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Featuring: Wendy Winet

I found this artist recently on Instagram. I looked at her website and decided I needed to share some of my favorites from her portfolio. Watercolor is a medium I’ve been practicing for a while., so I started building Pinterest boards, Instagram Collections, and following as many artists as I could for inspiration. Needless to say, she is now one of the artists I’ll be keeping in my social feeds.

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Manual Focus

Note: The images below link to a book on amazon.com. This is not a paid promotion or review. Any opinions expressed are entirely my own and do not reflect upon the author of the book.

So freelancing fell by the wayside in the last year and a half. OOPS! It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the work. I got caught up in landing a day-job that I turned out to absolutely love. That turn of events actually reinvigorated my desire to sell what I make. If it means I need multiple platforms then that’s what I’ll do. Jumping further in, unsatisfied with free resources online, I found a book – while working said day-job – and it’s going to be another tool in my arsenal to keep trying and making this thing work.

No lie: I’ve been a failure a great deal on this journey. Go back to the beginning and count them. I’ve had two day-jobs in that time and discovered that I am actually really good at customer service! That’s a very good thing since it’s been a weakness of mine since I was born. Treating my depression was the beginning of my new life. I wouldn’t give it up even if I go broke trying.

I don’t want to actually go broke. Please, Powers-That-Be, save me from THAT. 😛

The book I bought, was gifted by my mom, is called Mind Your Business: A Workbook to Grow Your Creative Passion into a Full-time Gig by Ilana Griffo. What I like about it most is the focus on creatives. It’s not a “business book” (it totally is though). It’s a guide that says, “Here’s something to think about, and then do it!” I’ve only read the first few pages. It’s written in plain English with very little jargon to get in the way.

Not only that, but it’s written by a typography lover, so there’s always something interesting to look at. That’s really how I found it in the first place: the beautiful cover!

Just paying through it, I can tell there’s a lot of exercises and thoughtful nudges in the form of list-making, brainstorming, and graphics that illustrate business ideas visually. YES! A CREATIVE AUTHOR THAT GETS IT! I mean, check out this glimpse of a cake diagram to fill in about branding:

Anyway, I’m going to read some more and hopefully learn something new!


Take it easy and remember to smile!

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My Brand

Megan Pawlak Logo

To bring my Facebook and Etsy presence up to date with my brand, I’ve changed them to @meganpawlakarts and MeganPawlakArts respectively. I think this better describes the myriad interests I have. For example, I recently made myself a necklace and thought “I bet others would buy something like this too!”

Jewelry, however, isn’t my main craft. I make more digital design, crochet, and knitting. I feel like I have more creativity in me than those crafts. So while I mostly create designs that would work great as home decor or apparel, I want to be able to do whatever my creative mind feels like doing.

I’ve done some of everything. Clay, jewelry, fine art painting and drawing, digital painting, graphic design, illustration, crocheting, knitting, paper-crafting. I’ve tried sewing and the only thing that stopped me was that it took a long time. I still have the pieces and could finish it at any time. I WANT to finish it actually!

Yes…I’m sort of a crafting generalist. Why hide it? -channels the cowardly lion- Megan Pawlak won’t be afraid of no one. Not nobody not no how.

Take it easy and remember to smile.

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An Informal Poll

…of my family members shows me that most of them would prefer buying ready-made products. This is one of the reasons I made a move to have a second, independent shop on my website. While Etsy has the advantage of a large audience, it isn’t in the spirit of Etsy to sell commercially produced products as the mainstay of an Etsy Shop.

I did, however, post one of my Pitbull Life shirts to see what would happen. I’m just leaving it there for anyone to find, but not advertising it like I would my other listings. It’s an experiment.

I’m not sure yet what will do well in my shop. I do have some data on website traffic, but until I get some actual buyers, it’s pretty hard to know where to focus. So I keep doing what I like and hopefully that means someone else will like it too.

I ordered myself a shirt so I can see the quality for myself. Printful offers a few options in terms of technique. If I don’t like the quality, I can restrict what I offer to the products they make with only certain techniques. To shorten the story, I’ve heard of, and seen, some pretty shoddy examples of Direct-to-Garment printing, and I don’t want to offer it if the price isn’t right for the quality. I do know that many of the apparel choices are from Bella Canvas which is much higher quality than the Gildan brand and thus worth the extra money to buy.

As always, still learning, still journeying.

Take it easy and remember to smile!

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Product Fulfillment

I have made it no secret that I don’t have the time or space to sell physical items. I’ve taken a step back on that front and also added a new service to my repertoire.

Unlike services such as Redbubble, I’ve discovered a company called Printful that can made print-on-demand products, but work in the background. That means the items go on my website and it’s a much more direct retail type of setup. A customer buys an item, they pay me for it, and the Printful charges me to make and shop the item to the customer. There’s no percentage or fee to figure out. I set my retail price above Printful’s prices and that’s how I make my profit. I get to see exactly how much I’m making.

The very good news about Printful is that I can order one-off custom designs as well! If I have a client that wants a t-shirt made, then I can make the design and fulfill the physical order via Printful. I don’t have to waste time and money driving around or waiting for an online order to come in the mail so I can make the shirt myself. I can’t say I love it yet since I haven’t received an order yet, but it’s something to try. The products are helping fill my store with items to sell that are of my own design, so to speak. That’s really what I care about.

Please check out my shop! I’d love some feedback.

Take it easy and remember to smile!

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Changes

If you’ve tried to visit my blog or shop, you’ve probably noticed a crazy amount of changes. I’ve been unhappy with my theme and how it works with the shop I want. I was using WooCommerce, as it’s quite powerful, but the settings were confusing, and it felt bulky to set up and use. So I’m using WP eCommerce now and I like it better. I find it’s deficits more tolerable than the overwhelming nature of WooCommerce. Anyway, I’m going to take payments exclusively with PayPal to make it simple for me to track and use.

I’ve used PayPal myself for many years now. The guest checkout works great and there’s very little fee up to $10,000. It also stays free until that point! I’ll cross that bridge if/when I need it.

I like the theme that’s on the site now. It has the combination of blog and storefront I wanted and doesn’t have too much styling that conflicts with my branding. I want the focus on the blog posts and store and not the layout elements.

Take it easy and remember to smile!

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Aggressive Prices

I had to make a big decision about my shop. How much should I charge for a service?

It’s a question as old as time for artists. How to price your service or products within reason but also aggressively enough to earn meaningful amounts of money for your work. Since I’m still an e-commerce amateur, I’m sticking to the less-expensive side.

Logos cost $200. If I’m doing all the legwork, then this is a threshold I can’t go below. There is a process. I think it’s a value for the money. You start with 3 options to mix and match, and you are an important part of the design decisions. Communication is key to good design. Remember that a good logo can make your business rememberable at a glance.

Need a logo? Get Yours Now before the prices increase. 😉

Take it easy and remember to smile.

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Officially Open: The Silver Stitchery Stand-alone Shop

You may have seen notifications from me if you follow my blog the last few days. That’s because I upgraded my plan and opened a store!

The Silver Stitchery

I wanted to see if opening a separate store that I run myself would add to my profitability. Etsy has the advantage of being a well-established, large business who can play as middle man when things go wrong. However, competition there is so steep that it’s difficult to get started. Etsy charges fees for their service as well. I want to grow. So it makes sense to branch out and try all the different options open to me.

Take it easy and remember to smile. And visit my shop. PLEASE!?