March 18, 2018

Presenting Yourself Professionally: A Pro Portfolio

Call me biased as a millennial, but I’m a firm believer in having an online presence, no matter what business you’re in. As an artist and handmade company, the benefits are perhaps even more important because you may be small, but the internet can make you mighty when used strategically. Does that mean you need to be everywhere online? No, but at the very least I’d recommend sharing a portfolio. You don’t sell your work online you say? So this advice isn’t applicable for you, right? No, it’s still valid and I’ll explain why. The overall goal is professionalism, and a proper portfolio will do wonders for your credibility, exposure and opportunities.

March 11, 2018

Showcasing Your Art: Product Photography Deep Dive

If you sell your art and handmade items online or use online tools to promote offline sales of your work, photography is one of the most important elements of success. I'm not just saying that as a photographer; consider the perspective of a potential buyer. If they can't hold your work in their hand, they need images to make them feel like they've seen it in person. Your job is to help them visualize how it would fit into their lives. We've talked a little about staging your photos to entice buyers, but let's dive deeper into what makes for effective product photography in the handmade space.

Monster Dance Designs | Ten Twenty Studio | Ornamental Things
Killer Queen Designs | Proof + Theory | Whipdizzy Handbag Co.

March 5, 2018

10 Steps to Better Art Jury Photos

To anyone outside of the art world, Jury Photos is a pretty unknown term. However, as we’ve talked about, for fine artists and crafters alike, this category of photography is crucial to exposure and often, success. To get into art shows, competitions and exhibits, you need examples of your work to share with the judges, usually referred to as a Jury. This group of artists, curators and art industry professionals come together to help pick which artists should be included. They are given a set of criteria to evaluate each submission, and in most cases, they’re only looking at the photography, a.k.a. a Blind Jury. These images need to accomplish a number of things – from showing your talent and professionalism to indicating cohesiveness of your style and fit for the category. These juries may go through hundreds of applications, so your photography has to work its magic quickly. How do you make sure your Jury Photos really shine? Whether your just starting out with juried art events or ready to improve your acceptance rate, these tips are designed to help you present your best self.

Pearl Kissed     |     Sunshine Clay     |     Dalton Designs     |      Mary Winsett     |     Sandra Ross

February 25, 2018

Ask the Artists: Following Your Passion

At this point, you’ve heard me talk a lot about following your creative passion. It's not easy, and it’s not right for everyone, but it can be totally worth it if you put in the time and planning. With that said, there is no one set approach. What works for your idea and your talents may not fit someone else. As such, I’d like to share stories of other artists and makers to help you see your path. I asked a handful of local creative entrepreneurs how they’ve turned their passions into careers. As one of them pointed out, this is a loaded question. For some, this is still a long term goal, and they have valuable advice to share about being a work in progress. Others seem to have known all along that this is what they were meant to do. So what’s right for you?

February 19, 2018

Turn Your Passion Into Profits

Pardon the cheesy title (I love a good alteration). I want to help you make a living doing what you love. Maybe you're already following your dream, but want to evaluate opportunities for improvement, growth, more stability. Or perhaps you haven't taken the leap yet, and you're wondering how you even get started. How do you translate what energizes you into something people will pay for? Do you have options other than what we traditionally think of for artists? Yes, there is a whole spectrum from hobbyist to creative professional, and where you find your spot will vary by medium and market. While I don't have a guide map for each of you, I want to help you start your journey and  keep moving forward, no matter where the path may take you. Successfully turning your passions in to money making opportunities takes research, planning, experimentation, all efforts focused on honing in what you have to offer. So let's get started!

February 11, 2018

Benefits of Doing What You Love

"Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life."

As entrepreneurs we tend to surround ourselves with sentiments like this, and as creatives, we're uniquely more likely to get to do wonderfully fun things that are easy to love. We're doing out best to follow our dreams, make the world a better place and focus on what we feel we can best contribute. While it takes a lot more than this to be successful, the "Do what you love" mindset is a wonderful motivator. Passion gives us drive and helps us get up each day to spend time on what makes us happy. But why does this happiness matter? Aren't jobs a means to an end? Work should first and foremost put food on the table and pays bills. Then what you have leftover you can spend on fun, right? For those of us lucky enough to find, or make, jobs that marry what we love and what will make a living, we don't have to settle. In fact, we get to reap far more signifiant rewards!

LumberwaveCreations   |   GoldenSparrowsDesign   |   TesoroJewelry   |   IceyDesigns

February 5, 2018

Side Hustle vs. Full Time

There are some people who can put in their 40 hours a week at ok jobs and then go home to the activities they really enjoy. I imagine most of these individuals don't love what they do, but they recognize that this work funds their chance to devote time and energy elsewhere when they're off the clock. I'll admit, I tried to fit this model thinking it was what I was "supposed" to do, but I wasn't happy. Now with one year of doing my own thing on the books (yay, I made it!), I'd like to share a few thoughts about pursuing your passions full time. First and foremost, it's not easy, but if you plan, it can be totally worth it. Like many makers and handmade entrepreneurs, I started with a side hustle. I was working full time for someone else and making time in the evening and on weekends to do what energized me more. This allowed me to test out my ideas and get to know my future customers. I wasn't able to dedicate nearly as much time to this passion project as I wanted, but I was saving up money to be able to take the plunge into full time. So how do you know when the time is right to go all in with your dream? The answer is different for all of us, but there are some key considerations that will help you gauge your readiness to become your own boss.