BLOG*February 1, 2012

Every year we have “wins” even if they are small ones. Sometimes we are so focused on experiencing the big win, that the little ones get pushed aside. Stop and smell the roses my friends!

I have some accomplishments to share with you from AAB participants who were with me over a year ago. These individuals have much to show and tell so I am going to present them one by one over the weeks to come.

Sandra Chang-Adair is a force of nature.

I am going to let her share what she has been up to. You will learn much if you read it through-

“This may be interesting for your students. My husband, Dustin, is a 3D animator who worked for 10 years doing special effects in Hollywood. Seeing the eventual outsourcing of visual effects to foreign countries, he decided 2 years ago to try his hand at developing an iPhone game. So he created “Poker with Bob”, a poker game with a 3D Pixar-like character talking “smack” back to you. He launched the game after programing and working nights and weekends for 2 years in May of 2011. By July, Caesar’s Palace contacted him, bought the IP from him and hired him as a consultant on the game. We packed up and moved to Las Vegas. So the lesson here is hard work and dedication does pay off, we should all learn from his focus and concentration.

Anyway, I will recap what I’ve accomplished this past year and what I’ve learned. I updated my sandrachang.net and Banzai Chicks websites.

1.) Did extremely well selling Banzai Chicks merchandise at the San Diego Comic-con 2011. Made a big splash with my 2 Mord’sith (Legend of the Seeker) costumes as well (I actually sold more stuff to guys on those days). I shared a table with my husband (you can see his Poker with Bob) stuff. I have to show off my costumes (it cost a lot to get them made), I know it doesn’t have much to do with Banzai Chicks, but it’s fun!

2.) Did also very well with Banzai Chicks at the Wondercon 2011.

3.) Got into Unique LA (a hand-crafted design show) in the summer. Didn’t do as well as I hoped, they stuck me along the narrow hallway near the bathrooms, so my space was not as visible from the main showroom. I did learn that a design/fashion show was probably not the best venue for my stuff as much as comic book conventions, but it could be that my location was bad or too much competition with jewelery.

4.) Did the 2 day Pink Parlour show at the Santa Anita Racetrack (a show geared towards woman and Kitsch). I did fairly well. Got to put some of my stuff on consignment at the Pinky Star store in West Covina (the proprietor of the show owns this store). The Banzai Chicks merchandise didn’t sell as well, so in September, I removed my merchandise. To my disappointment, they had stuck labels underneath the arm holes and ruined some shirts with holes from the plastic tags. I think if any of your students want to put stuff on consignment, they have to be careful with whom they are dealing with.

5.) I got my stuff into Happy Six, a Kawaii type boutique in Santa Monica. I had my eye on that store earlier this year and I met a friend of Diana Levin’s who knew the owner, Sophie Snow. I befriended her on Facebook and Sophie started following my tweets on Twitter. So I sent her a message asking if I can be in her store. She agreed right away. It’s consignment, but Sophie is a great person to deal with. She is meticulous with the invoicing and consistently sends you an inventory of goods sold and a check  every month. She is also expanding to an online store which she requested I participate in. She is a good example of how networking on Facebook and Twitter can work to your advantage. I also got a deal going with an Australian publisher through Facebook called Centauress. He wants to publish art journals and license my artwork on the cover. He is in the process of making his company public and rewriting the contracts for the artists.

6.) I sold a few items wholesale to a boutique in Burbank called Audrey K and a boutique somewhere along the 5 from LA to San Jose, but when I inquired about more business, I never got a response. I had stuff in a store in Highland Park called Studioroot 66, but they closed down because of the bad economy during the first quarter of this year. When I moved to Las Vegas, I was at a carwash called 7 Hills and I noticed they had handmade jewelry for sale. So I have some of my Banzai Chicks jewelry for consignment there. It’s an odd place, but who cares. I will have to do my homework and scout out for more places to sell my stuff in Nevada.

