Archive for the ‘art marketing’ Category

Organizing for Marketing

This image is from my time with adult coloring books last year – trying out colors, experimenting. I love symmetry, but then I also like something a little unusual….which is where I am right now as I approach a new project. I really need to develop  more sources for passive income. I’m taking a free class right now from Convertkit on Product Creation – great ideas, and after two weeks of reading the information (a daily lesson), I decided to start at the beginning and develop a series of products that are useful to others. Hence, Organizing for Marketing.

The title is going through some revisions – still not catchy enough for me. But I already have all this content – in an iBook that isn’t selling  – and yes, I really haven’t done much to market it in the three years it’s been available (or is it four? Funny how time stretches out when you’re not teaching….).

So this is my first brainstorming at trying to make sense of what I want in this ebook product. I am very good at marketing and creating and organizing, so it makes sense to focus right there. When I reviewed the book last night, there is enough information to make it into three or four smaller ebooks and develop a continuous stream of ideas and techniques for people.

The first key is targeting my market. I work in fiber and textiles – pretty much a niche market when looking at the art world, although we are slowly making progress into mainstream. Thus I want to focus this on those of us who do art that is generally out of the mainstream. What can we do to get our work looked at, sold, appreciated?

Here’s my accountability checklist for this coming week, ending Tuesday, May 16, with my initial thoughts:

  • Determine revised structure of the ebook. I need to break up the information in the original book into smaller segments for action, and increase the information included in each of the segments.
  • Determine my ideal customer for this book. Who is my audience…artists without a lot of money to spend on marketing, artists with unique products, artists who have issues getting organized and accomplishing tasks.
  • Write two additional blogs this week – what questions do you want answered in a marketing book for those of us working in a niche market, and how would this be different from all the other marketing books out there? I need to make sure I start getting feedback from folks to help direct my work.
  • Evaluate ebook publishing sources and ease of use. CreateSpace seems mostly for print; research it more fully. Kindle seems easy and quick to do. IBooks seems too limiting, although I do have experience with that platform.
  • Plan for a “bonus” for people who buy this ebook. Already thinking about many of the blog posts I’ve already done in my Top Ten series. I think these could be manipulated into a bonus, once links are checked, and focus determined. Happened to just think about expanding ideas for Top Ten for other Bonus offerings.
  • Keep playing with title ideas. Suggestions certainly welcome! Organize, marketing, niche products…….
  • Determine launch date for the ebook – probably beginning of August.

Feel free to give me ideas and help keep me accountable to this project! You can be in the book with your website and product for helping out.

ORIGINAL BOOK

Ready, set, go – give me feedback!

Art in 2016 – Part 4 Review – Classes and Shows…and a Book!

This was a big year for showing our work – many more options and acceptances than most of our time in Arizona. We taught a beginning marbling class at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, NY, and in the process of chatting, we became part of their arts curriculum grant project. I’m really looking forward to this activity; I miss the days of working with The Kennedy Center to bring integrated arts into the classrooms in the Chittenden East School District in Vermont.A lot of great memories from the conferences, and then great memories from arts work within the district (need to do a blog post and reflect on the work we did….)

A couple of pictures from our Saranac Lake class, followed by an individual machine quilting class I did for a fellow artist who wanted to expand her techniques. Mary Hill is a mixed media artist, with vibrant work.

We spent Vermont Open Studios sharing space with Mary over Memorial Day Weekend. LOTSSof great discussions on marketing!!

It was a challenge to plan for what could take Mary’s already wonderful art to the next level.

Mary Hill’s “experimenting as a result of our machine quilting class:

Plus, since May I have been working on an interactive teaching manual for the ebook Interactive Edge of the Sea. This takes all I have worked on in curriculum in 40 years of teaching and brings it together for teachers, with a modern update on using all forms of new assessment and social media within the classroom. My hope is that this manual becomes a template for other disciplines, as there are a lot of useful interactive teaching techniques – and everything is correlated to current educational standards. A labor of love with my second mom, Betty Hupp. Here’s the cover:

A snippet of the lesson plan section….

