How did you get work when you were starting out?
January 12, 2014 1:05 PM Subscribe
In November 2013 I started a metalworking shop. My background is specialty metalworking, so bending, fabrication, forming, fine welding, metal patina, etc etc. There is a niche in Vancouver for this kind of fabrication, the work is there, my question is how do I chase it down?
posted by seagull.apollo to Work & Money (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
So far most of the jobs have come by word of mouth and through personal connections. This has been fine to start however I am now in a position where I would like to be taking on more work in order to expand my shop beyond the initial investment I've already made. This means getting bigger, and higher profile work, jobs that either pay well, photograph well, or (ideally!) both.
Some potentially useful background information:
1) I have a website but it's basically a nice looking landing page with a contact form. My reason for not expanding this at this time is that most of the high profile work I've done in the past has been when working for other people, so I'm not comfortable putting photos of work up what was not completely designed or overseen by me personally. Stepping out on my own means that my personal portfolio is lagging behind my professional abilities.
2) The main competitive difference between myself and other shops is fine finishing; the use of acid patinas, brushed and abraded metal finishes, and unusual metals (brass copper bronze) in the products that I create.
3) In a sense I am succeeding somebody who I worked for in the past. This former employer is no longer involved in metalworking due to personal issues (bizarrely his website is still active) however I am renting the same space he used to be in, and I can do all the work that he did when he was in business. I have personal relationships with some of the clients he had, however many of the bigger ones he kept close to his chest and I was therefore involved in fabricating the projects but had no personal connection to them. Obviously any artistic vocation is a personal thing, and I have no desire to crib his style, but I recognize this connection to somebody who was successful in the custom metalworking game as something I can potentially capitalize on.
4) As mentioned, this shop is in Vancouver BC.
Of course this question is mostly targeted at artisan trades and other creative businesses, however there are successful models everywhere and I would love to hear what you did that worked when you were young and just beginning, no matter what the vocation.
I am cognizant of the dreaded 'chatfilter' and strive to avoid it, however if you need more information on the business I'm happy to provide it. If it is a general clarification or question you think someone else might find useful then please ask in this thread, otherwise send me a PM and I will respond as soon as possible.