Monday, October 17, 2011

My experience with Indie Made......NOT awesome!

My six month contract with the downtown Boise Artist's coop shop has come to an end. I decided not to renew my contract mainly because I lost a brick ton of money on the venture.
I am not bitter about my sales not being great. I knew the risks going in and what is life without risks?
But overall it was not a great experience for a few reasons. The first and foremost reason was that I had no control over the display of my items. That was definitely not what I was led to believe when I joined. I was told that I had my own shelf and I could do with it as I pleased. I could bring in inventory and remove inventory whenever I wanted to. It wasn't until two months in that I found out differently. I did not in fact have control over how my items were displayed. My inventory was constantly being moved around the shop so I never had any idea what sold, what didn't and where my items were located.
This bothered me but I just rolled with it and trusted that they knew what they were doing. In retrospect I should have sat down with someone and had everything explained to me in black and white.
What it comes down to is they needed my rent money and therefore found me and solicited me in the first place. They did this one week before the grand opening of the shop. I only had four days to get enough inventory together to have a decent representation of my work for the grand opening. I mention this only because everyone was so busy no one had time to spend with me. Again, I just rolled with it.
A few other things bothered me too. For instance my paperwork was lost not once but twice. Several times people contacted me to get my tax forms in and no one knew what was going on with my contract. I am an extremely responsible and vigilant person when it comes to stuff like this. Up front they had all the necessary forms and a check for 6 months advance rent. So this was not cool at all.
And another thing that made me feel pretty bad was that I was being hounded to renew my contract only 3 months in. In fact I got a pretty snarky email pressuring me to renew. The reason I was being pressured was that no one knew when my contract actually ended. HELLOOOOO?!?!?!!?
The worst thing of all is that they lost $281 dollars worth of my inventory. It just came up missing. No one knows what happened to it. I am hoping someday that it will show up as I hate to think that it may have gotten stolen.
Of course I expected to be reimbursed for this but they expected me to just take the loss. I am still incredulous about this. If I had been in control of my own inventory this never would have happened.
One of the managers gave me $100 check out of his own pocket to appease me. It doesn't even cover half of that particular loss but this manager did not have to do anything and truthfully I don't feel great about taking his money.
The end to this story is an unfortunate one. Mostly for me as my losses are well over $1,000. I had high hopes of making friends and participating in the spirit of community. And I had hoped to at least break even.
Ah well, this is a dark chapter in what has mostly been a great career as an artist.
Lot's of lessons have been learned....albeit super expensive ones.
In conclusion I wish the shop and all the artists all the success in the world! And hopefully because of my experience future members will be treated better!

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