Thursday, April 16, 2009

along the way

Most of this week has been spent brainstorming ideas about the business beyond list-relist of Etsy, painting, and keeping up with chores.

When I am painting regularly I often feel invigoration and optimism for building a livelihood with this. This week I started a painting Monday morning, and my excitement about working on it, finishing, photographing and Flickr-ing has lasted throughout the week. It feels good, too, to have had a pretty successful week (even when that does not translate into sales). There is something to be said for a slow moving Etsy shop, in that it has really pushed me to work much harder. Actually, I seem to be seeing those words everywhere when artists talk about a successful craft (or art) business~ its "lots of work". I began the month by pulling my hair out over seeing those words over and over, thinking~ but what does that mean!?

The saving grace for myself and keeping the shop through these lean times has been that I'm part of a group of friends and neighbors who are meeting and forming marketing strategies together. That, and I have one of the most supportive, encouraging, rallying sisters the good God put on this earth. All of us own and operate our small businesses alone, and though we are in completely different stages, types of business, and financial situations, everybody has come to the table with the same basic understanding of what the process is like. For my own business what that has meant has been to spread the net so much larger than the small comfort of Etsy. I'm investigating local businesses who I also hope to support and form relationships with. Right now two of the local shops I'm selling ouou cards in are:

Piccolina 2700 se 26th Avenue Portland, OR 97202 (26th and Clinton) a children's boutique selling *lots* of handmade clothes from local moms as well as furniture, toys and shoes, and at the Children's Exchange 3121 se Division Portland, OR 97202. Children's Exchange is a resale kid's shop with clothes, gear, and tons of local art.

At the same time, I'm exploring other ways to create art, both similar to the pen and ink style and not. These two kids were painted with gouache, I love the richness of these colors and the painterly texture gouache has. The hard work comes from just how many i's and t's you must dot/ cross in the kaleidoscope of business concerns. Painting, for me, is so encouraging, but even these works being "finished" means their life as a reproduced piece of work has just begun. I'm familiar with the gears grinding inside my Etsy shop, all the many steps that go on behind that $9.00 you just spent, but expanding into brick & mortar, mailings, prints and original art sales, silkscreen, craft shows, and Street Teams each have their own small universe of opportunity and sweat. As always, I'll let you know what hurdles I miss and what works along the way. For now, the more I see where the work is and what the work entails, the more I'm reassured that it is very satisfying.


Karen said...

I think the most important part is that you're doing what you love to do! And that IS very satisfying :) It's great that you have such a wonderful support group to help you along the way!

Behind ouou said...

I forgot to write something like "You know, this community is why (we) moved here- and *still* I'm shocked at how beautifully it has come together." Karen, you got right to the important stuff :)
I consider you part of my support group too. Thank you!

mushroommeadows said...

I love the brightness of your illustration! Super!!!