We are just about done with final edits, and after the first of the year it heads off to coding. I have a lot of links to check to be sure they all work!

Bunches of shows…..here are pictures of our small pieces at Sweet Grass Gallery in Williston, VT for the month of November.

There’s still more…..stay tuned!

Making Progress…..

Just a Collection....

Just a Collection….

So I have finished reorganizing my Bridge folders for all the digital work and storage of all things art. About 6 hours total, but it feels good to have it done – serious loose end. Now I need to go through iPhoto and get some folders made to organize photos there – hopefully won’t take as long. Slowly setting up the to-do list for all things business.

Organized!

Organized! (Aren’t I just so good?!)

The fist item over the next 12 days is to get every piece ready for a major display for Burlington City Arts. We will have 10-12 of our medium and large pieces on display in the Maltex Building on Pine Street for six months. Quite a nice venue, and our first major exposure in a contemporary gallery in the state. Lots to do – Ocean’s Bounty needs some work with the connecting beads and Gaia 2 (Pele) will be making its debut also, and I need to get it on its new hanging system.

Gaia 2: Beginnings

Gaia 2: Beginnings

LOVE this piece and have since it was completed many years ago. Will post when I have the new hanging system….hopefully cholla wood and braiding to hang each of the points.

Ocean's Bounty

Ocean’s Bounty

Heavy piece with all the beading and layers and stones – but it will be good for it to see the light of a gallery.

(Wow – I just took less than two minutes to get those pictures from the digital folder – nice organization, Linda!)

Hubby is marbling a lot, as we have new ways of marketing our fabrics. We are selling marbled fabrics in the Red Mill in Jericho, which is “coming home” again – his family settled this area and now he’s helping to support the non-profit mill craft and art gallery.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-9-26-27-am

Four weeks today is knee surgery, with a three-six month recovery…I want to be back at the sewing machine within two weeks – too much to do!! I am finding guided meditations that will help prep for before and after surgery. My yoga practice is reviving itself as a way of strengthening the  knee and thigh muscles for surgery. I found an integrative medicine doctor through the medical center, and I LOVE her. Looking forward to working with her over the coming year.

On to attaching a piece to a covered canvas with fabric glue….will post when it’s finished and dry…..

Monday Marketing – OMG

Storage cubbies

Storage cubbies

So the studio has had quite the workout these last few months since I posted. It certainly doesn’t look this neat right now – and probably won’t for another couple of months. Lots to do before knee surgery on October 20th. In a nutshell, we have done more marketing/business/sales/creating in 8 months than in a decade in Tucson. We have been busy.

So far, we are in a small gallery in the Phoenix Book Store in Essex, a fabulous independent bookstore. Haven’t sold anything, be we are getting recognition as fiber artists. On the wall these two months:

leftovers1This is Leftovers 1: Sunrise. This is a new series, made of marbled fabric was was dropped on the paint as we were cleaning the tray at the end of a marbling session. Adding thread tells a story.

We had a solo show at the Brownell Library in Essex Junction, Vermont, for the month of August. The fiber looked great on the brick walls. We sold a piece, had 30-plus folks come by, and had a great time.

reception_inviteMore to follow on this once I find the pictures…..

We spent the month on the wall at Frog Hollow Art and Craft Gallery, as step two of the jurying process – we are awaiting notification if we have been accepted as members. An invitation from Burlington City Arts for 6 months in their city gallery, the month of November in a small gallery in Williston, Vt, and new revisions to packaging and items for sale, as well as joining ArtizanMade. I just can’t find all my pictures, so that becomes a major item for the to-do list. That….and the seriously overdue newsletter……. You’ll find a bunch of pictures on our Facebook page, facebook.com/MarbleTDesign.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-11-20-39-amIt’s going to be frustrating catching up on all the marketing….bottom line – get out and do it – it pays off if you are patient and stay with it!

 

The Results of Some Fairly Consistent Marketing……….

