Oddly enough, only yesterday did I realize that today was New Year's Eve. Somehow, the week after Christmas sped by faster than I'd noticed! But it snowed yesterday, and quietly frosted us with about two inches of pretty white powder. With the beautiful blue skies and crisp air, it's like a winter wonderland. I'm just glad I have central heating, especially since we're predicted to have more snow today and tomorrow. But while it's chilly outside, Big Al happily cooked an entire batch of new tiles! I even popped in an experimental glaze combo -- I hope it turns out nice. The fire took 13.5 hours, which means I have to wait until tomorrow evening to open him up. Patience. Patience. Patience.
Now I've been wondering how to sell these tiles. I want to give those on my special giftware list an advantage for being faithful collectors, but the tiles need more exposure, too. So I decided to offer a portion of every new design's first batch to those on my giftware list first, then the rest I'll pop up on something like Etsy. That way those folks get an exclusive opportunity, but I can enter other sales venues as well. As for the size of that exclusive batch, I really don't know yet. I figure it'll be hit-or-miss the first few times, then I'll get a better idea of how popular these things are with those collectors.
Anyway, I'm also interested in exploring other sales venues like Niche Marketplace (thanks for the reference, Karen Gerhardt!), Discovered Artists, eCrater, etc. If the name of the game is exposure, then I have to think that way, especially when it comes to a collectible giftware item such as these tiles. So while it would be great to stick with one place, like Etsy, or even my giftware list, I have to put more eggs in more baskets.
I also have come to a major decision. Despite my best attempts to eek in learning time here and there throughout the last two years, my dilapidated, out-dated web site is simply beyond my comprehension to update or revamp. I just don't have the time to learn how to do it or actually even do it while I have so many crucial projects in development. This inability will (hopefully) change in the future, but I need something new pretty much now, especially if I want to present my "face" to a broader public. In short, my web site is the one significant piece of the "marketing puzzle" that's somewhere on the carpet or under the sofa. And in this day and age of selling -- an effective web site is critical.
So I've decided to hire a local professional to design my web site just to get the darned thing done, and then I can update it from there. And being local, I can work with him/her in person, too, which is something I prefer. I realize now that I'm an artist, and I need to focus on the one thing only I can do -- my art. Everything else can be hired out to those who are far more efficient and proficient than I am. So that's what I'm hoping to achieve after Ms. Haffie and her kidlet go up for sale. I really want to unveil a new web site in 2010 -- woot! That's my 2010 business resolution. Well, besides getting more caught up, which oddly enough has been a business resolution every year!
So aside from researching online arty marketplaces, I'll also be perusing local web site builders to find a good fit for me. I'm really rather excited about all this! Whether this collectible idea takes off or sputters out, I don't know, but now is the time to try. I also need to set myself up for my future bronze work and other concepts I'd like to explore, so I see all this as a kind of foundation-building for other things.
But looking back over the year, all in all, 2009 was a lost year, pretty much. It fizzled out in the production department due to various things, so I have my eyes set on 2010 to get back in the game in force. I think next year will be interesting on a personal level, too -- Hubby is graduating in September and will have to contend with what's considered to be the worst job market in recent US history. Indeed, the Year of the Tiger is associated with big changes and social upheaval, but change isn't necessarily something to be feared. Mediated when it spins out of control, yes, but not feared. Life is change -- that's the one thing that defines all of nature and existence. Such is life. Hey...it keeps us from getting bored!
So...Happy New Year! May 2010 be joyous, enriching and prosperous for each of you!
"The older I get the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first. A process which often reduces the most complex human problem to a manageable proportion." ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower