It's currently early February 2006 and a rather mild winter to
date. Business taxes managed to get done earlier this year with
a less painful return ratio of 3 to 1 from the 4 to 1 in 2004
and 5 to 1 in 2003. Still not in the black but heading in the
right direction with cost management of the festivals attended
in 2005. Still maintaining a below $400 show fee as well as limiting
the overall distance traveled. Point in fact was the Toledo show
where the heat, as with all of the shows, was a major factor at
keeping customers away. The show distance was over 1600 miles
away, which puts it at the upper end of the return on investment
spectrum of about $1200. Now when no sales are logged, interest
in the artwork below average and time traveled are taken into
account, it makes this show a liability and not worth the return.
Even if sales are slower year to year, shows such as Buffalo,
Mystic and Glastonbury are at the smaller end of investment risk
and worth the return.
Still spending a lot of time trying to find shows fitting my
criteria to establish a more permanent schedule. It would be a
little easier if one were able to get into the shows to which
one applied. Also, less time is now needed to figure out the state
tax returns this year, since three new states were added last
year and none this year. Finally had to write out the schedule
of sales and use tax returns for all of the states since adding
the new states; they are all different.
Finally came to the conclusion from attending the festivals for
the past few years that a sports niche does exist and it's just
a matter of having the requested sport artwork on hand to increase
sales. Had some time this past fall to design a Triathlon print
in both male and female genre. This was after a swimmer in a freestyle
format was designed. Also managed to get a hockey player designed
and a soccer and lacrosse photo in the works. The expensive part
of printing is obtaining the photopositives to expose the screens.
So, at the moment the designs sit as colored-in plots on the drafting
table. Will probably print some of them and bring the remaining
plots to the shows as proof of concept to obtain some sales. The
booth design is also changing to reflect more of a sports theme.
Also removing the inner fabric from the booth walls to show the
hanging mesh; had positive comments when it was done at a couple
of the more humid and hotter shows.
Lost some ground in the search engine rankings due to a 7 month
subscription lapse in registration with the search engines. Still
have first page ranking on most pages within the search engines
and top ranking in the Froogle storefront for the artwork. But,
there hasn't been any on-line inquiries about the artwork spite
the specific search hits for the artwork. Also, still haven't
gotten the credit card process implemented; just haven't spent
any time on determining what needs to be implemented and how to
go about doing it. Another wall that needs to be climbed to make
it easier for point and click sales; no excuse.
Need more sporting designs and a better avenue for sales. Possibly
an agent that has dealings with the corporate world on sports.
But, presently need to spend more time designing sporting things
and determining how to best present those designs. Need to carve
out some design time and figure a way back to the enjoyment of
designing. Get all the frustrating life crap out of ones head
and focus on the proper avenue; easier said than done.
An update to my update: researched and purchased equipment
to print reproductions of all of my artwork, including those not
yet hand printed. Equipment also prints photopositives on film.
The expense of past photopositives in and of itself has already
paid for the equipment. All of the artwork files need to be modified
for printing. Now, hopefully the Walmart Mentality that
customers have grown into while attending the art festivals can
be overcome with the less expensive reproductions. People like
the artwork, they just don't want to spend $100 on a 13x18 unframed
hand pulled print; well let's find out if they're willing to spend
$30 on a reproduction.
A final update to the updates: the almost over show season
has turned out to be the most successful season to date. The bet
on the reproduction demand was understated, it was difficult to
keep up with demand supply between each show. Of course we still
do not have all of the design requests, else our sales could possibly
have been double on the year. It should be an exciting show season
for 2007, as well as the possible holiday season.
We followed the major part of the season with hiring RA of MerchantPAL
consulting services to bolt on a secure shopping cart onto the
website. Due to our requested requirements on the cart functionality
it took about one month, until mid-October, to complete the functionality.
It will now take until about the end of October for me to populated
the new product pages with the shopping cart functionality. All
of the setup services provided by MerchantPAL cost the company
only $295, and there isn't a zero missing from that number. Recommend
their service to anyone who wants to keep your existing site design
and can utilize their example page of your product line and populate
the rest of the site with the code. This drive was taken up at
the request of our customers who also want to purchase reproductions
for the holiday season and for the procurement of new artwork
designs online. It's gotten to be exciting times again...a design
can be done on a Tuesday and sold as a graphic reproduction on
Friday. This way it can be determined which artwork designs should
go to the next level of the more expensive silkscreen instead
of the other way around.
Our site has finally incorporated a secure shopping cart with
updated silkscreen pages and new graphic reproduction product
lines...and about time...20-October-2006.
It's been real
We'll have to do it again real soon.
Talk at ya.