Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Advice From a Full Time Artist: Payment Options When Selling your Products


I was at a Holiday Bazaar earlier this December, I found a man selling handmade Pizza pans and baking sheets, he made them out of steel and aluminum, they were awesome! 
He had a lot of customers,
How cool would it be to have a handmade steel baking pan? I thought it would be, so I looked at all his products, picked out what I wanted to buy and waited in line.....
When it was my turn to pay I pulled out my debit card and he said "Oh! I don't take cards, only cash or check"
Well, there went not owning one of his pans....
For one, I NEVER carry checks, not sure if I know anyone who still does and I rarely have the right amount of cash on me.
So what to do? Nothing... I didn't buy one, they venue didn't even have an ATM. I watched him turn down three more people who wanted to pay with cards. I asked him for a business card and he didn't have any.... I walked away bummed out and with no way to find him in the future...
(read my post on business cards here)

As a seller and wanting to make as much money as I can (I have bills to pay like the rest of us)
I suggest EVERYONE take credit card payments. 
It's so easy now!  
I accept every form of payment except bitcoin (honestly, I still don't quite understand what it is)
My main form of collecting payment is Paypal  they accept all card types, including Apple Pay
I also have it on my website 
 

I also have Square, and of course accept Cash and Check too.

Square is new for for me, I was selling at a local art festival in July and Paypal crashed, it was the first time it ever happen to me, I called them and their whole system crashed! I had a customer waiting to buy a painting! I panicked and decided to gamble with my sale, gathered her credit card and personal info on a piece of paper and told her I would ring it up later, I let her take the painting... 

But what was I going to do the rest of the day while Paypal was down? 

It was either trust everyone's payments to go through later and let them walk away with my art, or figure something else out, my vendor neighbor said he had an extra Square reader I could use, but I didn't have a Square account, so I hustled and downloaded their app, set up an account and BOOM! I was back in business, it took about 15 minutes and I didn't miss any sales.
All you do is download their app to your smart phone, add your info and your ready to payments from either company, super simple!
Once your done collecting payments you just transfer the money to your bank account. 

Having a back up plan is always good, so now when I'm vending at shows, I carry both Square and Paypal, just in case.They both are about the same in what they charge, about 2-3% of the amount collected, which is really nothing compared to loosing sales!

Have Questions?
Leave a comment below




 

 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Holidays!



Happy Holidays!
 
We hope your enjoying the Holiday with Friends and Family!
Stay safe and enjoy!
 
 
Don't let Darth ruin your Force...
http://1029thehog.com/road-hogs/darth-santa-wrecking-the-halls-video-2/

 
 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Art Advice from a Full Time Artist: Email Newsletter


Today we're going to talk about Email Newsletters, 
Do you have products that you want to tell past customers, friends or family about?
It's simple,
 While out and about, having an Art Show, being at a Festival, Holiday Bazaar or where ever you are selling your products, have a simple way for buyers to sign up and stay in touch,
I have a few different ways to collect customers info,  
 
1: I have a note book that says "email sign up" laying around all my events.
people just write their email down and I plug it in to my  Constant Contact Email Marketing Software
(There are many different companies available to use, that are free and easy to set up, find one that suits you best)
 
2: Text to sign up, Constant Contact
offers a free text service, so If someone doesn't want to write their email down, They just text the word URBANSOULE to the number 22828 and their automatically signed up! 
 
3: Paypal, When I ring someone up for their purchase using the Paypal app, at the end of the transaction, when they sign, it will ask them if they would like to sign up.It then, connects to my Constant Contact and adds them and I don't have to do anything!
 
About once a month I send out a newsletter to everyone on my list with new products, promotions or events,.
Super easy and it's a great way for customers to see what your doing, keep in touch AND keep your products on their mind!
 
Have Questions?
Leave a comment below



 
 
 



Monday, December 19, 2016

50% off!!