Part of the Marbled Deco series

Part of the Marbled Deco series

Since we’ve been back in Vermont I’ve been telling everyone I run into about our work, and we’ve had great response to everything. So much so we realized about 10 days ago nearly all our work either was committed to a show or would be by September, and we needed to get busy making new pieces – which has been an issue for hubby, as he is still recovering from major surgery and can’t stand for very long periods (guess who will be doing all the set-up and clean-up?).

Here’s our schedule – and people laugh when I say I’m always at the ready….

April – June small art show Double Vision at the Jericho Town Hall, Jericho, Vermont. Words and inspiration in art – we’re submitting “Pond.”

March-April Essex Art League at Phoenix Books independent bookstore in Essex, Vermont. “Bloomin’.”

April – June about 15 works of fiber and digital marbling on display at Unsworth Law in Essex Junction, Vermont.

May 27-28 Vermont Open Studios, sharing the home of artist Mary Jo Hill in Underhill, Vermont.

August solo show at Brownell Library in Essex Junction, Vermont of fiber and digital marbling.

Tomorrow we talk to an old friend about a show in the gallery she runs in Jericho, Vermont. We’re ordering cards to mark titles and prices, completing the inventory, researching insurance, getting hanging systems on every piece, getting new quotes on framing, and other loose ends. There are still two places I am waiting to hear back from – the Old Red Mill in Jericho for their gift shop, and Stitched, a quilt store in Shelburne for teaching classes – and more on my list to touch base about show.

Slow and steady definitely pays off – that, and having an area receptive to new and original art work.

 

 

Reflections and Monday Marketing

Free Motion Quilting

Free Motion Quilting – detail

Lots of free motion quilting in my future. Finished another fmq sample for classes, and I have a cheater cloth I want to experiment with. It is good to be so busy! There is a list of projects, and it’s not too detailed. I think I am done with the long-term lists. I want things that are do-able, along with increasing the commissions. Hubby is busy marbling – this quick tray will be silk flowers and leaves for upcoming gift baskets. End of the week will be more fats and new sampler sizes – will be introducing the new sampler in February’s newsletter.

The days are broken up with reading, writing, hand-stitching, machine-stitching, designing, web work, yoga, and taking a couple of new classes from Coursera – on the Middle East (fascinating, will be good for research) and Big History -even more fascinating. I am also contemplating how I can do more writing to get people thinking about this coming election and preparing to vote.

Plus there is marketing, and we both have been busy. The reception to our art since we returned to New England has been amazing. We were at the Essex Art League meeting last Thursday, and folks couldn’t believe the marbling. I still have leads from an earlier meeting to follow up on. That said, we made a list of what will go into the three-month show at an attorney’s office starting in April. We need to know what needs sleeves and hanging rods. The second list is for the digital marbling display in August. There are a number of pieces that need work digitally, as well as planning for framing, so a data base is on my list for this week. There are updates coming for the website, in progress as we speak. The blog needs pages tweaked and updated – that will take a bit longer. I plan to join the Surface Design Association this week, so I can begin to analyze upcoming gallery shows and see where fiber might fit. I have two gift shops to visit, one of which will take our things, given that hubby’s family settled the area. The other, who knows. We are budgeting for better frames for the digital work, as everything needs to be prepared for wire hanging. And I need to go through the smaller marbling pieces to see what can be finished for April.

It’s good to be so productive! Reminder – need to check on industrial felt for some of the larger works in my mind, as we need to plan for hanging as these unusual ones are created. Hopefully pics will be coming of some of our newest completions.

Monday Marketing – BUSY!!!

Coexist

What a beautiful Monday morning! It’s 10 AM and I’ve already accomplished photography of baskets, cutting fabric for the next project, and done all the Christmas cards. Plus – lots of great stuff accomplished over the last two weeks!

So….finally updated the Facebook business page with our gift baskets for sale – sold two, and I have another ready to go up. It’s been a lot of fun making the baskets and choosing some of the “ugly” fabric in the stash, as that turns out pretty darn cool. The Etsy store is up and running again, as well as Ebay, so check them out.

