of the fairy artists on ebay. Some of them make good money, and their works sells for hundreds of dollars. But the fact still remains, that I make more money and work less hours. It can take 4 hours just to make a pair of hands. If not longer!!!!
But a small few make it, and good for them. Gives the rest of us hope, because in the end, I would much rather sit at home making teddies, then sitting at an office building downtown.
Okay, my rant for the day.
Anyone want to buy a bear.......... LOL
I am slowly collecting the work of you gals here... I wish I would have had the money to adopt little Phoebe... but I didnt and I know you will have more great little bears... it just wasnt meant to be right now.... (: I dont know if I will ever be able to afford a Shelli, a Sue Ann, a Jenny or a Judi but those will be my first purchases if I win the lotto!!! :pray: :pray: :pray: :pray: - sorry gals, my mortgage has to come first LOL
It's definitely not an easy job to make a good profit each year. I am solely responsible for paying my own mortgage, household bills, etc etc and as such, have to make the bears pay. I don't think I'd manage if I wasn't also accepting rent from my two children to top me up. That said, the bulk of responsibility has to be met by the bears and yes, that does sometimes take the joy out of the job.
I plan my cash flow forecasts very carefully and use spreadsheets to run my accounts, so that I know down to the last penny, how much I need to earn each month to stay afloat. This isn't a job for the faint hearted that's for sure. Don't let anyone tell you it's an easy way to make money ... it truly isn't!
Mind you, when I think about the alternative of going back into paid employment, I shudder. I love being my own boss!
Wow, I was asking myself the same question and thought that I'd get more 'it took me several years to get there but I'm making a good even if smaller income and I'm able to live on bears making'. I always live a little out of reality though, an artist characteristic maybe. I'm quite new in bears making but because they are so long to make I was wondering how it was possible to sell enough to live. Thanks for all your truthful and generous answers I think this will be helpful for me.
My bears were a GREAT additional income BUT then I 'tried' to make a living out of my bears when Hubby became ill and had to quit his job......Having a health condition myself, working outside of my home was never an option for me so we relied solely on my bears and believe me that was the absolute WORST time of my life ever....the stress of 'having' to sell my bears was so great it was unbearable..... I simply couldn't make ends meet...I could NOT sew enough bears without compromising quality, which I won't do! Mind you, I can't slap them together...I have to take my time creating them no matter if we were depending on it or not....PLUS the more I needed to sell them, the less they seemed to sell! In the end we were living solely on credit cards as there simply was not enough income to pay the bills, let alone live some sort of comfortable lifestyle!
The stress got too much for me, I became so ill myself I had to give up the bears....One day I picked one up and tried to sew BUT I simply couldn't do it anymore. :-( Thankfully Hubby got well again and started to work again or we really would of been in the gutter! It was the absolute worst time for me....I never felt so alone in my life and you know when you are relying on your bears selling, and they don't, it kinda feels like a persional rejection of sorts....don't know if that makes sense to anyone BUT I felt like I was being kicked when I was already down.......It is only NOW that I realise the industry as a whole was experiencing a down turn around that time....and with the value of the Aussie Dollar going up, those things had an impact on my sales and it took along time for me to come to terms with those things being out of my control and NOT a failure on my part....'cause thats what I felt like...A HUGE failure .....I couldn't even support my family for a year or 2..................
Anyway....I was 'away' from bears for more than 2 years.....I simply could NOT face making a bear..... Then one day towards the end of last year, out of the blue I 'felt' like making a bear, so I did and I actually ENJOYED it again....something I thought would NEVER be possible again.....and I haven't stopped since! BUT......for me it is just a hobby now.....A little bit of extra spening money now and again BUT NEVER will I EVER try to make ends meet again from my bear making!! PLUS if my bears are taking their sweet time finding their new mum....then that is okay too....They are very selective!! LOL!
Gee....I got on my soap box a bit didn't I? I guess I still have some raw feelings in there that sometimes come pushing to the surface! Sorry if I bored anyone BUT it actually felt good talking about it.....
