After painting my art studio walls the most perfect shade of gray (Portland Twilight), I have finally been inspired to fill up one of the walls with various photos, paintings, drawings and memorabilia. I am quite happy with how it turned out!
Having an idea jet off in a completely different direction than when you started is slightly frightening but mostly exciting! This is precisely what happened when I began to revamp my second Etsy shop. I had planned on separating some of my drawings, turn them into some sweet designs (Patterns? A logo? Who knows?) and maybe print them on cards or notepads. I had stationery in mind, and home goods for the far away future. I ended up making a u-turn–I started a new e-commerce website from scratch and created an entire brand around a set of designs!
The new website is Girl With a Crown. My first collection is entitled Girls, and is, very simply, a sweet little collection featuring my drawings of girls with various personalities. This collection has zipper pouches, a tote, various mugs and T-shirt’s in many color ways! I’m just beyond excited to launch this and have it grow in a very organic way. I can’t believe I got this far working on my days off from my full time job and after work, and it’s thrilling to do right before the holidays.
Thank you to all of my friends, family, and loyal followers and supporters. Your support means the world to me and without your encouragement throughout the years, I know I couldn’t have come this far without it.
It’s crazy that it is already almost the end of March! I have been busy working during the day and working on my art when I am at home. I have had a few extra days off and while I would love more hours, I’m loving the time off at home to work on my art business!
After reading a few articles regarding the death of brick and mortar stores, I am still not convinced that physical shops will go away completely. Even millennials that have been accustomed to online shopping earlier than their Generation X counterparts still enjoy that personal connection of going into a store, choosing something, holding something, and purchasing it from a human being. I have only garnered this from my daily interactions at my retail day job, and have no “official” studies to go off of other than my own observations. I thoroughly enjoy that personal connection to a favorite boutique or gallery. Art in particular is such a personal choice, and I truly believe that independent business owners that have that dream of having a brick and mortar will succeed if they are able to stand out as a unique and inviting business, using the ways of social media to their benefit.
That being said, retail spaces still need to be affordable. I have been on the hunt for a small retail space and it has been difficult to come by in a price range that I would feel confident affording every month, especially when I am just starting out. The search continues! Even if I cannot afford a space on a permanent basis, I’d love to have a small, weekend space or booth somewhere. It would be a great way to meet new customers and show my art in various areas other than online.
I rediscovered a perfectly sized sketchbook when I was cleaning up this week and started drawing again. This spring has been slow to start but with the new season my brain has been refreshed and the ideas are flowing again. Maybe I’ll get into a retail space this year, maybe I won’t. Either way, I’ll be plugging away at putting ideas to paper and canvas.
Well, this winter has been an odd one by Oregon standards. I’ve only been here just over 4 years and this has been a weird season to say the least! I have to say though, this Alaskan girl is loving the snow. We actually had a white Christmas! It’s the little things.
I’m back to the grindstone at a part time job, another creative one that will hopefully be fulfilling and fun. So far it has been! I have always had a love for floral design since my days at a large retailer, and now I am at a smaller retailer. It’s great to be in such a specialized business where creativity is appreciated on a larger level! The blessings in disguise-besides a steady paycheck!-are my sweet coworkers. All of them are artists/creatives in some way or another. From day one we have encouraged each other. While we may work in retail for most of our days, we have to find time to be creative, to create, to find space in our day(s) to keep at our craft.
This is something I have struggled with while paying down my lovely student loan debt. Will I ever work on my art full time? Will I always be working for someone else? Did I make a giant mistake by deciding to go back to school for a while, only to have a super clear vision of what I want as a freelance artist and leave? I have such solid support from my coworkers and my friends and family, and I know that when I look back at this time, I need to be at peace with my decisions. It will all come in time, I remind myself daily. I need to keep working at my craft, to continue being persistent with my art submissions and to not give up when I get rejected. It’s not a terrible thing to work for someone else, I am not knocking that at all. I have done that for more than half of my life and have had some amazing mentors, managers, and coworkers along the way. I have learned so much from them, from how to properly treat your employees and others to running a business efficiently and with a smile on your face (a genuine one at that!).
I recently watched the movie La La Land and absolutely loved it. It was a fresh, positive, bright star in a sea of repetitive action, poor comedic plots and sequels. Its tagline is “Here’s to the fools who dream.” I want to continue to be that dreamer. For everyone out there that works by night at their craft, keep on keeping on. Don’t give up. Know that where you are now can change, and it might take longer than you think, and that’s ok. Don’t listen to society, there is no timeline.
The Bend Fall Festival was amazing, one of the best shows I have been to so far! The patrons were very friendly and the turnout was awesome. I received so much good feedback and met some great and talented people.
On the first day, I had my booth situated to where I stood outside of it, allowing customers to come through and view both tables. This set up did not garner much foot traffic. The next day, with the help of my husband, we rearranged the tables to where one was in front and one was in back, rather than two tables on either side that created a walkway. This was SO much more conducive to foot traffic and letting people stop by and check things out. I’m sure it was less intimidating for us to be situated towards the back of the booth rather than in the front of the booth greeting everyone immediately. Lesson learned!
I have another event I am participating in, this time for the holidays. It is the Portland Holiday Food and Gift Festival at the Oregon Convention Center! I’m really stoked about this event as well. It is a 3 day event, with other makers and artisans and food vendors, and it is a super fun holiday gathering for Christmas shoppers to get into the spirit of the season! My booth will be a bit different this time around. For one, I will not need a canopy since the event is indoors. Also, I will be able to sell my jewelry there, so I will have a different merchandising mind set when setting up my booth.
On to the next as they say! Hopefully I can continue this pace next year as well and get into more shows and events. It’s a blast and I thoroughly enjoy planning out and executing my booth. Good luck to all of you small business owners out there this holiday season!
Art festivals are always exciting and panic attack inducing times! I say panic attack inducing thanks to a crazy dream (or nightmare, depending on how you look at it) that involved me running around Bend like a crazy person because I left half of my supplies, fixtures and art at home and home is 3 hours away. Nothing went right, shelves broke and art disappeared, and I had 10 helpers but no real help. I woke up absolutely terrified that it actually happened and jumped out of bed to make my giant to do list for the festival this weekend in Bend, Oregon. Enter coffee, Pandora music, and food!
Thankfully, I try to stay pretty organized and keep a lot of my art show/festival supplies together and well stocked. I made labels, ordered an updated promotional sign for my booth, shared the event on various social media outlets, and took inventory of my paintings, drawings, and prints. The rest of the week is all about creating some fresh drawings and maybe a few more paintings to round out my collection for the weekend. After checking several more things off of my to do list, I feel less anxious about the coming weekend. The only major thing I have left to do is to spray paint some wood for some fixtures my amazing husband is helping me build! I wanted to create a nice way to display prints and drawings without having to just have baskets full of prints to flip through (even though that’s one of my favorite things to do as a customer). I’ll post photos after the festival!
Honestly I think I’ve done pretty well so far considering I only found out a week and a half ago that I was accepted into the festival. What’s your routine in preparing for a big art event? Do you ensure you are stocked up throughout the year? Or do you enjoy to pressure to create work in a short amount of time? I like having prints ready and plenty of paintings for sale, but I also like coming up with fresh paintings right before an event, especially when I have the luxury of working from home and getting into a creative zone.
My coloring book, “Flowers & Sunshine” is available for pre-order! Go to https://goo.gl/mhBeCh to order now! Ships next week!
The book is 40 pages of drawings done by me this year. It’s printed right here in Portland! I hope to get it into some bookstores soon, for now it is available through my Etsy shop through the link I posted.