THE ART OF IMPORTING HAND BLOWN GLASS!
ART GLASS is HOT. Utilitarian, affordable DRINKING glasses would be a VERY SMART thing to make abroad at third world factories, at local, small glassworks where they already have ovens and blow glass http://www.electroglass.com/egflinks.htm
This page has many artists and their websites/ work. I picked out just one, SATAVA glass in CHICO, California--- the jellyfish sculpture, fabulous! Anything handblown that had a space for illumination, perhaps from a BASE, so light built in underneath, would be an ocular treat. But to build a glass factory from scratch in AMERICA is costly. To farm out to one, equally so. So visit TLAQUEPAQUE in GUADALAJARA, a suburb, where glass factories abound and see what you can pay for l00 glasses a week, shipped by rail in jacales (mimbre cages,) to you in your city.
Find a maestro of Stained glass, near the glass factory as he can utilize broken chips he gets for free for WINDOWS that you sell to people building, who can then create a door with window the size of your original piece. These leaded pane things always seem to cost thousands.
Then there are glass sculptures and lamps, the TIFFANY KIND OF BLOWN GLASS shade, Mushroom shaped. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GLASS WORK I HAVE SEEN IS an American designer who does light box panes or WINDOW PANES. Louis Comfort Tiffany would have been proud to do these designs, himself back at turn of the other century. She is phenomenal, inspiring. Bookmark her page and take these designs to starving third world countries and make something along the lines of her leaded windows there. Ship in crates made of wood, heavily padding the leaded window so no bounce or jostle, cardboard to protect it from intruding objects that could shatter a pane.
LEADED GLASS FANS: Having heard of a friend's wife dying of liver cancer after years of using LEAD in her stained glass, I recommend everyone wear gas masks as this stuff can be inhaled. Gloves to prevent lead on fingers getting into mouth at lunch time. There are probably new bonding agents other than lead. IN USA glassblowers charge fifty each for drinking Glasses. Blown lamps cost hundreds if not thousands each. So you make similar stuff in CHINA or MEXICO, you can put a 50$ price on it, still high but competitive. BUT NO LEAD, HEAR?
There is, interestingly, a list of galleries that rep the SATAVA glass, dozens of names, which they give to you. No reason you couldn't give photos to chinese workers, make the glasses for 5$ or l0$ a piece. Maybe less by the hundred. But I wouldn't buy in America. I'd go outside.
ALT IDEA Apprentice at a glass factory, get a good rep as a blower, then apply to SBA for a loan to get your own furnace.
HOW TO SELL? Start with a website, great digital graphics of your line. Then find your US market by going to GIFT STORE OWNER CONVENTIONS for the GIFT INDUSTRY, Share a booth, find buyers that way. Or go to head office of the big home furnishings chains like CRATE AND BARREL, SONOMA WILLIAMS. LEARN from those who work in the gift show conventions how to do billing. If you have a gift convention attend it. make friends now with those who run gift stores. or the gift dept of local dept store. http://satava.com PAPERWEIGHTS are $200 each. not hard to undercut this price in China or Mexico. There are glassblowing factories in Tijuana, I've been there. Probably do paperweights for 5$ each by the hundred. A Big art glass blowing area is just outside of guadalajara in Tlaquepaque. VIDRIO AVALOS is huge. A five minute drive outside of Guadalajara. Their work usually looks like the vase at top of page here. But this one designer, MARIO REAL can imitate MURANO glass. So click on this URL here.
A TYPICAL LIST OF those you'd sell to once you have some designs, original ones, too, would be at SATAVA.
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