This is an image I modified to make into a gift for my aunt Cathie. The story is, my grandpa King was quite the gadget man, was always wanting in on the latest cool things (he owned a computer before anyone in the family). In his later years, he somehow ended up following the shopping channel, and when he saw something he liked, he would order about 10 of something and give it out to friends and family who may enjoy his newly discovered treasure. One of these items, I think it was an iron boot scraper in the shape of a ‘hot dog’ (he really got a kick out of Dachshund’s), and aunt Cathie ended up with the extras of these and then asked if I would like to take one. I responded by saying “well, I like it in your house.” I had been trying to be polite, not at ALL wanting one, she immediately burst out laughing, at which time I joined in as well, and she has never missed an opportunity to bring it up since. So, I found an Anne Taintor card that I could adapt and fill in the wording I wanted, framed it, and gave it to my aunt Cathie, who hung it up in her dining area, where it still stands. **For the record, I don’t condone copying someone’s work, and as aunt Cathie and I appreciate and enjoy Anne Taintor’s work, I adapted it just for her, our own joke, so I hope Anne will forgive me.**
I mentioned previously that I have written to, and heard back from a few people who I follow and who I feel offer value (to me). Normally I would feel very shy and insecure to write to ‘people of influence’ but my desire to connect with people sometimes tips the scale enough past being shy to just go for it. These people I feel like I could approach, and they started somewhere too, right? So I would think they wouldn’t be upset if someone reached out to them – if they were, they can ignore it, and we move on.
I had written to Anne Taintor first, this was quite a few years ago. At the time I had known my objective (Children’s books) but also had a pretty good idea for something I would put on art cards, and it was versatile enough (As Anne Taintor’s work is) to be easily used on a large variety of items. I still like my idea (and want to see it realized), by the way, but it is not my ‘end goal’. So I corresponded with Anne on how she started, and she admitted to laughing at my question about if she had envisioned her work expanding into so many forms. She started simply by creating things – pins and earrings is actually what she started with and said “When a customer suggested I make magnets, I thought she was on drugs. When another customer suggested cards, I thought ‘crack.’” She is so funny, I do admire people with wit have a good sense of humour. We discussed trademarking (there was confusion in the marketplace to the extent that other peoples’ products had been advertised as hers and some copies had been ripped off – who would do that??). Trade shows and reps was another point of conversation. By conversation I mean, she responded in length to the three emails I sent her, I am so grateful!
Her advice was:
-create a budget even if you have no idea, see how your work and sales compare and then use that as a yardstick
-check out stores that may sell your product and if the owners / buyers would be willing to give you some time
-a lot hinges on luck and playing your luck!
Asking people questions is always worthwhile, there is always something to learn. It’s fun making new connections and hearing people’s stories. If you gain some information that can be adapted to your own story and goals, you are finding value. Always ask questions, and as the Chinese proverb goes: He who asks a question is a fool for a minute. He who does not ask is a fool for life.
~Groetjes * Greetings,