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Artist Spotlight: Iron Chinchilla

Artist Spotlight: Iron Chinchilla

Patrick Neuwirth has been the owner and lead artist for the Iron Chinchilla Design Studio since the doors opened in April 2001.

Describe Your Work

Each design is handmade using a "cold bend" technique, and the most basic of hand tools making each item unique..

How did you get started in the crafts business?

My design career begin almost by accident. I had been working as a line welder for several years and bartending at night when I was approached by the owner of the restaurant to weld up some new table bases she had designed. When I started to fabricate them, I noticed that, with a simple design change, the tables would have a much more unique flair, more fitting of the trendy nature of the restaurant. She went crazy for my changes and started seeking my input and hiring me for other work.

What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?

For me, the best way to reach out to buyers is online. On the retail side, Instagram and Facebook have been invaluable to attract new customers and reminding old customers that I am still around. For wholesale, IndieMe has been wonderful to reach buyers in both Brick and Mortar stores and catalog buyers. Lastly, I have an outside sales rep that traverses Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico with a box full of samples, getting the product in the hands of buyers.

How long have you been wholesaling?

We began reaching out to the wholesale market in 2002 and it now comprises about 75% of our total business.

How has IndieMe helped your business?

I have been a member of IndieMe from the very beginning. They have been invaluable in getting my products in front of buyers all over the country. The staff is great to work with and always willing to help you reach your advertising goal.

What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?

At this time, I estimate 75% of my total yearly sales are wholesale, due mostly to the catalogs that place large order all at once. The remainder is retail through social media and my studio location.

What advice do you have for new craft artists?

I always advise new artists to design at least a few pieces that can be easily replicated. You will be surprised how much easier it is to make 100 of product when you have a comprehensive production routine. And there is no better way to make your bank account grow than to partner with galleries across the country to help you sell your product.

What advice do you have for new craft galleries?

I have always had the best luck with gallery owners that ask questions. Get to know the story behind the artists you are representing and be prepared to answer questions from your customer about production techniques and materials used.

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