So I’ve been trying to keep my head above water for a while now and most days I feel like I’m sinking. Ever since the Christmas rush, it has been a strugggggle to get everything done. I’m so thankful because I know it is a blessing to have a lot of work and some businesses would love to have this problem but at the same time I need to make a change. I met with my mentor (there is a great back story that is worthy of its own post, she “started” my business) this week for the first time in six months and now I am confident in the plan we have come up with.
I hate the idea of talking about money on my blog because I never have thought this business was about money but if I want to do this full-time it turns out you have to pay attention to money. WHO KNEW?! Lately, I’ve been pulling crazy long hours with commissioned work (like stay up until 3am to get all the sketches done and then go nanny at 7am) Talk about a horrible move. If you want to hate your life, get four hours of sleep and then try to find the patience to deal with three year old tantrums the whole day. I was having a lot of 22 year old tantrums and ended up being quite miserable.
I hate numbers but I did the math and it comes out to me making about $5 an hour with the amount I’m charging right now. Mainly because I put all of my heart and time into my commissioned pieces. Don’t be surprised when you go to my shop and see that some of my prices doubled. This is going to buy me time more than anything else because it will allow me to do far fewer commissioned pieces and I can focus on the work I want to be doing.
For the next six months, I will continue to do what I have been doing. After I get through the work I have scheduled, I will be focusing on stationary. It has always been my plan, but I needed to establish myself first and I think I have a good base at this point. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop drawing AT ALL. Most of my stationary will feature my girls and some witty, borderline inappropriate, sassy sayings. The main change for me is that I will get to draw what inspires me most and to be honest, what I choose to draw seems to do the best in my shop. Commissions are not my favorite. It is like a creative block for me to get a project and have someone else be able to change whatever they want on it.
This is a super scary move for me because it means I am taking a large step back to hopefully launch forward a few thousand steps. Everyone asks me “Why aren’t you in stores?” Getting in stores is much, much harder than you think. First of all, you have to have time to go into the store over and over again to try and catch the owner or buyer and I just don’t have time to do that right now. The other problem is I don’t have a large enough line to even interest stores. Lastly, I just found out that stores like Paper Source and the larger chain stores that I would love to get into someday, have buyers but the buyer’s contact information is protected and the only way to contact them is to go to the NYC stationary show. Well that costs at least 6k to do it right and that’s not feasible for me. So when you think how hard could it be? It’s actually really, really challenging to get in stores. Not to mention, once you’re in them, if your stuff doesn’t sell, you’re not going to be in stores for long. After all of that, I’m in one store. The store I work at. My line launched at the Paper Hat last night and it was a great moment because so many more people will see my work. Unfortunately, I have no idea how long it will stay there for.
To sum this post up, I am preparing to be in stores across Minneapolis by the end of this year. That is my goal and if you know me at all, you know that not many of my goals slip away from me. It is my favorite quality about myself.
I’ve had so many days lately that I was unsure if I wanted to continue down this path because IT IS SO HARD. I am confident that this journey is my purpose in life right now and you don’t just give up on that. If any of you are up at 3 am please think of me because I will most likely be hustling.
1// Probably one of my favorite projects thus far. A logo I designed for Mindy Mae’s Market. Their owner is probably one of my favorite people in the world that I’ve never met. They are located in Salt Lake City, Utah and I will fly there sometime in the future to meet her.
2// My “hello doll” case is featured on stylelately.com for 40% off. It will be there for 2 more days.
3// My favorite after work activity. Thrifting at Hunt and Gather.
4// My dream catcher is now available here.
5// Lipstick to bed is always a good idea. You wake up and feel pretty (minus the bed head)
6// Packaging for my favorite customer
7// A few of my favorite things.
8// A stop at Glam Doll Donuts on Saturday morning. A fav mpls stop.
9// Parc Boutique sip and shop event. Another favorite mpls stop.
10// Parc finds. This MPLS tee is an absolute must have. I live in it.
11// My Vday line is in my shop. Get it here.
Thank you for so much support. It is really unbelievable to me that so many people are willing to follow along with me on this journey. I know this change will be a great thing for me and my customers.
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I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book.