Etsy Shop

Etsy Shop

Ebay

Ebay

I’m contemplating a new online platform – just need to do the research. One of the biggies was the first newsletter in just over a year. No sales or offers, just a welcome, we’re still here, and it’s good to be making art again. I have plans for the first of the year to get back to a regular newsletter. Redid framing on a small 9 x 12 piece ready to go on Etsy, and another piece that needs new serging and mounting. Have another show set for three months with two other artists, starting in April – law firm, so will probably do some fiber, and we’ll save the digital work for the solo show in August. Had a great time at the Essex Art League holiday party this past week. We’ll be doing a  demo for them, as well as a class or two, and we’re looking at a couple of open studios within our new apartment complex. We are back to seriously looking at video, so who knows where or when….or who?

The big thing for me has been the decision to self-publish my novel, so Monday Marketing will also include my work there – need to set myself some deadlines. I’ve given agents and publishers seven months – time to move on and get this out there!

Let’s see what the rest of today brings for momentum!

Monday Marketing – 2 weeks in a row!

Detail of the back of Gracie Mae's quilt

Detail of the back of Gracie Mae’s quilt

Ya, dis ist goot….been a productive week and today started off fabulously with coffee with another artist in fiber who LOVED out work and will pass on a bunch of connections to galleries within the New England area. Joining Surface Design Association, as they seem to be making inroads in getting fiber shown in NE. Plus a new quilt shop in town, so I have already been by to show a sample of free-motion quilting to see about teaching some classes. And….lots to do this week.

Also, and probably most important, the studio is about ready…well, we’ve already started doing work, even though there are still a lot of loose ends and things to get put away. I am almost through ironing the rest of my fabric stash, which is each of our moves has always been our wrapping. But this time, after so long….I was caressing each piece and apologizing for it being in the dark for so long. NO MORE MOVES! They will carry us out of here! Now for this week I need to start a list of fiber projects, with a couple of deadlines coming up this year. Then I can prioritize and get started.

Thanks to Shutterfly I’m been getting prints of our digital work for great prices, and A.C. Moore (our Ben Franklin’s and alternative to Michaels) for frames. Plus, it occurred to us as we were sorting through artwork that we can reuse some of the frames for work we no longer hang on our walls.

Also this past week, two digital marbling pieces hanging in a local bookstore as part of Essex Art League outreach, framing photos for solo show next August, and attended Williston Craft Fair – small but extremely well-attended, and folks were buying. We’re interested in partnering with someone next year and putting in our fabric bowls filled with marbling fabrics and sewing notions. to that end, Hancock Fabrics had a dynamite sale on sewing notions, so we did an order in preparation for next season. Hubby stocked the Etsy store again, so take a look.

A good week all around. Now for this week:

list of projects for sewing, etc.;

finish organizing studio;

check deadlines for quilts for birthdays (Whip, Gavin);

review fiber art calls from Feedly;

start on quilting commissioned baby quilt; and

update the Facebook page, as well as other online sites.

Good to go this week.

Monday Marketing….Uh Huh

AQ6

Alison’s Quilt

This coming Friday it will be six months since we arrived in Vermont. We certainly didn’t expect that long to be staying with friends and traveling, but our living arrangements are worth the wait, esp. since the studio is LARGE! We can both easily work together in the space. Now it means getting all those ideas and projects down on paper and prioritized.

Interesting that I have put off lists for the six months – thinking about what I wanted to do and couldn’t would have made me even more nuts had I been writing everything down. Now I can list things by due dates and so on….lots of juices are flowing again.

One of the toughest things was missing a lot of marketing opportunities, starting with Open Studios the end of May. Lots of good connections and really no way to follow-through – all the art work and samples were packed, and once we found out we would be 5 months  before move-in, we didn’t want to commit to anything.
However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten anything done for marketing just recently. This week:

  • reconnected with an artist friend from 20 years ago who runs a small gallery and we exhibited with her in the past and hope to do so again;

  • joined Essex Art League in September and have a solo show scheduled for August 2016 in one of the main libraries;

  • reconnected with another friend and mother of students who also has a gallery and wants to chat;

  • hanging work in the Phoenix Books independent bookstore here in Essex Center from November 5 through beginning of January – just in time for the holidays; going to do a couple of our digital pieces;

  • ordered a bunch of “freebies” from Shutterfly (just paid postage) of some of our other photographic/digital work to see the job they do, and now we will see about getting them framed; and

  • actually updated the FACEBOOK page for Marble-T Design – have nearly 500 followers after no activity this summer – go figure…..