50% Off ALL PAINTINGS on my website until Friday Dec 23rd! 
Paintings have the original price listed, 
However, 
PayPal wont let you use a discount code, so you have two options, either purchase it direct off the site and I will refund you 50% asap 
or you can email info(@)urbansoule.com with the title/description of the painting, your email and contact info and I will invoice you for the total. 
Get a super great deal while you can! Sorry, No monthly payment plans accepted on sale items. First come first serve!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Advice from a full time Artist: Business Cards

Sorry I'm a day late writing this post, I was out Holiday shopping yesterday and had a client meeting to sell some art!

Today's topic is business cards!

You NEED Business Cards or some sort of card with your info.
I've met countless artists that will tell me about their work, I get interested and ask for a business card and they say they don't have one! What!? 

It's like not having a website (see prior post here)

I want to be able to go home, look at their website and have their info on file, I have a box that is full of business cards, flyers and post cards that I've picked up from other artists and makers. 
I go back through out the year and check out what they're doing, especially during the holidays.

I currently have four different promotional types of cards I hand out or leave at various places.
1: Standard size business cards, they have different images of my work on the front, the back has my website, email and location.
2: Small 2x2 stickers with my logo and business name
3: Standard size 4x5.5 postcard which all have different images of my work, the back has in depth info on talking about what I do, website, email and newsletter sign up.
3: Pet Portrait flyer, which has images of custom pet portraits I have made, how to order, website and email. 
These four options give me four ways to give someone my info, if someone doesn't want a postcard, I give them a business card that fits in their wallet, if someone is only asking about pet portraits they get the flier, and kids always like stickers.
I carry a few of each with at all times, you never know when you'll meet someone who is a potential buyer/client.
I use the following companies
PS Print for my stickers and business cards
Vista Print for my Post Cards and Pet Portrait Fliers 
You can even hand make yours, which I love, but just don't have time to do myself. 

If you don't have any cards make some or order some right now!
They will increase your sales and make it 100% easier to market your products!

Have Questions?
Leave a comment below

 








Thursday, December 8, 2016

Equinox Very Open Studios!


This only happens once a year! 
I'm so excited to be part of this event as a guest artist.

Equinox Very Open Studios! 

Dec 10th from 6-10pm
 
 Equinox Art Studios now has over 100 artists in all mediums,
 Blacksmiths, Potters, Painters, Photographers, Sculptors and more!
Tour the artists studios, see demos and take part in creating, it's a wonderful event!
I'll be located upstairs in the main hallway 
Come join us and have a wonderful time!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Advice from a full time artist: They Love it or Hate? Ask Why?

Art is not something you can convince someone to like…no matter how much you talk about it or try to explain it. 
It’s not like buying toilet paper (a necessity)  
If there is a piece of art that speaks to me, there is little you can do to change my love for it.  People can be persuaded to buy things regardless of whether or not they like them or need them. 
But Art has to speak to the person, it has to invoke feelings in them, there is no "magic" formula to make this happen. 
However....
http://urbansoule.com
If you ask someone what they think of your art, and they respond with "I Love it" 
That's great!
But not always true. 
 A lot of people won't tell you the truth if they think it's going to hurt your feelings... although I have had a few that have told me their true thoughts, it stings but oh well, like I said before we all don't like the same things. 
To help you grow as an artist you should ask
 why?  
with either of the responses:
Why that person doesn't like it?
or
Why the person does love it?

Sometimes it might just be the color and if your willing, suggest making them a custom piece. 

http://urbansoule.com
Its easy to turn most insightful conversations into sales...
I've been at many festivals where a patron would come into my booth and point out the paintings they like, I normally respond with a "Thank you" however if someone points out a painting that they don't like (usually to their friend) I ask "How come? Or "What would you change about it?" 
They usually tell me, they don't like the image itself, or the color, or the whole piece, I start engaging in conversation with them asking what they have in their house, the colors they like, we normally get into a fairly deep conversation, mostly getting to know each others likes and dislikes. I then offer to show them more I've done that they might like, Chances are they will find something they do, at this point you offer to make them a custom painting (if you do commissions)  and if they don't find anything, well move on... but to understand your buyers you must ask why...

