Friday, June 1, 2012

The Return of Cottage Industry

(imported from my former photo blog)
We've become a world of virtual shoppers, virtual communicators and virtual identities.  As an optimist I'd like to think there are still "real" people out there, with real integrity and honest motives.

I loved the movie Jerry MaGuire, where he has had a quantum moment and writes a mission statement about getting back to the real meaning of doing business;  less clients, more quality service.

I've been thinking a lot about my art business and how it has become virtually too virtual.  Most everything I've done in the last couple of years has been online - cyber galleries, websites and facebook promoted.  Sales have been dismal.

Instead of making assumptions like people just aren't buying art because of the current economy, or God forbid, my art just isn't good enough, I've decided it's time to reformat.
 I want to return to a more grass roots, cottage industry operation.  More personal relationships, meaningful service.

In both of my previous brick and mortar galleries, I sold more real art to real people.  They could see the art on the wall, or as greeting cards, tangible, real.
We would talk about their tastes, preferences, collections.  Art isn't just decor, it accents the furniture and surroundings of a home or office.

From the business angle, this idea gives me more control of my business, however it also increases my responsibility to market myself.

In this day and age everyone is a photographer, so we've got to find our niche that speaks for each of us.  Mine has become limited edition prints that are hand signed and numbered, as well as greeting cards, so it just makes sense to return to some of my former strategies for sales and marketing - in the real world.

So as I convert most of my online viewing to private galleries by password use only, I will also be creating a home studio space and a mobile studio that will come right to your door if you live within 60 miles of me.
I also hope to organize a few small local shows and at least one annual open art studio tour for Hood Canal artists.

I have a feeling that I am not alone in this endeavor.  I think other artists are also becoming disenchanted with the virtual world.  
Let's take a step back, regroup, reassess and get more personal.


  1. I love this, Jeni! I think you're right that there are a lot of us moving in this direction. I talked to a retail shop owner over the weekend who said that she doesn't do much business online, nor does she want to. One of the main reasons? Too much competition online. I mentioned to her that my cards sell when people can touch them, in person. What you wrote is the way things are going for me, that's for sure! Good article! Jennifer

    1. Thanks Jennifer. I think it's definitely going to be a new trend. I have been thinking about this since our last conversation and after reading the book Virtually You.
      It will be interesting to see how it unfolds!


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