There’s a lot I want to get done this coming week:

  • finish organizing studio;

  • get list of projects with deadlines;

  • make list of “playing around” items;

  • complete cards for artwork hanging this week; and

  • newsletter to MTD customers – mentioning holiday shopping

I am retired, and these six months taught me it’s okay to relax, but oh, did I miss my art! I hugged my machine several times since it has been unpacked. * did accomplish handwork over the months – 7 long crocheted scarves plus3 complete sets of scarf/mittens/hat for a charity in the Ukraine. That felt very good – and I’m looking forward to doing more on the long winter nights to come.

Monday Marketing…….Not Really…..

Stones 2

Stones 2

It is Monday, and I sure haven’t been doing much marketing these last few months. Part of it has been illness, part has been writing, part has been making art, and part has been not really caring. I have realized that when I get in the mood for serious marketing, no art gets done. I find that unacceptable these days. There are more art pieces than I will ever have time for. Marketing needs to fit in as it can.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. During our trip we did a lot of talking to artists, sold some fabric, and made some really nice connections. We came home ready to start a new series, Preservation. Both of us are excited about this, and now we need to do some serious planning. But I am still left with a conundrum over marketing. In between being sick and getting physically exhausted (which according to the doctors will continue until maybe the end of September), I finished a seven-piece commission, nearly the rest of my seasons grouping (pattern is next on the list), free-motion quilted a lap quilt for a friend, cleaned the studio (which really was pointless….), and tried to be ambitious. I did write close to 15,000 words on my novel, but I am feeling the need to have art-making take over for a while.

I did partially complete a gallery marketing class, and now I am awaiting to see if I made the first cut to a year’s mentorship with a gallery in Scottsdale. It would require a lot more art-making, and I think we would be good candidates for selection. But what I think and what happens usually are two different things. I am still being positive, and men tally I am feeling good. I still have my lists, and they have every kind of loose end I can think of, including doing some apartment applications for next spring when we move, and organizing all our photos. But each day I look at any “must-do’s” and “want to do’s” and work from there.

And….there’s the marketing book which I haven’t marketed, plus a number of other things I haven’t done. So I need to get off my case, make art, and let other stuff happen when it does.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it………….

 

 

 

Quality Materials and Pricing Your Materials Cost

Evening Moon

Evening Moon

This being sick for so long has really put a dent in my creativity, completion of projects, and overall well-being. I am trying to catch up on an online gallery class  by a gallery owner in Scottsdale, AZ, Jason Horejs. The assignment I am reading now talks about pricing out your cost of materials, as well as looking at the quality of materials. There are too many ideas floating around in my head to try and leave a plain comment, so I wanted to “think it all out” in a post.

We’ve priced out cost for our marbling a lot of times. Carrageenan keeps increasing, cotton fabric is increasing, and we’ve changed paints because of pigment issues. Probably doesn’t hurt to do the costing again. A half pound of carrageenan in over $30. We can get 8 marbling sessions out of that. So $3.75 per session for carrageenan. We spend $6.00 for each bottle of paint. In one session we use the equivalent of 1 full bottle. So there’s another $6.00. Cotton fabric – we buy prepared-for-dyeing fabric from Dharma (which isn’t wholesale at all but is the best we’ve found to be able to use – offshore fabrics won’t take the paint well). Cotton runs about $7.95 yard, and we attempt to do about four half-yards each session, is not more. That’s $16.00 for fabric. Alum (pretty cheap) and distilled water (also pretty cheap) are the rest of the supplies. Probably $3.00 per session. That’s $28.75 for the marbling session, not counting prep time and clean-up time.

