This year sure is flying by. After a long and dry summer, I sure am glad we are finally getting cool days and cooler nights. This is absolutely my favorite time of year. October is special for me because it is also my wedding anniversary month. We chose October for our weeding, so we could have the fall colors in the trees around us as we made our vows to each other. Our cake had orange edible leaves instead of flowers for decoration. That was eleven years ago on October 13th. It seems a bit longer than eleven years because our first date was on June 13th, 25 years ago. Yep, it took us a while, but all good things are worth the wait. – At least that’s what I kept telling her.
She finally had enough and put me in a head lock until I proposed.
-JUST KIDDING- sorry babe. Just a joke. Ya’ll calm down.
But on the serious side – All marriages have their ups and downs and we have seen our fair share, but I’ll tell you what, there’s nothing better than sharing a home and raising a family with my wife. She really does inspire me in so many ways.
As part of my warm up for the fall season I tried something new, I had my first print sale. I wanted to thank you all who supported me with this sale and purchased a print. It means the world to me that you would choose my art to hang in your homes. Again, thank you!!
This print sale was more than a means to make money – and at the discount I gave, I didn’t make much. The true intent of this sale was for a learning experience for me and a chance for you all to get a great print at a great price. This learning experience was part of my marketing plan that I put together over the summer and I needed to test the waters a bit. Here’s what this sale did for me:
I took the print off a third-party site and added it to my website. I am still using the 3rdparty for their print on demand work but instead of driving traffic to them I am driving traffic to me and my website. I’d rather pay to promote my business then theirs. This may sound bad but the street has two way traffic and they are not promoting me so… - you see my point? In the long run this creates more work for in processing the orders, but it is well worth it.
Adding the pictures to my website also gave me an understanding of what was needed – I had a full bleed picture, my daughter holding the picture for size reference, and one with the print framed on the wall in a room. Remember the last blog where I talked about fixing the picture in Photoshop? The picture of my daughter holding the print can be used over and over just by inserting a new print image. Same goes for the room mock up – I just insert a new frame or a new picture into the frame. There’s a lot of work in this stuff and it makes sense to not reinvent the wheel with every new painting. It takes a good day or so to create these few images and if I wanted to add 25 items to my store next month then you could see my dilemma – I wouldn’t have time to paint. As the promotion ran it’s course, I got a lot of nice feedback regarding the pictures for validation that you all liked them. This tells me all this hard work is justified.
I created an entire promotional plan just for this sale and I as I worked through to implement the plan I took notes and deleted things or added things to make it flow better. With this new plan all tested and refined I can now add whatever I want (another print sale, an original sale, maybe I want to sell mugs, or maybe I want to give a discount to my entire store) and I’ll know exactly what I need to prepare beforehand, what I need to do during and what needs to be followed up after the sale. It looks easy but there’s a bit of behind the scenes work to do. Most companies have a team of people doing this. I just got me. I put a lot of work into this promotion plan and I have other plans for it– I’m diversifying – more news on this in due time.
Advertising!! I advertised on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I took notes, a lot of notes! Through statistics I learned what worked and what didn’t, and I spent just about all my profits doing this. But the next sale will be focused, and I’ll have a better understanding how to advertise. This is one of those – You need money to make money moments – I was fortunate enough make enough money to cover the costs but I was also willing to lose for sake of the experience.
There’s more stuff that went on but I don’t want you all to feel like your were used and abused too much. But, a lot of notes were taken and things learned that will propel me forward in my next few years as an artist. Dum, Dum Dummmm…(scary foreboding music played through my head as I wrote this last sentence – I don’t know why.)
Again, thank you all who purchased a print.
One last thing to cover for this Newsletter. My painting Queen Beatriz will be on display this month and the opening reception is ---October 13th. Sound familiar – yep my anniversary day. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend as we had previously made and paid for other arrangements to celebrate our anniversary. I am very sorry to miss this opening, but I hope you all can attend and help me make this show a success.
Here’s the details:
Toil Art Gallery
Mind and Mill Headquarters
3615 Main Street, Suite 103
Riverside, CA 92501
6:00pm – 9:00pm
I will have my framed Queen Beatriz painting on display along with four other smaller bee paintings. This is a group show there will be other great artists work on display too. The show will help raise money for the UCR Entomology Department, so they can further their research on the Colony Collapse Disorder that is an ongoing issue with our Honey Bees lately. It’s a good cause and even if you do not purchase a piece of art a simple drink purchase will help them raise some money. Let’s all remember that this issue does not just effect the bees, it effects us as well.
Take care and have a wonderful fall season.