Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thinking about marketing

Today is perfect.  Truly perfect warm breezy weather, which makes up a little bit for what April did to us Ithacans.  And I just came off four nights in a row of waiting tables, which was fine and profitable, but exhausting.  Looking forward to some time with paint today, also time in the garden and running.

Speaking of painting shoes, I've been thinking about marketing a lot recently.  Bear with me while I think aloud.  I've been taking my shoes to the Farmers' Market for the last few months, and it has been very, very interesting.  I am getting loads of GREAT comments and enthusiasm, seeing some real joy (and avarice) in people's eyes when they see the shoes.  Lots of inquiries about bespoke work.  A few people are even trying them on, and I actually sold two pairs (to out-of-towners).  On the other hand, I'm learning that the weekly market is not necessarily my audience.  I am also often getting remarks about my high prices, and I don't like seeing the enthusiasm turn to embarrassment and shock when they see the price tags.  I'm also not sure if the splashy shoe display isn't detracting from my cards and art, which frankly is my bread-and-butter.  Even though I eat neither bread nor butter...hmm, I guess I should say they are my rice-and-greens.

So here are a few thoughts:

First, I'm going to try taking the shoes on Sundays only, to see if having a full booth of cards and art helps my Saturday sales.  I will still leave out a sample pair, and have everything in my car in case someone wants to check them out.  Sundays are generally quieter days there, and I maybe having two different-looking displays will be good for the different days.

Second, my prices reflect the work and originality that I put into each pair, as well as the cost of buying the shoes and the supplies.  They also are in keeping with similar work by other artists around the country.  I won't lower them, but might occasionally run a $25 off sale for market customers.

Third, I will be working towards taking my shoes to their audience.  As I've mentioned, I plan to apply for some shows in cities in the spring.

Meanwhile, here's a pretty photo from my trip to Oregon, the river at Green Waters Park in Oakridge on a sunny day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Featuring zombies, for once

My eldest niece (the one with the boots in the post below) has a great group of clever and amusing friends, and they make their class assignments into movies under the name Table 008.  Occasionally these short films involve zombies or the odd anthropomorphized butternut squash.  She's the dark-haired zombie victim in this one.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What's been keeping me busy lately

I had forgotten how much I love California poppies! 

I see from my little blog roll here that I haven't made an entry in about a month.  Aren't you all just dying of curiosity just what I've been up to that's more distracting than blogging?  Well, to work backwards, I'm currently in Oregon, specifically typing to you from the front room of my brother's pub, the Brewers' Union Local 180.  My eldest niece graduated from high school last weekend, and my mom and I decided to come out here and surprise everyone for that!  Long story short, the surprise worked beautifully, and we also had a chance to visit my sister, and wander around the Chinese Gardens in Portland, and to make a little expensive stop at the Fluevog store to buy the tall black boots of my dreams.  My amazing creative niece graduated with literally flying colors (a purple robe and bright green Doc Martens), and I'm enjoying a bit of time on the west coast.

And before that, I was busy working on my Wingtips business and my garden.  I'm also mixing things up by starting some kinda-cool waitressing work a few nights per week.  Not gonna tell you where right now, but you local Ithaca folks will find me sooner or later.  I find that working a job like that is fun and doesn't have homework, plus my taxes are taken care of.  All around a refreshing and profitable break from the less-attractive bits of freelance graphic design which have been burning me out.  I've found at various times in my life that working a non-art job actually frees up my creative energy for my own work, and I appreciate this.  (Side note: wait staff gets $5 an hour, so that 20% tip for good and cheerful service is very much appreciated.  We work hard.)

Wingtip is coming along well...I've sold a few pairs at the market and also one pair on Etsy, which is making me very happy.  I'm working out a few glitches in the materials (learning which leathers work best) and working out my policies, and also making some longer-term plans: I'd like to do a few big shows in NYC or Philadelphia next spring.

So that's the scoop right now...and it's an exquisitely sunny day in Oakridge, OR, so I'm off to take a run on the trail by the river.  Stop in the pub sometime if you're out here, my bro makes a wicked British mild.