originally we used to sell our fat quarters for $6.50, more for the half-yards. The prices of supplies have gone up, so fat quarters are now $8.00. There are 4 fat quarters to a yard of fabric. If all we do are 4 fats, each would cost out to  $7.19.  Eight fats cost to $3.59. Better, but not accounting for labor. That’s one reason why we try to do 12 fats and a lot of remnant pieces, which sell well on eBay, where people want something for virtually nothing. Twelve fats is $2.40 a piece, considerably better. We’ve found  that there is an upper limit on what people will pay for a relatively small piece of fabric (18 x 24 inches). I’m not sure we can raise our prices much more, yet we are having success selling on Etsy and charging about a dollar more per piece. We make our money on the larger art pieces.

Concerning wholesale, Dharma, where we get our fabric, does not wholesale at all. We can get a bolt of fabric from Kona Bay, but we need to dye the fabric first before it will take the marbling. More labor, a little more expense, but certainly a cheaper source of fabric, but we’re not finding much of a market yet for those fat quarters. Our carrageenan we get from a fellow marbler whose prices are about $10.00 cheaper, and  he also mixes the paints we need to a specific formula, so there is no variation in pigments. The acrylics we used to use (that we cheap) no longer work, due to pigment issues, water issues, and offshore fabrics. For the amount of labor involved in marbling, we learned early on not to use cheap fabric. The fibers rot, and it fades. We’ve not found that problem with well-produced fabrics.

As for the art pieces, Arizona is not a big market for fiber art, especially if it is not western. We have sold pieces, though. We tend to price based on earlier appraisals of our work and what we see for other fiber artists with comparable work. We need more current appraisals of our latest works, and then adjust prices accordingly.

There was a lot of discussion about framing. Most of our fiber pieces can hang directly on the wall, yet is seems that folks want them somehow framed, so we have taken to wrapping a canvas frame in black fabric and then sewing the piece to the fabric on the canvas. That way the piece hangs away from the wall, and it seems to look better. One of my goals is to do more pieces like this and see if we can develop a market for them.

So probably more than you wanted to know, but it is useful to revisit a cost analysis every few years. I’d welcome comments on what you’ve discovered in pricing your materials cost.

 

Call Me a Cock-Eyed Optimist……

  I’ve always been known as an optimist, and since I only see out of one eye now, it seems that “cock-eyed” is appropriate. I have been mulling over a bunch of words for the year: liberate, enthusiastic, positive, optimistic, focus, abundance, willing. I do want to be more positive, as I have been sinking down somewhat this past year and worrying more. But it seems, as I review everything, that “optimistic” covers a lot more ground than “positive.” I feel that “optimistic” encompasses the whole year in a more vibrant, inclusive way than “positive.”

I’ve marked all my new moon dates in my calendar so I will be sure to write my abundance checks. And there is a bit of mathematics in “optimistic.” For the last three years, the business has been growing each year, a little more. This past year saw about a 75% increase in sales and opportunities, and already the possibilities for this coming year are increasing….exponentially. With the exponential growth model, things start out increasing very slowly, and then grow very rapidly. If I were to actually model business income for the last three years, I would see exponential growth at the very beginning. So I am optimistic that the growth will continue and will pick up pace. I’m putting in the time and doing what I need to, so optimistic really does describe how I want to approach the year.

I am committing to two year-long activities (which is a 100% increase in what I committed to last year – the Free Motion Quilting Challenge). The first is part of Art Quilts Around the World, with a total of six two-month challenges of art quilts for the year. The first one is about completed, and I did struggle with it, but I learned a lot. I’ll do a blog post when it’s reveal time. The second is participating in Dale Anne Potter’s 52 Sparks. This is journaling a response to a specific question and creating a piece of art along with it – each week.