Have Questions?
Leav a comment below

Friday, December 2, 2016

Paypal Chip Card Reader Promo


Paypal is offering their new Paypal HERE chip card reader
for $79 for a limited time

Uses the promo code 
SUPERSAVINGS
during checkout. 
Offer valid through Dec 31st, 2016
It's a great deal, it's secure and a must have for any traveling artist! 
I use both Paypal and Square when traveling to festivals.

 They both work great,
Paypal is my main choice as I can invoice customers if needed, I use Square as a back up, just in case something happens, like no internet connection, Square will store the information until you connect to the internet. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Winterizing Cold Hardy Banana Trees: Step 2


So we got the leaves cut off and the stalks wrapped up in Bubble wrap,
Now get your chicken wire, make a ring around the base
again, Vinnie was a great helper.... (not really)
Start filling the base with your mulch, I'm using the leaves I collected from my neighbors, last year I used straw but I didn't buy any this year.
 Secure the ring of chicken wire together at the ends so its sturdy.
next, make another ring higher up, you want to go as tall as the stalks, secure the edges again.
Fill with your leaves or straw, in this case (above) I just ran out of leaves and chicken wire, so I'm temporarily covering the bubble wrapped stalks with my paper and plastic bags I had collected the leaves in until I get more supplies.
Same here...
I need to add more chicken wire to both to make it the correct height and add more leaves or straw, 
I will leave the bags on top of the stalks but will stuff them so the stalks are fully covered in the leaves or straw,
Off to the store to buy more supplies!
Stay tuned!
 Have questions?
Leave a comment below.







Advice from a full time artist: Work

“Follow your heart.” “Trust your gut.” “Find your voice.” “Stay true to your vision.”
You want to follow those but...
It’s not that there isn’t merit to these "quotes" of wisdom for artists, it’s just that, following your heart won’t help you pay the bills or buy food.

http://urbansoule.com


Take the job. 
If someone wants to hire you, take it, Do whatever it takes to be able to call yourself a working artist. 
Especially when your first starting out, you might not like it, but it's work, there's plenty of time later on in your career to to turn down jobs. Once your established. 
I've taken plenty of Commercial work and it has brought me a lot of new clients.

The unbearable truth...Art IS a commodity. Nobody "needs" a painting to hang on the wall. It's a "want" it's a "desire" people like "things" and "pictures" that make them feel happy, or emotions or merit, so of course they will buy art, but while your waiting for buyers, take the jobs offered to you.

Have questions?
Leave a comment below




Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cold Hardy Bananas: It's time!

With the change of weather here in Seattle, from 50's to 40's to a drop in the low 30's coming, 
you never know whats going to happen in the weather.
I was going to do this Saturday but now it says its going to rain and today is somewhat nice.
So Lets get started with winterizing the Banana trees!


First you'll need:
Bubble Wrap
knife/scissors
packaging tape

This is the small grove I'm starting with.. and the first steps of the process,
 
 Start by cutting off the leaves of each plant, DON'T cut the stock and DON'T throw away the leaves.
Next year the Banana leaves will start growing from the top, you want to keep the height of the tree, 
when you get all the leaves cut off, just make a clean cut across the top as seen in this picture below,
Vinnie our dog was helping me.
 
Next... make a bubble wrap "cap" for the top of the stalk, this prevents water getting down inside the stalk, make sure the bubbles of the bubble wrap are facing inward on the stalk, you still want a little air circulation
tape around the wrap so its tight. 
 I use two pcs of the wrap for the "cap"  and fold them over
.next start wrapping the stalk making sure the bubbles are on the inside...
go all the way to the base and start on the other stalks...
 Once I finish wrapping the stalking, wrap tape around the whole stalk to make sure the bubble wrap is secure.
Take the leaves you cut off and lay them, top side up, along the bases of the trees, I lay mine above the bubble wrap edge at the bottom and weave them through all the tree bases. 
This creates an extra layer of "mulch" that will keep the heat in and frost out, make sure the bases of the stalks/trees are fully covered, if they freeze they turn to mush and .....die....
Here's my next grove I finished today, the bigger trees, about 7-8ft tall.
Same process, cut off all the leaves and lay them at the bases.

