This is my formal announcement: I have prints for sale!
The last few months have been normal around my house except for the big addition of this venture to open up an online shop, which I stuffed into the crevices of my free time. But, if I'm being truthful, I have loved every minute of it! Many in my life helped, too. They encouraged, advised, criticized, high-fived, hand modeled, and shared in my excitement.
All kinds of details go into an online store, and I didn't know all that it would take until I started doing it. For example, sure, I wanted to offer prints, but who will print them? What size? What images do I choose? Are the files print-ready? How will I ship them?
I started with: I want to print my photographs.
I experimented with different kinds of paper, color profiles, sizes, and images. I wanted to be sure I could maintain consistent quality without sacrificing too much time (or sanity) to fulfill an order. I went through a lot of trial and error.
I had an unexpected moment when I shared photos of failed prints and friends called dibs on them, haha! See below... There are so many settings on a photo printer that give the output of a perfect print and I had trouble hitting the target with this particular fine art paper I wanted to try. The paper these images were printed on was—I kid you not—$3.00 per sheet! At least someone is enjoying them now!
I finally got past printing difficulties and landed on a product that I was happy with and knew I could reproduce with considerable ease. By then, the dog was way over it.
Once I decided on prints, I tried my hand at product photography with help from a few trusty assistants.
I picked a bright, sunny spot in our house to take photos, laid kraft paper as a neutral background, and went to town. Even though it would have been easier to throw up the digital images of the photographs I wanted to sell, I think the photos of the prints make it easier to envision the product and get a sense of the feel, size, and color.
Afterwards, I spent a lot of time processing the product photos, creating the product listings, and in general getting my website set up for future audiences.
Then came the packaging and shipping decisions: tubes, boxes, flat mailer envelopes, stickers, labels, archival cello sleeves, postage, shipping costs, shipping timeline. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say that I spent a lot of time on USPS and Uline's websites, experimenting with labels, updating spreadsheets, constructing boxes. Bonus: I also drank beer and ate a lot of popcorn.
After all this work, I am pleased to say that my shop is now OPEN FOR BUSINESS, I have THINGS for sale, and I'm ready to ship them to you! I will continue to add new products, new print sizes, and share updates via social media, so maybe just keep me in mind if you've got a blank wall to fill or a gift to give.
Despite all the decisions and tedious tasks, this kind of work is truly my happy place. Creating a commerce site to support the sale of my artwork is a privilege. I have tried to take every difficulty or setback with a grain of salt, because at the end of the day, I know I am fortunate to be able to make art. I am even more spoiled that I am able to share it with you, and that the future holds new possibilities, new ways of making, new ways of sharing.
It's pretty cool what you can do with a few good resources.