This is definitely breaking out of my comfort zone. I am getting used to writing a lot (hey, I am at nearly 800 blog posts), but I usually don’t try and create artwork to go along with it. As part of “optimistic,” I was thinking about what I could do for art. The idea of “is the glass half-empty or half-full” came to mind, and I’m always the one who sees the glass as half-full. So I thought about doing some sketching of a glass. A very long time ago I used to work in charcoal, and it occurred to me that using charcoal again would be quite the risk, especially as I am not always confident with my sketching.

I noticed a number of things in the sketching. First was extreme tentativeness. I haven’t held charcoal in a very long time. I really studied the wine glass I set out. I wondered about how to capture the light in the glass and the cuts in the crystal. Finally I just started and got a good beginning oval. I left blank some spots where the light seemed to make the glass transparent. I got the basic shape of the top, but my proportions are seriously off on the bottom half of the glass. I really got hung up on how it didn’t look like the glass, that the stem wasn’t as long as it should be.

Then I started using my finger for blending, adding details, and the next thing I know, I have captured some of the essence of the glass. It is definitely fragile, a bit tipsy, and delicate. I found I wasn’t looking at what I thought was wrong with the glass, but what I found interesting and true in the drawing. That is a major breakthrough for me. And I really liked the charcoal. I will continue with that for a medium for a while. Here’s my finished piece:

The use of different media should be something I try this year. Crayons, markers, ink pens, water colors…I have them all, and I don’t use them. I think I need to push myself with something new – maybe a different medium each month.

That said, I think I want to add another year-long piece to my goals, that of creating a 12 x 12 piece each month as part of the online gallery I am in: Galleribba.

I have been busy working on goals and lists and loose ends, but I must say, four days into the year, that I am certainly optimistic about a really good 361 days left.

Part 2: Getting Organized – Start Dreaming!

Here comes Part 2 in my Getting Organized Series. You can follow along on the blog and get a head start before the posts appear on the Handmadeology blog. Share comments about your dreaming at the bottom of this post.

 Part 2: Dreaming the New Year

Now it’s time to think about this coming new year, regardless of when you consider your year to begin. When I was teaching, September was always the beginning of the year, not January. With retirement, my new year is the end of May. So you can do this at any time of the year, for however long a time period you want. Start with a month or two, or go for the whole year. If the process works for you, then consider doing a five-year plan. I promise you that this whole process really works!

First, though, you need to DREAM. If you need help in dreaming your goals, check out Dale Anne Potter’s website. She offers a lot of positive ideas for getting goals accomplished, and she has great resources. So does Alyson Stanfield, author of “I’d Rather Be in the Studio!”

I’m asking you to do away with limits on your thinking. No worrying about how much money you need, whether you think it’s actually possible to accomplish, or any other roadblocks you might place in your path. This is dream time. A year from now, what would you like to have accomplished? Just DREAM. Don’t limit yourself! And…don’t make it just about your business.

Here’s what I’ve come up with in my brainstorming, in no particular order.

  • a second online gallery carrying my artwork;
  • publication of the book by Linda Seward with my art quilts in it;
  • a line of stencils for mixed media;
  • two ebooks on marketing;
  • an ebook on quilting marbled fabrics;
  • finish the ebook for a friend;
  • licensing some of my digital designs;
  • at least four new patterns developed and available;
  • at least three teaching gigs around the country;
  • visiting Paducah to tour Quilt City;
  • a trip to Kauai in the fall;
  • visiting the Maritimes this summer;
  • entry into at least two fiber/art shows;
  • increase by 25% each the income from Ebay, the website, Etsy, and Cafe Press;
  • another connection to the Martha Stewart folks for another article;
  • additional writing and work done on my website;
  • a visit with my foster son;
  • visiting the old homestead in New Jersey;
  • seeing my college buddy again;
  • staying healthy;
  • blog posts at least four times a week;
  • articles in two art/quilt-related magazines;
  • monthly lunches with my second mom;
  • weekly Friday night dinners with my sister-friend;
  • at least once a month something art/music-related to see;
  • outdoor cactus garden established;
  • and….a trip to Vienna to visit a friend.

Your list can be as long or as short as you wish. Please do not try and limit yourself, even subconsciously. I have found the key in planning is to shoot for the moon. You’ll get a lot farther into the atmosphere than if you try to keep yourself grounded on earth.