I'm the sole breadwinner of the family now that my wife is ill. I went into bear making, just over two years ago now with the modest hope of my hobby paying for itself. I actually came out in the black last year by $50. My first hobby to even come close to paying for itself. There is certainly not much of a market for tatting, my first hobby. I braided a rug or two and decided after the second one that that was WAY to much work to have somebody walk on. Quilting is even more labor intensive than bear making so even if I sold a quilt, which I didn't, I would be working for about .10 an hour.
Bear making is an escape for me. I need something to do with my hands as many of you also mentioned. It also keeps me from killing brain cells watching television :D
I also found that I like doing the bear shows. This is a way for me to get out and meet artists and collectors. You can't go wrong with meeting other bear lovers!
Happy bear trails,
for me - its a supplement
its helped with extras and other things
i have two businesses and - i have 3 kids so i work from home - my other side is im a creative memories consultant and i fit that round the family too !!!
plus i can turn to it when i have lost my muse or my fingers need a rest for being stabbed !!!
hubby works full time - phew ! some one has to pay that old mortgage job !
dilu and jenny had some good things to say xxx
Well it would be nice to be able to make a living from making teddy bears. I think it takes a lot of good marketing skills and budgeting and forecasting. In our case we are hoping that Steve will be able to quite his job and concentrate on bears full time within the next yr. I would be the lucky one who would get to continue to work full time since we both are covered by my benefits (dental , medical, plus a pension) so it would make sense for me to continue working (I"d prefer to stay home and play with teddy bears all day) :crackup: .
I believe Karen Lyons does it full time ( I remember her saying that in another thread but I could be wrong) Now if I win the lotto you can betcha I'd be quitting my job in a heartbeat .
Hi everyone! I was wondering about this topic too. I'm just getting people to finally take notice in my bears and haven't sold alot as of yet......my other half [I call him that because we are not married but have been together for 21 yrs. Why ruin it now? :crackup: ] has completely supported me and our just about 18 yr. old daughter. I tell my sister that being a stay at home mom is not a free ride either :pray: you are expected to do EVERYTHING now that I'm making bears it almost seems like he's jealous of the bears and the computer! They are so used to having my attention to them only that they forget about my happiness I know that it would be hard to actually make a living off of bear making and it must take some fun out of it :doh: The little I have made so far goes right back into supplies, and I love getting new stuff in the mail :clap: :clap:
What Kelly said!!!
I'm our 'income-reducer, working-at-a-loss, tax liability'. In 17 years, I've only once hade more income than expenses; the rest just lowers our tax bracket. Never had a 'salary' nor paid my Second-in-Commandd, DH. If I did it would be only for a tax advantage... and he'd sign the check and I'd immediately re-deposit it.
Our accountant is an avid collector and head of a GBW chapter/den. She KNOWS what goes into bearmaking so at least I don't have to explain my business to her!
"In our dreams!" we'd all be working at a profit, but we're the same as every other Fine Art field - a very very VERY few have made it to the top, by dint of hard work, putting in their time, talent and LOADS of luck in being in the right place at the right time.
You can work as hard as you possibly can but if it wasn't in the cards, you're not likely to become one of the few on top.
Thanks Christine for sharing the experience. Don't worry about annoying people . It was helpful for me and people who are not interested will just stop to read. :P
Thanks for your support! I could write a book about what has come my way since being in the bear industry! Sometimes people you don't even know and have never met can really make a difference to you in a very positive way BUT sometimes someone whom you 'think' is your BEST friend, can destroy your faith in people and kick you the hardest! Hey....maybe we could all share some of the things that 'bears' have brought to our lives, both good and bad?
I am saving my bear money for a new bike. --->$$$$<---
I've got a lot of bear making ahead of me. :P
So far, my bear making/selling has just paid for more bear making materials.
BUT... when I start getting alittle extra, a mircoscope is what will be first. (home-school-mom!)