I’ve spent most of the entire month of May writing a business plan for my art business. I didn’t think it was going to be all that hard. I’m pretty good at visualizing what I want and I’m a decent writer. But figuring out every little detail of every expense that will propel me into a profitable art business… in this economy….. well, that’s hard. Especially when you have to reconfigure every calculation whenever you change your mind on something. So I’ve spent almost every waking moment of the last few weeks researching and writing, re-writing, visualizing, re-visualizing, editing, calculating, and re-calculating this thing. Alas, I think I’m done and I’ve done a pretty thorough job. My plan is in review right now, so I hope they’ll say I’m good to go and can get the money needed to start my business soon.
Here’s the basics of my plan: I am going to expand my current sales of my prints, cards and pendants into a wholesale business. I’ll be targeting bookstores, boutiques, metaphysical shops, and card stores. I’ll begin with 6 of my best-selling images to create offset runs of my cards, prints and mounted prints (until now, all of this has been hand-produced, so limiting the number of images will allow me to get a larger number of prints done for each of the images, adding new images every few months as sales pick up). There will be a focus on sustainability, using Portland companies that use recycled paper and soy inks. And I’ll hire Portland artists to help me with the production on things that are more labor-intensive (mounted prints and pendants). I’ll also improve the process of creating my pendant jewelry by wire-wrapping them instead of adding glue-on bails.
Now that I’m done with the biz plan, I’ve spent the last few days refocusing my attention towards making product and doing a couple of outdoor shows. On Wednesday, I stayed up past 3 a.m., making mounted prints and glass pendant jewelry. The following day was First Thursday in the Pearl district, so I packed up all my display stuff and put up my tent and gridwalls, and once I had everything set up, it started to rain. And it rained… and rained… and didn’t stop raining. If I’d left 1/2 hour after setting up, I would’ve made all the money I was going to make for the night.
Yesterday was the first truly sunny day for weeks, so I thought, GREAT… everyone will be out and sales will be good for the First Anniversary Celebration of my Sellwood gallery (Love Art!). So I set up a couple grid-walls in front of the gallery (minus the tent because I didn’t want to block the view of the bands that were setting up). Once I got all my art up on my grid-walls, a wind came and knocked the whole thing down, damaging some of my mounted prints! I put the whole thing up again (this time securing the walls to a huge metal sculpture). Was there all day, enjoyed some great music and company of some friends… and got a sunburn (just to prove I got some sun). Sold 2 things all day while I watched the traffic jam push past the gallery. I think everyone was headed out of town because they knew it was their one day of sunshine for a while.
I guess one thing I’m learning about all this is to take things more in my stride. It used to be I would be totally pissed off at spending so much time prepping for and sitting shows. Now I just figure, “You win some, you lose some”… and at least I’ve got some stock to put back in my stores (minus the ones that got damaged!) I count the people I meet as part of the reward of doing these shows too.
Another thing that’s stimulated is that I’m thinking more about how I can create art that’s practically damage-proof, waterproof, ecologically sustainable, and light-weight (for reduced shipping and ease of transportation). I have a few ideas and will see what ends up being the best solution.
It was hard to decide what would be the name of my new business. I had several ideas but my brain went back and forth between several ideas. So I put it out to a poll of my friends. I thought it was interesting that, given 6 possible names, around 21 out of 30 responders picked the same name, “Dreambird Creations”, so I decided this was best because it gives a sense of the dreamy quality of my work. Since I paint a lot of birds and my name is a bird, that’s fitting too. After writing out ‘dreambirdcreations.com” in an email, I realized a shorter name of “dreambirdart.com” might be better (still deciding on this one). So far, I’ve decided the 6 images heading this blog entry will be my first group of open editions.