In today’s Q & Cake (our own fancy version of Q & A) Elisabeth and Cami discuss several questions from listeners about standing out in the creative industry, finding printers as a newbie stationer, getting your products in brick-and-mortar stores, and dealing with frustrated clients gracefully. These are questions from fellow artists, calligraphers, designers, stationers, etc. that will hopefully help you in your own biz journey as a creativepreneur!
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2019 | How do you stay “relevant”? The two of you have such beautiful work so this isn’t really a question about you specifically, just as a tip to newbies, but I feel like I can look up #calligraphy or #woodsigns (or really any simple search) and find sooooo many accounts and calligraphers that are all amazing. So I guess my question is more focused around how do you stay competitive? – Sky Rockey
So I think one of the big things with staying relevant and it’s just always coming up with something new, I think he was always gotta be on the forefront of. Thinking ahead and coming out with either a new product, new collection, new, new something, just like a new way of reusing your product or just something new, just like always keeping your audience, like, what is she going to do next?
I think of Rifle Paper Co. with this. They are amazing obviously. Like once a month, I swear, I got an email and there is a new product. One month they’re like now we have umbrellas. And then the next month they’ll be like, and now we have these other, like little iPhone case things and you’re like, that’s great. Like they just keep coming out with all kinds of fun, new stuff.
So is there another way that we can kind of frame this for people who maybe aren’t there yet or don’t have those resources yet just kind of within the concept of staying relevant, I guess, because I think that you need to be producing creative and fun things, but there doesn’t have to be like a new thing, like every month, I guess.
So, no, you don’t have to have a new thing every month. Like, my new is basically probably like three or four times a year is when I try to do something new. Like I might do little bits and pieces here and there, but I feel like doing like a new collection two times a year. Like you could probably do a collection twice a year, maybe even once a year.
But just having something that you’re always kind of working toward and pushing forward on and that too, like with staying relevant, it can also just be like, if you’re not putting out new products, it could be like just exploring stuff for yourself too as well.
2019 | Hi! I am a watercolor artist and am ready to jump into making my own invitations using my work. I have designed my first wedding suite (just a simple invitation, rsvp and save the date- all examples) and I want to get my work printed for examples, but also establish a relationship with a printing place so if I do (hopefully) get orders, I know right where to go. I’m wondering, do you have established relationships with printing companies? Do you find that most brides just want a digital download, or do you provide the printed invitation for them? Where do you get this kind of printing done, if so? A fine printing place, a place like office max/kinkos? Or do you buy nice paper and print yourself? Just not sure how to get done with making my product real in my hands! Thanks for your advice. – Sofie Ruse
I love this question because Sophie is part of our, A-Z Directory. And like, I hope she feels like I’m not throwing her under the bus because I pulled this question from her from like two years ago when she’s probably like, oh guys, like I have this figured out by now, like I’m in the directory. I know where to get things, but it never hurts to take a little step back to remind all of ourselves that like two years ago, we all knew less of what we were doing.
And so basically the brief answer is like definitely not office max. And Kinko’s you all for all of you who are getting started out there and kind of wondering exactly the same thing that Sofie was two years ago.
Those are like, I kind of think of it like business. Centers. I don’t know, like office supplies, stores, basically anything with the word office in it. It’s probably not going to be the best place to go. That’s a good rule of thumb
2019 | Have you ever received complaints from clients being disheartened that their commission is being reproduced on other mediums (art prints, greeting cards etc), even though it is mentioned in their contract.. How do you deal with this? – Art by Valentine
I’m glad it is in your contract because that’s one of the first tips I would have given you is to make sure your contract says that you own the rights to your artwork and like you can use it however you want because that’s super important to have that laid out explicitly there.
I haven’t had any issues with this. However, if I did have issues, I would just point to the contract and be like, listen, you don’t own this artwork. If you would like to be interested in purchasing it outright so that it’s yours forever, it’s going to be like $10,000 or whatever. So that kind of gives you that protection, but you could also like offer that as an example of like, here’s how I’m willing to serve you, but you have to pay for it kind of thing.That’s probably how I would, I would deal with it if it did come up in the future
2021 | Hey ladies! Big fan here 🙂 My question is for Cami, the product-making queen. I know you sell at a ton of wonderful brick-and-mortar stores. So I’m curious how you discovered those stores and built a business relationship with them. Thank you SO much! – Shelby O. @brokenpaddlestudio
Well, I mean, I kind of started off just by making a list of boutiques that I personally knew of. And when I’m on vacation I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for cute brick and mortar stores where I feel like I would be a good fit and just kind of keeping that list going.
I also find them on Instagram. Like if a PR boutique follows me or if another maker says like, oh my stuff’s at this place now I’ll go check it out, follow them, and try to build a relationship with them, but it’s just more about being observant all the time and trying to keep your eyes peeled for these little brick and mortar stores or big brick and mortar stores that are going to be a good fit.