7.) I met a friend of my husband’s at the San Diego Comic-con that works at Applehead Factory, a Branding Company. As a favor to my husband, he agreed to help advise me on branding Banzai Chicks. He said my next step was creating a bible and later a style guide. He sent me some examples of transmedia bibles for other intellectual property as samples. So I am working on a Banzai Chicks Transmedia Bible. So I started developing  the  Banzai Chicks universe and characters in more depth and plan to lay it out in a cohesive package. I designed and reworked some new characters and mascots. I’m hoping that he can help me shape this into a viable property for licensing. It’s going to be a lot of work.

8.) I developed some new Banzai Chicks jewelry. I engineered Interchangeable Magnetic lockets and rings. There is a magnet inside the locket or ring and I have my characters inside glass lids with washers attached to the backs of them. You can switch out the glass lids on the locket or ring. This is my best selling item at conventions. I also designed three types of bracelets and dangle glass earrings.

kawaii-mika-the-punk-girl

banzai-chicks-glass-interchangeable

sweet-cartoon-girls-hearts-charm

cute-cartoon-geisha-chibi-glass-pierced

9.) After neglecting my Etsy store for over a year, I decided to give it a big push in December (just in time for the Holidays). I bought a macro lens for my camera and a lighting kit off of Amazon. I bought background paper from the scrapbooking department in Michael’s and studied product photography (as well as a layman could off the internet). I worked on improving my photographs to make my Etsy store look better. I also bought search ads, but I discovered that the best trafficking tool is to constantly listing new items so they show up on the front page. The shop stats on Etsy really helps.

10.) I created a Zazzle store that has sneakers (and stamps) and a Spreadshirt.com store to sell T-shirt designs I don’t have the money to manufacture and screen print myself. I learned how to create artwork for a flock print (a t-shirt with a velvety, soft surface) using vector art created to certain specifications. I get occasional orders from these online stores.

zazzle.com/banzai+chicks+gifts

spreadshirt.com/banzaichicks

11.) Besides Banzai Chicks, I sold 4 painted sexy girl pin-ups to Hustler Magazine.

12.) I finally signed a contract with SQP Publications with Sal Quartuccio, the owner, for a 48-page sexy pinup book. I’ve been trying to get this deal going for 3 years now, and I was able to connect with him during the San Diego Comic-con. Persistence pays off. The book is slated for an end of 2012 or early 2013 release. I can fill about 1/2 the book with paintings I’m created before, but I have about 22 more paintings to make between now and the end of next year. I love doing Banzai Chicks stuff, but the other part of me loves making realistic fantasy paintings. Here is a painting I’m working on for the book, it’s not finished yet, but it’s coming along nicely.

13.) Did a 3-day art exhibit, San Francisco Erotic Art Exhibition, in September. This was crazy because I just moved to Las Vegas and two days later, I had to drive up to San Francisco. I didn’t sell anything, but met some great people and the exposure was good. The show was on Mission Street and was in a high trafficked area, but over all, very few pieces of art actually sold. I also participated in several smaller art venues, the One-day Character’s Show in Hollywood hosted by Diana Levin (You Go, Girl!) in February; Women on Top, An All Female Artist Exhibition in Oxnard hosted by Patty Arellano in April; and Ladies Night, another all female art show in Oxnard run by Gloria Centurion in June.

14.) So that’s it. I’m a full-time artist now in Las Vegas. I was able to quit my stressful graphic design job. On the personal side, I got two certificates in kung fu at my school, Beijing Taichi and Kung fu Academy in Santa Monica before I left (had to test on a bunch of forms and fighting) — a Certificate in Traditional Kung Fu and a Certificate in Traditional Weapons. My school does not issue black belts unless you win in a national tournament in an advanced division and I didn’t compete. In Las Vegas, I joined a kung fu school recommended by my Los Angeles Sifu, the Sifu at the new school is a 32nd generation Shaolin Monk from China…how cool is that? After 2 months, I’m already a yellow sash and have learned 3 new forms.”

Did I mention that Sandra was a force of nature?! Thank you Sandra, your an awesome inspiration.

Onward and upward everyone!

Greg