Close up

 Stalks all wrapped and leaves are protecting the bases and the ground from cold.
In the next day or two I will be finishing them up. 
In the meantime gather your leaves/mulch/straw and your chicken wire, we are going to be making a ring around them and filling them up solid to the top!

Have questions?
Leave a comment below

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cold Hardy Banana Trees: it's almost time!

It's almost time to winterize my bananas!
I've been (and I'm sure your waiting for me too)
to winterize these Cold Hardy Banana Trees in my yard, I wait until first frost....
well... it's been extra nice here in Seattle, which has been great!
I've got everything prepped for it, just been waiting, and waiting...
 Its Nov 28th already and no frost, the Bananas have been growing and are still looking good so I left them as they are...
I checked the weather today and it looks like maybe this weekend, Sunday night, we'll get the frost, So I'm thinking Saturday I will chop the leaves off and bundle them up for winter.
I will be posting pictures, along with an easy tutorial on how to winterize them and what works for me. I'm sure going to miss them :(
Stay tuned!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Holidays!



I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!
the best part is getting together and spending it with friends and family, 
gathering around the table, sharing stories and eating, oh all that home cooked food!
 
I hope to you you all at my
 Holiday open studio 
on
 Saturday Nov 26th from 3-8pm 
 Come have some drinks and keep the holiday cheer going!
 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Advice from a full time artist: #1 thing to have

It's very simple...



 Having a website is a sign of professionalism in the art business.) 


A WEBSITE not a Facebook page! 
I don't even have a Facebook page, therefor Facebook doesn't allow me to at your full page, it only lets me see a small portion. IT"S A WASTE OF TIME!
Do not use a third party site as your main web page that you direct everyone to, people don’t and won’t sign up to look at your posts, your goods,etc… 
Facebook is not and should NEVER be your “website” if you want to be treated as a professional, invest in a website (.com) (use your own domain name) So it will be "your art name" .COM there’s plenty of affordable options that are easy to make yourself.
All you have to do is search for Website hosts on the internet, do your research and decide which one is best for you.
and design mine, myself.
If your not sure on how to make one yourself, invest in some classes. In the long run it will help you and your business, you can take the expenses off on your taxes too.

ArtsyShark  Put together a great list of pros and cons:

Pros and Cons of third-party providers:

What are some of the main reasons that artists use third-party providers to sell their work? 
  • These existing websites are known, and already have traffic. They market and promote their sites, and have gained the trust of shoppers, which means less work for you.
  • It can be very easy to simply upload images of your art or handmade work and create a store using their template. Sometimes, a shop can be created literally within minutes.
  • Third-party providers typically offer a shopping cart solution. That means you don’t have to worry about getting merchant services, or complying with the laws and regulations that govern them, as this is already handled.
  • Third-party sites can be inexpensive or even free, depending on how they earn their income. This can provide the easiest way for you as an artist to acquire an online presence, and learn if it could be productive.
  • If the provider offers print on demand, this can expand your offering immensely. They will offer new formats to sell your art, with no investment on your part. And if you want to sell reproductions or products that feature your images yourself, you can order from the print on demand provider and take this stock to retail fairs or events to sell at a markup.
What are some of the drawbacks of third-party providers?
  • You don’t have control. If the provider decides you have broken their rules, they can shut you down. The site belongs to them, and you may have no recourse.
  • You don’t have a way to gather email addresses of interested prospects and customers. Your email list is one of the most valuable assets that your small business has. If your art sales are made on someone else’s site, then they gain the benefit of gathering the email list – which will not be shared with you.
  • Quite often, you have limited ability to brand your shop on a third-party website. Since you must work within their template or parameters, you have to live with their choice in presenting your work.
  • Third-party sites often have links to other shops or artwork on the same page as yours. That means customers that you attracted can easily click away to shop on someone else’s page.
  • You don’t have the choice of functionality on the third-party site. If you are looking for a feature they don’t offer, you are out of luck.


