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Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Big Struggle to be Featured on POD Sites

Lately, or not Lately, often, I run across designers and artists who offer their work on print on demand sites, or a site like Etsy, frustrated because they can not get a chance to be featured, or on the front page, part of marketing campaigns, etc. That it's always the "same stuff, the same designers" being given a chance, being marketed.
Have I been in that place? Yeah. Have I felt frustrated and overlooked, feel I have some really great designs and know I do from feedback from past buyers in many cases? Yeah, I admit it lol! Do I get darn sick and tired of the same script font sappy saying prints, all the stamped jewelry, all the similar variations with clip art wedding invites, the geometric animals made with a graphic program, maps, monograms, and more? Yes, I do. I can't really even express how sick I get of all the sameness all over. Even more "artsy" sites, sites I felt were more about artists and uniqueness, their front pages are loaded with that same stuff, with some different or unique great "omg that's so awesome and creative, I wish I had though of that" designs and ideas thrown in. Never have I noticed trends become so tunneled and so prevalent, in all my years of being a super in tune visual person, having always been interested in art, in an art education, noticer of design, illustration, patterns, colour, ads in magazines, etc. However, I may be just imagining that, and it is Always like that! lol. But, my gut says I am partially right. It's too much! Enough now lol!

Yes, always, I run across very unique and amazing and very successful creatives doing amazing work, and doing well, the very unique will always stand out among the herd. Am I one of those? No, not really, though maybe, like anyone, the potential is there, if I could focus, baby, focus, that, and have oodles of sweet time! But, those are my flaws, I want to do too much and have sooo little time!

The point I am trying to make, is that these sites are first and foremost, money making business ventures. They are an e-commerce site. Their front pages will Always be curated, especially once they become more established, and realize they have to, to stay around, look professional, and popular with visitors and buyers. They do make it possible for artists, designers, makers, etc. to run a shop on their platform. They though, still want to market the site as a site that thrills visitors/buyers, they do still curate their front page as any store does, to keep visitors, make visitors want to explore, and ultimately, buy. They don't tell us we Cannot be on their platform, they never promised us a rose garden though either. Most of us have as much potential as anyone to create designs that are noticed, and picked up and included in their marketing or features, what they present on their front pages, but they have the ultimate last decision on this factor. We still are free to do business with our shops, it just ends up more in our own hands, with maybe not so much help from their marketing team, no push from the site itself. At some point, one thing, or more, or our whole shop, may suit their vision, may get noticed as a real money maker opportunity for them, but this is not the higher percentage of designers, shop keepers, this is the smaller percentage. Most of us slug along, making some sales, marketing on our own and doing ok, or doing real well, making extra affiliating others' designs and products maybe (if the site has that option), or having small successes her and there, or in some cases, lots of drought at times.

Ultimately, your shop is between you and your buyers, first and foremost, whether the platform you have a shop on, markets you or not.

Aside from selling hot because the design is trendy (which usually has its ending point at some time), there is always a need to be highly professional looking, and organized products and store (something I lack a bit lol). Another factor is highly unique, unusual, or stand out in the creative world, which often equates to a short or long run of "sought after" or "collected" once discovered. On top of that, great photography (where applicable like in an Etsy shop). There also needs to be a story often, a connection to the Maker (more in the case of a site like Esty) or Designer that is appealing, pulls the emotional strings, is fascinating or interesting, amazing etc. There are many factors, but it is easy to sit and really admit what the common ones are, in being successful running a creative or maker based e-commerce shop.

Then there also comes the point where one has to say, "I have my own vision and I'm going to make a go at being successful with it" and make all effort to do that through education (free or paid), marketing skill, etc., or, "I'm going to find a way to keep up on the trends, fit in with what consumers really are buying, and hopefully make a success of putting my own spin on it" or, yeah, "copying exactly what sells" without infringing mind you. However, the latter does not always guarantee success either. One, it's already too saturated possibly, then one needs to be a super marketer of their Own stuff, usually via Social Media. This can take a damn long time, or may never work because there's a knack to it that some of us (me) don't have.

Time, is also a Huge factor, in a successful online shop and product or maker venture. I myself, don't have tons of that, and I am sure many don't, unless it is their living, or they are the 2nd not so needed income earner in a partnership at home and don't work outside the house at all or rarely. Time is needed for a plan, to implement that plan, and make a shop a professional, organized entity from the beginning. Me? Though I do feel I present my best designs and work, I do tend to do the "trial and error" method of filling my shops with a huge and often unrelated variety of designs and products. Not probably the correct way to go about it and hope to be super successful. However, it can work in some ways, especially through Esty and selling photography, etc., as a huge amount of keywords bring many different potential buyers to one's shop that way, which means more potential that they will see something they love, and buy (one hopes lol).

