Monday, February 20, 2012

My first year selling art is over!

My first year as an artist, selling my work online, has come and passed.  In my first year selling my art I had: 38 new customers in 27 states and 3 international customers. This isn't counting the dozen repeat customers or those in KS :). Yeah! Not too shabby.

The lessons that I learned were learned the HARD way!  I thought I would share some of the wisdom that I picked up.  These should apply whether you are selling on Etsy, Yardsellr, or anywhere else.

Loyalties misplaced:

Don't be loyal to a business if they aren't up to your standards consistently.  I am a very loyal person, and I try to understand some mistakes.  But this wasted money, and was disappointing in the end.  I wanted to give my dollars to a local business and they weren't even there for me when they printed and item incorrectly.  They wanted me to pay double!  Their prices weren't discounted very much, there were too many employees, and not enough attention to detail.

How I fixed it:
Instead I called a local blueprint business (Topeka Blueprint), and asked some intensive questions.  They met AND exceeded my expectations.  I now make more of a profit from my prints, have quality service, and can talk to the same people every time I go in.

Handle with Care:

I sold a canvas painting for a little under $100.  Packed it up in an old box, making sure it was very safe from damage... and the shipping was TREMENDOUS!! ($60-$70).  Of course, I wasn't given any tips by the postal worker when I could've fixed this very easily.  When a tall and narrow box is shipped it isn't alot, as long as its not over 4 inches wide.   Umm ya... that was a $40 mistake.

How I fixed it:
I now tape a piece of cardboard over the front of the painting, then tape cardboard around the package.  This has been successful, no breakages and no extraordinary shipping costs! (just a little more money spent on tape!)  Also, any prints that I sell I pay for on Paypal.  Larger Items and International items are Much cheaper as a walk-in post office customer.  Priority mail boxes aren't a good idea unless your items is heavy, such as candles or glass.  (Anything else should be thrown in a big envelope or cardboard.)

Overall tips: 

Give your customers a return discount, repeat customers are awesome.  People would rather pay $10 for something than $5 plus  $5 shipping.  If you can do something custom for a customer.. do it.  And last of all, remember that online sales are not face to face.  Be overly nice and accommodating to avoid any misinterpretation.

That's all I have for now... please let me know if you have any tips that you've learned the hard way :)  We'd like to save some frustration too!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Some great music to paint to!

Soulful with meaningful lyrics, a great cd to listen to while you're being creative. 

What is Yardsellr? The Pro's and Con's

Recently I started using Yardsellr to list my items, and I like what I've found out about this site over the last couple of weeks.  There is no fee to list, no fee when the item sells. 

So how do they make money?  I'm sure they make click-through money and have great social networking angles with facebook and twitter.  They also get a "slice" from the seller, approximately a dollar for every 10.00 spent.  Not bad, I've bought several great items on there.

And LAST but not LEAST! They give you credit towards purchases.  Photon$ are their version of credit, you get some for commenting on items while browsing, if friends join after clicking through your post on facebook or twitter, buying and selling items, etc.  These are great, I've used many to pay for items, all I pay is shipping and handling (if it's extra on the item) and yardsellr's little slice.  So a $30.00 shirt for a few bucks is a Steal!

There are a couple of downfalls at the moment, but they are worth it to me, since I pay minimally for all services.  They don't pay the seller until after the item is shipped with confirmation.  Confirmation costs more, especially for myself who sells art prints.  It's made my shipping a little under $5, instead of $2.  I've raised the items to make shipping included for people to freely use their photons.  This is okay, I understand the confirmed shipping, this way there isn't a huge delay for people to send their items (which is good for the buyer). And the seller needs to be able to cover the shipping of the items they list.  So far this hasn't been a problem, as there is a delay when someone buys something from paypal.

So I guess I'm saying, I really like this sites regardless of the downfalls that I've found....

Check out my Yard-Sale!!! ------>

Join up and get some discounts for yourself!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Projects!! Springtime fun with kids too!

Today was gorgeous out!! I had set aside a couple of days solely dedicated to art, inspiration, and custom orders I needed to complete on schedule...

This is what my kids, neighborhood kids, and I worked on.  We had a spring project of painting bricks for our little rock garden.  Very cute stuff!

and here is my newest custom order, first as the rough sketch and finally as the finished oil painting!  I have a second one I'm finishing tonight that is it's twin but will be slightly different, enough to make them distinctly individual. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Drumroll please.. Japan Night Scene Print now available

One of my favorite, most detailed paintings is now available as a print!  Not everyone has the space, or budget for a huge original painting.  So I've made it available in an 11x14 size professionally made print for $25.  And for those who would like an 18x24 for the same price, I am taking pre-orders for it.  I have to pay the printers more to get these made, but I save on bulk orders.

So if you'd like one just let me know, I have an order going in after this weekend!  I can offer many of my prints in a variety of sizes and papers (even wrapped canvas prints), so don't hesitate to ask.  Isn't that what they always say, "don't know if you don't ask".

Since winter wont go away... I'll experiment with soup!

Today was rainy and chilly, which I don't mind all that much.  I get to wear my great winter boots a few more days, and I get to try out some creative recipes.

We've always loved the canned italian wedding soup, so I scrounged through my cupboards and found some items to make a chicken, rice, and spinach concoction for tonight.

Here's what I used:
1 frozen chicken breast
1/2 can spinach
3 tbsp tomato chicken broth powder
2 tbsp lemon pepper
1 cup rice
5-6 cups water

I just cooked the chicken and the lemon pepper in the pan.  Cut up the breast, then added all the ingredients to the pot and simmered for 30 minutes. 

The result was wonderful!  Great savory flavor, healthy spinach, a truly wonderful meal in a bowl.  Unlike some of my other experiments, the family devoured this.  Even my picky son at some of it (just don't tell him that was spinach!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Getting ready to send off a new painting..

What would your sign say?

And my newest oil painting is all dry and ready to be taken to it's new home.  A nursing facility in Kansas.  I just got an order for a couple more paintings for the same business.  I love my job!  
These restaurant signs are the perfect addition to any kitchen (I love the one I have in my kitchen) , plus it doesn't hurt for those of us who love to cook to have our very own proclamation ;)  The cutest order I had was for one that said Sweet Southern Cooking.