Also, DO NOT FEEL OVERWHELMED with this list! In the next installment, I’ll be sharing the idea of backplanning – something that I have used throughout teaching, especially when I was doing theater. Backplanning makes everything seem absolutely do-able – I promise.

Feel free to share your dreaming with us. Some of us might get inspired by something you mention and decide to include it on our list. You’ll head in to the New Year feeling very positive about what you’d like to accomplish!

Next: The Concept of Backplanning

Monday Marketing

 

 It’s been a busy month of completing a lot of loose ends, especially in getting ready for the holiday season. But I am always on the outlook for great ideas for and about marketing. Ask Harriete has had an interesting series on displays for windows and booths – lots of great ideas to enjoy – as well as think about what could work for your own purposes. Window Dressing for Booth Display – fascinating ideas for setting up displays.  Made with pencils, and there is a video to go along with the photo as to how the booth was constructed. Who knew hangars could look so cool?

A fascinating TED talk on Collaborative Consumption – lots of food for thought……Would love to open a dialogue with folks about some of these ideas.

In the meantime, getting the Etsy shop loaded with fabrics in preparation for a 50 percent off sale on Cyber Monday. Promotesy (from the folks at Handmadeology) is a great tool for scheduling and marketing posts and items. And you really can’t beat $5 a month. The biggest marketing task has been a total makeover of the website, which has kind of sat idle for a couple of years, as the blog and Facebook page moved to the forefront. Lots of major changes on the site: new pages: Testimonials, Snapshots, Patterns, Digital Marbling, Classes and Workshops. Plus, new work is finally up, and the gallery has been seriously updated. Some pages still need writing and pictures, and the order form is getting a makeover, but the site is so much more comprehensive. And….two new domain names….

The domain name has been an interesting issue. We’ve had “marbledfab” since the late 1990s, since “marbledfabrics” was already taken. Hence a play on the words, but we always have to spell it for people. When we got our domain name, e-commerce was still very much in its infancy. It would be several years before domains became the critical component they are now. So we now have two new domains that point to the website (and I actually learned how to do that…): deanandlindamoran.com and MarbleTDesign.com. It’s all about branding and making it easy for folks to find us. We’ll see how it works…and the new business cards will have the new domains on them.

I decided to also add more examples of fabrics and patterns to our fabric page. These are pieces from our “we’ll never sell anything in this folder because it’s so gorgeous” file. These are just a few…..

Ideas to share? Pas them along!

Monday Marketing

  A definitely busy week! I’ve been list-making for four weeks now, trying to keep track of everything that HAS to be done, NEEDS to be done, and WANTS to get done! I finally had to admit that I can’t take the Craftsy class with Cindy Needham I want until after the first of the year, because there are too many things going on that need to be finished up by the beginning of December.

Etsy has been selling well, and we need to get a LOT more fat quarters done and in the shop. The website should undergo some major revisions this week, and I’ll finish all the little cosmetic things I still need to do….pictures, descriptions, order form…..I get REALLY picky when it comes to having every possible loose end covered. EBay has also finally picked up, after a nonexistent summer. And we need more remnants for that site.

Craft Gossip ran our tutorial, and the number of newsletter subscriptions jumped. The newsletter will be going out on Sunday this month – trying a new delivery date to see if the “open ratio” is better. We have a guest post with C&T Publishing on Friday, full of pictures using marbled fabrics in quilts, both contemporary and traditional. Still have a few things to finish up on that post. We had an inquiry from a major magazine about fabric, so we worked on samples over the weekend and will get them in the mail tomorrow, along with notes about the fabrics.

Finally got a thread order done, and I should have a bunch of new threads for a couple of new projects by Friday. I need to put the binding on my bed stand runner, as the quilting is done for this month’s free motion challenge. I need to do another blog post for Handmadeology, this time on the importance of having product available whenever you do a demo. Might seem like basic knowledge, but we did a lot of years of demos without bringing anything to sell!

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