Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Business Tips Round 2

What are some things an artist can do during times when the sales well is dry, or crickets are chirping?

Some of the things I do that I have found to be useful are probably not new to all, but I find them to be of benefit and always seem to pay great dividends when I keep at them:

1. Don't complain..I know, it is hard not to. And when things aren't going to well it is easy to get on the gripe wagon
and think of whose fault it is that one is not selling hand over fist...okay, maybe not even a pinkie over fist. The economy gets blamed, the seasons , the lack of supplies, the lack of money to promote, the website one sells on, the internet SEO, even Great Aunt Ethel on your mother's cousin side can get the blame- but the truth is it could be any or none of those. The bottom line is complaining does little to help and using the slow time more positively is a way better choice!

2. Try upping the promoting during slow times, and try some new venues you haven't done before- Yes, I know, everyone uses Twitter, Facebook, and their blog to promote if they have one. That's good, but there are plenty of unusual ways to get people to know about your shop if you look around. A good start might be to google things like, "art wanted" or magazines that cater to your type of art work. (Magazines often hold contests and you could possibly enter what you do in them. You never know what could happen!) Blogs that center around jewelry, or parenting if you sell child related items can be a good place to try. Never miss a chance to hand out your business card. Keep a supply stashed with you so when the subject comes up of what you do, you can whisk out a card. It will happen, trust me! Always be on the alert for that opportunity that will let people know what you do. (Just don't make a pest of yourself, use good manners and judgement!)

3. Write down new ideas - During slow times one's creativity can get sluggish due to lack of inspiration. After all, what is more inspiring than to have people clammering to buy your art work? But when that slow time comes, it is a good time to go idea hunting for some fresh thoughts and ideas and begin working on them. You will be glad you did when things pick up and you have less time to go scouting around for something to create next. I keep a thick spiral notebook and keep it busy with scribbles. It keeps me busy and full of ideas to interject freshness in my art work!

4. Finally, try cleaning your work space...That is a biggie for me. You should see my floor during a work binge. Scraps of fabric and thread everywhere and piles of fabric stacked everywhere that I used but haven't yet placed back...scissors hidden beneath thread spools, trim and doodads needing to be placed back in drawers. I find when things are slowed down, it really aids my productivity to make everything back to neat organization. Clears drawers that stack are my best friend and the more I have the better. I am not a neat nick so to speak, but I detest my room being in a mess for long- and slow times give me that chance to regroup and make things better for the big pick up that is sure to come sooner or later!

Those are my tips for round 2 - I hope that they help you and increase your productivity in your creating business!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ways to Increase Your Business

Now let me start off by saying I am not an expert in the field of business...but that being said, I have been selling my art work online for going on three years, and each year there is a substantial increase in my sales. I have learned some things and thought I might share a few with you- just in case someone out there may benefit!

I have been fortunate enough to have been "discovered" and featured by some pretty notable places, such as the Today Show, Telegraph UK, Art Doll Quarterly Magazine, some museums, Showtime, and some others I won't bother to mention.
With all that, I know that there are many out there starting out and wanting to know how to do well when they start a business. Even if one has a long time established business, there is always room to learn more and improve!

While these tips I share won't be earthshaking or maybe not even new to you, they are for sure must haves in order to have some success in selling what you have! Are you ready? Here goes...

1. Have something people want to buy-

Want to sell crocheted kleenexes , peanut scented breath spray, battery operated socks with massage action, or anything else? Try to get a feel for what is already out there and how large a market you may have. And if you do want to sell something that is in a highly competitive market, make sure you have some ideas on how to really be distinctive in what you do. If you can't be different, you will have a tough time being found or getting people to want what you have!

2. Do your research and see what you will have to do before selling-

Making a bunch of items, popping them on a website and then sitting back and waiting for the sales to roll in just won't happen.
You have to know what you are getting into and do a lot of leg work before counting on making a bunch of easy cash. Easy cash is a term I cringe on since I just don't think there is such a thing. Know the laws of your state for selling online, or what have you. Ask lots of questions of those who have gone before you, read helpful articles, write out ideas for what you will sell, ideas for getting your business built step by step.

3. Be patient-

If you have done the above and now you are set up and wondering why the sales aren't pouring in, I have news for you...
they generally won't! Success in selling or in business is 99.9 percent of the time a waiting game. I know, you did not want to hear that, but it is true.

Success is built slowly in most cases, and one step at a time. It involves a wealth of patience, learning, rebounding from setbacks, and running into the occasional "break" that you just might get when the right person comes along and finds you. It involves a little bit of gambling too, since no one can really say for sure what form of advertising may trigger a boost in your business- It involves careful thinking about who your buyers are and where they may be. In other words, don't run an ad for your diamond encrusted tiaras in an agricultural magazine , or buy a commercial spot for your knitted dish towels during a football game...

And may I add, even the best of all business have dry spells and dips...you have to ride them out most of the time.

4. Customer service-

To me, this is a no brainer...but you would be surprised how many times I have heard other businesses and sellers say things like.."I don't have the time to say 'thank you', I'm too busy for that. I send their item to them and that is enough"...I hate to say so, but one should never be too busy or too important to say thank you to their customers!

If there is one huge tip I have for those in business it is this...Be as personable as you can. I don't mean you strike up a friendship with all of your customers, but letting them know you appreciate their patronage and are friendly and approachable is a good thing.

If they buy something, or have questions then be prompt as possible in your response. Show your appreciation by saying "thank you" and be polite for heaven's sake! You should never be too big or busy to say so, period. If a customer is being "difficult", you can still be polite while being firm... Yes, there are demanding people out there, and no, you don't have to give them everything they want- but you sure can be polite while telling them so. The bottom line? Treat your customers how you would like to be treated...simple and effective most of the time!

Those are my tips for the day, and stay tuned for future tidbits. I wish all success in their business endeavors!

Debbie Ritter- Artist and Designer @ uneekdolldesigns.etsy.com

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Frida Kahlo, Another Interesting Personality

Until I started doing my art work, I had never even heard of Frida Kahlo.

Born in 1907 – died 1954, Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo was a Mexican painter, and perhaps best known for her self-portraits. At the age of six, Frida developed polio, which caused her right leg to appear much thinner than the other. It was to remain that way permanently.

Later, Kahlo had a marriage with the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera. She suffered lifelong health problems, most of which resulted from a traffic accident during her younger years. These issues are perhaps shown inspired in her works, many of which are self-portraits of one sort or another. Kahlo suggested, "I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best."

One of the interesting benefits of what I do in my art work is when I look at who I want to do next, I many times run across new personalities that I know nothing about and learn a slew of facts that really add a needed flair to my art. Somehow it helps me to capture an overall feel for the look I want to convey when I read some background on the character. In other words, I really not only create, but I really learn something too, and that makes what I do all the more enjoyable!

You are quite the interesting character Frida!