Have questions? 
Leave a comment below


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Shop Small Business Saturday Sale! Nov 26th


I'm having a studio sale for the Shop Small Saturday Nov 26th from 3-8pm
 25-50% off select items!
This is your chance to pick up Holiday Gifts or something for yourself while it's on sale,
 
Raffle, freebies, drinks, snacks, goodie bags!
It will be a great time so you don't want to miss it! 

I hope to see you there!


Friday, November 18, 2016

Elysian Brewery Art Show Nov-Dec


I have a solo show at the 

Elysian Brewery Capital Hill
1221 E Pike St
Seattle,WA





The show will hang until the end of Dec 2016

 Go have a drink and try some of their yummy food!

 
 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Advice from a full time artist: Before you quit your day job

Before you quit your day job to become a full time artist, I suggest investing in some small business and money management classes, being a full time artist is hard work and never a steady paycheck, make sure you have “all your ducks in a row” before diving in head first.

 Definitely take the dive, but be prepared for rough water and empty skies,

 you always have to remember it’s not all about creating artwork, you must know how to market your art, book shows, talk about yourself and your creations in front of many strangers and often.
http://urbansoule.com
When you fall you get back up, when you get declined you move forward, keep your head above water and keep swimming, for every one artist who “makes it” hundreds don’t.
Have questions?
Leave a comment below

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Shopping on Instagram


I'm really excited about this! 
 Instagram is testing a new shopping feature exclusively for a select group of brands on the platform.
The overall idea of the feature is to permit brands to tag their products (up to 5 different products) in their Instagram posts. These shoppable posts are identifiable thanks to a “Tap to view products” sign in the bottom left-hand corner of the image.
Read more at the Iconsquare Blog
urbansoule.com
 
I cant wait for them to roll it out to everyone!
What do you think about it? Do you shop on Instagram?

Leave a comment below


Monday, November 14, 2016

Creative Slump?

I've been in a small curative slump lately, the weather changing, the cold, darkness of fall, slow sales.... it starts happening about mid Oct and runs thru mid November every year for me. I don't want to get out of bed, I just want to hibernate until Spring... nor do I feel like creating anything...
Then the Holiday shopping and Festivals start then I'm busy again!
 This year I'm trying hard to break that cycle, I'm embracing the early darkness as a time to cozy up, relax and recharge and I bought an electric blanket to keep warm! Sales are still slow but that cycle with break on it's own. I'm making myself go out to the studio to paint, or clean or sit, anything as long as I'm in the studio....
This week I've made three new paintings...


They were fun to make and got me out of my slump,  if you feel your in s creative slump, funk or whatever you want to call it, make your self go to your studio, at least sit there, clean up messes, just being in your creative space with help your mind and body to get out of that funk!



Thursday, November 10, 2016

Urban Soule Unique and Handmade Holiday Gifts


Looking for some unique Holiday gifts or just some cool new Home Decor?
I made up a Small Gift Guide of some of the handmade products I offer.

These are just a few examples for ideas
You can come by my studio (by appointment) or visit urbansoule.com to purchase without leaving your home!
I ship worldwide!
 
Custom pet portraits are always a favorite, all you need is a favorite picture or two of  your pet, sizes start out at 8x10 for $110 and go up from there, It's a nice personal gift and gift wrapping is free!
Send me an email info(@)urbansoule.com to get your order in time for the Holiday season!
 




Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Modernist House

I just came across this wonderful write up on 
a Mid Century Modernist House here in Seattle that the client has a few of my artworks of their cats.
See the full house tour and read the interview here:

Crystal and Gavin make wonderful pet beds, cat and dog houses, food dishes and other great pet related housewares that fit in with your modern decor, its all handmade by them here in Seattle!
check them out here:

Its great to see my art in other peoples homes! 
I work with you personally to make a painting or other art to fit into your home, you get to choose pattern, color and the images you want. 
Match your couch or not, I can help you decide..
send me an email info(@)urbansoule.com or visit http://urbansoule.com to see examples and current artwork.

Do you own an Urban Soule piece of art? 
If so, send me a picture of it featured in home and I'll post it here!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Time for bed....

Some fun pix of the dogs at bedtime....

"Cant we sleep in the big bed Mom?"