There’s nothing more valuable to an artist trying to make it than a truly supportive patron. Not only do they support you financially by buying your work (always important!), they boost your confidence and remind you that what you’re doing is indeed worthwhile. If you’re really lucky—like me—they also invite you to fabulous dinner parties and introduce you to their fabulous friends!
My favorite client ordered a set of stationery for each of her closest friends and family. It was a great collaborative experience in which she told me a little about each person’s personality and I designed a monogram or image just for them. I thought the pineapple card might be rather popular, so I printed extras and they’re also available here!
Not a Dull Moment is a photography business run by California girl, Christina Viehoefer. The design process was very collaborative and we both feel like we came up with what suited her best. Plus, the cards printed up absolutely beautifully!
When I first started my company, I did everything I could to drum up custom business. Business cards, stationery, wedding invites—you name it I was up for it. And my prices were low (seriously, if you were a custom client of mine a year or two ago, you got a GREAT deal!), so low that I think I was losing money once I figured in how much time I was spending on each project—not to mention the ones that never came to fruition! I would kill myself trying to make an impossibly short timeline, include tons of freebies…. It was a completely unsustainable business. A handful of jobs came and went and finally I wised up: it simply wasn’t worth the time and stress.
Over the past year or two, I’ve done a piece here or there, but generally I turned down more work than I took on. However, I recently had the pleasure of designing and printing business cards for a local tutor and to my surprise when I finished the project I felt really good about the whole experience. The finished product is beautiful of course, but I think the best part was that after all was said and done, I didn’t feel burnt out or defeated, but inspired and ready for more! Not to mention, my skills have improved over the last couple years, so the process of creating the cards went much smoother from beginning to end.
I finally learned to value my own work. I know I am good at what I do and my time and talent are worth charging a fair price for. The stress and inconvenience were all internal, and once I let that go, I was able to enjoy the work again. I’m excited to revive and revamp this aspect of my business, you can check out the details for business cards here and watch for more to come! I hope this post reminds you to let go of the internal pressure you put on yourself and take pleasure in whatever you’re working on.
This Christmas, I gave myself a gift. The first part was to really, truly take four full days away from work. No email, no phone calls, barely a thought of the office. Sure two of those days were a weekend, but if I’m being honest, it’s rare that I even go a whole weekend without doing a little something for the magazine, so this really felt indulgent for me.
The second part of that gift was to spend much of that time printing. I had a few things I had to get done for Driftless Studio—a beautiful store on State Street in Madison owned by a talented photographer, writer and wonderful person named Anne. Her favorite design is my “Gone to Seed” dandelion print, so I printed up a bunch of those in light blue, plus some Happy Birthday bike cards, some blue and green grasses, love you. cards for Valentine’s and more.
Since the process of inking up, setting the plate and cleaning up is so labor intensive, I tend to print several different designs while I have a color on press. So while I was at blue and yellow, I also did a reprint of one of my fastest-selling designs that I’ve been out of for a while, “you are my sunshine.” I also did a run of a new “congrats” card that would work perfectly for a wedding or new home, plus started lots of recipe cards, limited edition prints and more.
So your turkey is brining, pies are in the oven… now it’s time to decide what to do with the rest of your week. If you’re like me, you stay at home on Black Friday. Sure, I could get a great deal on a new TV, but I’d also have to get up at 4am and risk getting trampled to death by my fellow bargain hunters. Uhhh… no thanks.
However, this year several shop local movements are tempting me to brave the traffic and push thru my day-after-Thanksgiving food hangover. I’m still not waking up at 4am though. You’re going to have to give me a lot more than a discount to get me out of bed at that hour.
Plaid Friday—the obvious alternative to Black Friday—is simply encouraging shoppers to swap the lines and crowds at your local big box shop for a more pleasant experience at an independent retailer. Not only do you eliminate the risk of a fight breaking out in aisle 87, you might actually get some decent customer service out of the deal and find goods that no one else will have. Plus, no need to be an early bird. Have I mentioned cutting your REM sleep to three hours to go shopping is insane?
If you simply must get your Black Friday rush, Small Business Saturday is for you. Same idea as Plaid Friday: support your local economy and celebrate what makes your town different from thousands of other mall-ridden cities. Take advantage of these opportunities to show your support for small businesses!