October 9, 2015
Handmade at Amazon is a new store on Amazon.com for artisans to sell their unique, handcrafted goods to hundreds of millions of customers worldwide. It just went live on Thursday with a lineup of over 80,000 items from about 5,000 sellers in 60 countries. “You can think of it as a factory-free zone, a mass-produced-free zone,” said Peter Faricy, the Amazon vice president who is overseeing Handmade.
You set up a shop, create an Artisan Profile page to tell customers your story and set up pages for each of your products. Sounds like Etsy, right? It is a similar model but more robust and with options for shipping fulfillment. And Amazon is also offering logistical backing to its sellers, allowing them to ship products, in lots, to one of the company’s many fulfillment centers around the country. Amazon will then ship out those products as part of its Prime service, which offers members unlimited free shipping for an annual fee.
Etsy charges a 20-cent fee for each item a seller lists on its site and takes a 3.5 percent cut of the sales. For now, Amazon will charge no listing fee but take 12 percent of sales.
I am on the fence about signing up with this giant. May wait to see what shapes over the next few months and see what type of feedback the artisans are giving it.
If you are jumping in let me know.
October 1, 2015
When you have finally built that line of products up to a point where you are ready to license them to other stores then ARTSETTERS can help you simplify the process. ARTSETTERS brings the entire wholesale process online. Their solution allows you to be discovered on a global scale, without needing to attend trade shows. Create shareable showroom collections, connect with industry leaders and manage orders seamlessly.
They suggest that costly trade shows dominate the industry and make it increasingly difficult for independent artists and designers to compete and gain exposure on an international level.
Overall I like their approach, however there is something to be said about meeting people face to face at shows whether they are expensive or not. I know artists would prefer to simply make their art and let other people sell it, but there is power in people meeting the artist.
I was just at the L.A. International Textile show where they have reps presenting different companies from around the world. A rep can have a professional approach and attitude, but when it comes down to individual artists, fans want to meet that person.
All in all though ARTSETTERS has a pretty cool model which is worth checking out.
September 22, 2015
I like to say that your newsletter is a package of goodies that you send straight to your fans mailbox. The goal is to have the receiver open and even more importantly, want to open your email messsage and then actually read it. We are bombarded by so much info these days that newsletters that we sign up to receive can get passed over quickly.
There are techniques to keeping our newsletters relevant and a must see piece of infotainment. Here is a great article from Elle & Company on ways to spice up your mailing list and raise subscribers’ excitement when they see an email from you sitting in their inbox. Go here.
September 4, 2015
“Influence” by Robert Cialdini, published in 1984 has some great pointers on marketing strategy that artists can use too. Anyone who sells things for a living, online or offline, should know, love, and live these principles:
- Commitment & Consistency
- Social Proof
Read more about the principles HERE.
August 25, 2015
The collegiate arena has always been an old boys club of sorts, with its own rules and regulations, standardized curriculums, application policies, governmental oversight, subsidies and much, much more. Students are groomed to attend college even before high school with the goal of winning some corporate position or in the instance of receiving an MFA degree, a ticket to becoming a full time teacher.
I see artists all the time scrambling to get that MFA intending that it will lead to the golden chalice of full time employment with all its perks, but times have changed and nothing is guaranteed. Part time faculty positions are increasing while full time positions are decreasing. This shift has created some problematic results, for students too.
For instance the entire class of first year MFA students at USC’s Roski School of Art has decided to leave the school, listing a number of grievances, criticizing the school’s administration for not valuing the Program’s faculty structure, pedagogy or standing in the arts community. This is only the tip of the iceberg as higher education attempts to justify skyrocketing tuitions and other costs. Read more about the USC protest here.
This is why it is crucial to truly look at your options and create a backup for your art career. Teaching can be a part of that equation but do not rely on outdated educational paradigms for income sustainability.
August 14, 2015
I present Artist As Brand classes predominately at Colleges and Universities. However, when I have the opportunity to work with small groups of people, or even better with one or two individuals then the focus goes incredibly deep and it is amazing what can be be revealed!
Joan Marie is a talented, high energy, extremely positive, forward looking, visionary artist who flew in from St. Luis to Los Angeles for a mentoring session. Talk about commitment! Her daughter Brittany Bishop a Landmark Forum representative and biofeedback assistant joined us to see about getting more clarity about her career path. We had some amazing breakthroughs!
One of the segments of the AAB curriculum is to create a Vision Board that defines those parts of ourselves that bring us tremendous joy. These parts turn into specific projects or products that are then directed toward a niche audience. It is surprising that most artists do not use an inside out approach to defining their talent and its potential.
Even though Joan is very intuitive she was not certain of what she really wanted to create. After some digging it became apparent that latent theatrical talents (dancing, acting, lecturing) had been hidden from sight, but now they burst forth with the power of a tidal wave. Now her art vision includes a very personal theatrical production (in the works) that will include all her paintings and a message of confidence and hope to people everywhere. It is auspicious that Joan has been a high school art teacher for decades!
Joan’s Core Virtue
Brittany is a very smart, self confident individual but was still defining her career path. It became clear that she was intimately connected with the science of the heart and nature, specifically the trees. It was also learned that she loves EDM’s (Electronic Dance Music) and events. So we put these elements together and now she is researching how to produce an EDM type show that connects people’s hearts to the trees or more succinctly, to their own essential nature.
Brittany’s Core Virtue
It is an honor and a blessing to facilitate this work with people and a joy to see the result! In fact no sooner had Joan returned home The Mogal Muse Magazine printed an article about her! Go Joan!
July 30, 2015
Coming off of another Comic Con I am reminded about the importance of table dynamics on the convention floor. Do I stand out, make a statement with my set up and attract interested people?
Every year I re-evaluate my set up. Am I representing my brand in an authentic manner, is there a hierarchy of importance on the table, how visible is everything, what are peoples reaction, where do they look when they come upon my table.
In Artist Alley in San Diego we have a 4′ x 24″ space to work with. It is very tight. So how the space is utilized on the table, in back of my chair as well as under the table is crucial.
Here is a great post I came across by the WebComic Alliance that offers some great advice.
July 13, 2015
Click on the image to enlarge.
I have moderated the Artist As Brand panel at the San Diego Comic Con for five years now. This time the table was graced with the talented Daniel M. Davis and Dawna Davis of Steamcrow, Shiflett Brothers, Jeff Soto, Melissa Pagluica and Diana Levin.
We had a large crowd and reviewed the art of the start, social media, conventions and facing our fears. Much inspiration was to be had by all. A big thank you to my amazing guests and the attendees.
June 29, 2015
Freelancing is an option for artists who want to work in the industries of publishing, film, games, etc. while they build up their patron/collector base. Graphic Designer James Grieg has put together an email course called “Before Going Freelance” that helps you get your head around some of the details of becoming a freelancer. Part of the course is free so check it out.
Many art colleges prepare students for this art career option. You can always send questions my way too if this is something you really want to do as I freelanced as an illustrator for three decades! In a way when you follow the Artist As Brand principles you are aligning yourself with freelancing concepts, but you are building the industry around your self as opposed to relying on other businesses for your income.
But check out Grieg’s class and let me know what you think of it.