Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Heart Etsy

I've recently been spending more time and energy on my etsy store, http://www.etsy.com/shop/staciedale .  I've been offering some of the keepsake chests at reduced prices and adding some new designs that aren't on my website http://www.staciedaledesigns.com .  One of the new discoveries on etsy that I have found is http://www.etsykids.com .  It's a group of like minded artists who create items specifically for children.  Its a great way to network with others in our cottage industry and it's a great central place for shoppers looking for unique handmade items for children.  Come see what it's all about!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Photo Card

Wreath Monogram Christmas
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Doing What Customers Want

It is January 30th 2011 and I have no orders in the hopper! This is the first day that I haven't painted something since September of 2010. My hand needs a rest! I did however, have to do a sketch for a potential customer today so I did do a little work. I am hoping that this week will allow me to get new designs painted and get the new products rolling. I have so much stored in my brain right now, I think I could paint for a week straight just to get it out.
February is usually a slower month for me and I am happy about it. It gives me time to re-energize and do some creative work.
This past month has been interesting with lots of drama. Several other artistis I know in the children's art industry have taken to calling each other on the carpet about copying designs. I've seen people worry themselves over being sued or copied and heated words exchanged over blogs. I recently saw the remake of True Grit (Fabulous flick BTW) and these exchanges could rival the banter of the gritty cowboys in this movie! So here's my thoughts on copying. Unless you're a Van Gogh, Monet, or Michaelangelo you probably should just keep forging ahead and take it as a compliment that so many see you as "a leader" in your industry. In the children's art market, no one has been copied or "interpreted" more than Beatrix Potter. Heck, there are several furniture companies blatantly using the artwork without licensing it and calling it something else (like ---------Forest). Mostly I think companies (including my own) reinterpret designs because that's what the customer asks for. It isn't meant to intentionally give the old "screw you" to the artist. It isn't even about making money. It's about trying to do what the customer asks for or what you think they want to see from you. Now, do I think it's right to blatantly take a design from an artist and sell it as your own? No. Do I think it's Ok to do your own version of another artist's design? Sometimes. Why sometimes? Because in the big picture, we're just making disposable art. Most of it will end up thrown away one day. It's not as if someone is going to keep a wall hanging that says "Bella" on it forever, or hang it in a museum. The work we do is temporary. It will only be hung on a wall in a child's room for 10 years or so and then replaced with a gaudy poster of the latest teen idol. None of us are going to get rich doing children's wall art. That's a fact. There's too many "interpreters" out there and it's a fad that will pass when the times change. I think it's best to not take what we do so seriously and not play the blame game of what came first, the princess or the princess crown? This too shall pass. Not to mention, negativity is a curse on an artist's creativity.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Excitement in the air!

Well it's November 29th and what a busy month! We had our second highest grossing month this year which is great. December orders are already coming in and hopefully 2010 will go down as the year of the rebound! November brought some excitement for Stacie Dale Designs. We were asked by designer, Sherri Blum http://www.sherriblumdesigns.com , to create a special keepsake chest and book caddy for a very special celebrity client. I can't reveal who it is yet, but all will be revealed this February! Also, I have been approached about licensing my artwork for canvasses. This would be a whole new venture for me and fullfill a desire I have had to do canvass artwork without having to hand paint every single piece. I don't know any of the details yet, but I hope to soon and will share my journey through the world of licensing!
I am so excited for Christmas this year...more so than usual and I'm not sure why, but I feel as though 2011 will bring new adventures for me and for Stacie Dale Designs. I adore my customers and am so thankful to have the opportunity to get to know so many of them. I hope to continue to be inspired and bring them new products and designs. Let's all put this roller coaster ride of a recession to bed and start fresh this coming year!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ready for the holidays!

