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Back in the 90s a lot of work I did came from interior designers and decorators. There was a year in the mid 90s where I don’t think I made much in between drapery rods and hardware. It seemed a lot different then. I have been away for a while but returning, all the folks in that field seem to be just painting homes shades of grey, filling them with cheap big box store furniture and not using any ironwork. Have things really changed that much?

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Jason, yes, taste and trends in architecture and interior decorating change over the years.  Everyone wants something "new" and innovative to set them apart from everyone else.  What was popular 25 or 30 years ago might as well be 250 or 300.  But it is cyclical and tastes and trends come around again but it is hard to predict if what was "in" 25 or 30 years ago will again be popular next year or in 50 years.

It also depends where you are geographically.  If you are in the American Southwest Spanish Colonial or Territorial things are pretty evergreen an there is a constant demand.  In the Rocky Mountains folk always like ranch or lodge themes.  In New England Colonial seems to always have its fans.  But some places just don't seem to have the same roots and seem to go with whatever is the current trend.  I think this is particularly true in big cities like NYC, Chicago, or LA.

At the other end of the scale I have heard someone here on IFI say that something that costs $20 or less and looks good in a double wide will always have a market.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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PS  Francis Whittaker once said that there is always room at the top but, unfortunately, that is a narrow niche and hard to break into.  Even though I have pretty much worked carft shows and ethnic events and sometime done what I think is pretty well in that niche I have had to plan and strategize markets, target demographics, inventory balance, etc..  There is a LOT more to it than just being a good blacksmith whether you are just trying to make a hobby pay for itself or trying to have a significant revenue source.

And, yes, there are a LOT of ticky-tacky homes being built and furnished.  People are moving out of the cities and there is a big push for low and middle income housing and that often means multi-unit dwellings, condo and apartments.  Not much call for hand made fixtures there.  And given high mortgage rates and the cost of even "mid" level homes folk don't have the money for custom and unique fixtures.


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