It's November 1st and boy do I feel like the worst blogger ever. It's been months! On a happy note, it's been months because I've been busy. Although I still see signs of a dragging economy, I see some bright lights too. Many of the websites (mostly mom-owned) that started on a similar journey a few years ago have fallen by the wayside. Those that structured their businesses on unique ideas and didn't copycat others, seem to have stayed in the game. Many of us in the baby gift and decor business have found ways to streamline and have gotten alot more savvy with how we present our business. Websites have had makeovers, retailers have learned that less is more, and we've all weathered the storm together.
I'm happy to have had a little bit of time to create some new keepsake boxes but still have several more to get done. I will also be adding some new products this year: a book caddy which I really like and a whole new assortment of more expensive furniture - YES! I said more expensive. Why? Why would I add more expensive products in a down economy? Well, I've been itching to do some one-of-a-kind pieces that encompass alot more artwork, therefore, they will be at a higher price point. These new pieces will be under "The Monarch Collection" and should start showing up in early 2011. It will give me a chance to work on pieces that bring me joy and encourage my creativity, rather than focusing on pieces I can crank out for mass retail. I don't mind one bit doing the latter, but as an artist, I sometimes need to do something different.
I feel ready to take on the holidays this year and am so thankful for the wonderful customers I have and the select retailers who are also wonderful to work with. I hope everyone has a profitable holiday season but more importantly, a joyous one where we can all give thanks for being able to keep going. Happy holidays!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Too busy to blog

Well, it's April 10th 2010 and I'm finally getting a few minutes to write something. These past few months have just been extremely busy. I have to say that I am completely surprised with how much business I have had ( especially these past 2 months) in a down economy. Perhaps things are starting to turn around? Let's hope so!
As many of you know, I scaled back my wholesale business to just a handful of accounts that are profitable and steady for me. Since I am essentially a one-woman show, it's difficult to manage a wholesale business with a direct retail business going on too. Somehow, some way, I have managed to keep my sanity.
Over the past few months I have also been doing some research on similar businesses to mine. I've found alot of stay-at-home Moms are starting their own businesses which I think is great. However, I don't want to give anyone the false sense that being a work-at-home Mom is easy. Other SAHMs expect you to still be able to do social events and charity work in the middle of the day ( not to mention elderly family members who think you have free time to chat on the phone). Your business is always being interrupted by your stay-at-home status. Whether it's the loads of laundry you try and squeeze in between spurts of work or the cookies you bake for "just an hour" that turn in to 2, you can never do just work. There have been occasional days where I am uninterrupted but I think I can count those on one hand. Working from home is not easy but it does give you the freedom to accept some of those interruptions. I thought it would allow me to spend more time with my children but that isn't really the case. Although I am here when they go to and come home from school, I usually spend and hour helping w/homework and then make dinner and then go right back to my office to paint....although I get "interrupted" many times which is OK with me. My kids are the most important people in my life and are the whole reason I keep working. In just 8 short years, my son will be off to college at a price tag of $200,000! The following year will be my daughter's turn. So I'll take being overburdened with work and all of the interruptions that come with it with a smaile on my face knowing that it's all worth it in the end.
As for the rest of April; well, I have a ton of orders to paint and I really want to get several new designs painted before the end of this month and add them to my website. I also want to do a few new Zazzle designs that I have rolling around in my head but somehow, I have a feeling it won't all get done before May1st. Keeping my fingers crossed...actually my fingers holding a paint brush until next time...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Love Zazzle

Well it's been a long while since my last entry. I've decided to stay committed to the keepsake chests & boxes for 2 more years while I get some other things under way. I had a great time teaching this Summer at The Phoenix Village Art Center http://www.phoenixvillageartcenter.org and will be teaching some after school classes this Fall. I must be crazy taking on teaching during the holiday season....it's always crazy so this year will just be more so.
The most exciting thing I have been working on lately is designing products on Zazzle http://www.zazzle.com/STACIEDALEDESIGNS . I love how easy it is to design something and put it up for sale in just minutes...it's genius. I'm awaiting delivery of my first product from Zazzle to see if it looks as good in person as it does on the computer screen...fingers crossed! There will be a link to zazzle from my website shortly and I will be emailing all of my customers to introduce them to this new line of clothing and gifts, What fun! Until next time...keep up the creativity!