There are though, many factors out of our control, or not well within our control. One being the site's algorithm (not always perfect) and the sites search functions (also can seem messed up at times), as well as the specific SEO in place. It is not always easy to perfect our listings, tile, description and keywords, to get into the first result spots of potential buyers' searches. We are able to educate ourselves on current SEO basics for online search engines, but again, this can mean "needing to have a Lot of time!" I don't have tons of that, so I know only a few dribs and drabs of it, learned much of it from my husband, who Does have the time to be well educated in that stuff, and also to make myself aware of any of the info the site itself offers in the info or FAQ sections for sellers/designers.

Some print on demand sites work in a way which I don't find I want to succumb to, either, and that is all this sharing and liking and false "pushing ones products or designs in to the popular arena" by pleading for hearts or likes therefore getting not so organically shoved into the front position on searches and site's pages. Yes, the best and most fantastic and unique will Always make it organically. This fake and inorganic method is something that one Could attempt to do, and control, but in the end, I don't feel that is the best way. Frankly, it is Fake and cheesey, to me, and in the long run, doesn't feel good.

I find one of the hardest things, as an artist, is also to admit to myself when a design or work really isn't up to par, it kinda failed, it's just not working, or it just is not appealing enough on the product I chose to offer it on, basically, it's amateur schlock even lol! This also is something one needs to be open to exploring and accepting, all of us, with our works. If this is a conclusion one ends up coming to, one can work harder to hone their designs or skills, come up with better concepts and designs, or even seek education necessary in order to be better at what we've chosen to do, make our work more and more professional and stand out. I know I can always improve, and I am sure every artist and designer is constantly developing and improving. It's Recognizing that one must, that is the hard part. Or, just be happy doing what one does, keep doing it, and who cares :-)

To note, a lot of what I wrote is personal opinion, a lot from years of observation, some from my own experiences, education, exposures, etc. In the end, it is my Opinion really. Others may have a completely different, or much more expert, outlook and opinion on a lot of this stuff.

In the end, as an artist, I feel doing your best, and personally genuine work, will always come across and be appealing, to viewers and buyers.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Love this Ceramic Artist, Pamela, of Hobbitware!

Orange Monster Bowl ©Hobbitware
I first ran across her work on Etsy, on one of the (now retired) Treasuries. Her work was featured in one that I was also featured in, by another Etsy shop keeper. Her orange Monster bowl was so up my alley, I just had to have it! She did not ship to Canada, but she did agree to ship to me if I was fine with the shipping cost. Yes, it's not fair,the US and Canada both pay a lot to ship tracked to each other, as well as to Europe, and elsewhere. However, I was willing as her work is so worth it!

Her work is just so natural and so organic, so earthy and touches that wild Bohemian side. Just so genuine, she does what she loves, and you can feel that it comes from a deep place within her, the true artist self. I just love her work! I hope one day to purchase a 2nd piece, probably a mug.

Pamela runs 3 Etsy shops. One, her ceramics and one for her unique and amazing baskets! Hobbitware on Etsy is home for her beautiful ceramic offerings and Baskets by Pamela is her lovely basket shop. Her 3rd, spectacular shop, is Purple Toed Gypsy, for wonderful, earthy hand crafted jewelry!

You are also able to follow Pamela and her Hobbitware shop on Instagram or find her on Facebook.

Please take some time to look around her shops! A more unique gift you will not find!

Rustic Funky Mug

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Such a Unique Gift! Soft Guitar Cases on Zazzle!

It's really awesome when such a great product is available by the largest and most versatile print on demand company, Zazzle, to partner with and have adorned with one's own original graphic art and designs! What a fabulous gift for that musician in your life, or even yourself.

I do not play the guitar, I'm hopeless with any musical instrument, but I sure can draw, paint, and in this case, design!

This intricate spyrograph Mandala is so hippie Boho and it is one of my favourite concentric Mandala tile patterns that I have created so far. The gorgeous copper rust browns and ambers compliment the electric blue so well! It works Perfect, tiled, and close up on the face of these soft guitar cases. It can be the electric version or the acoustic version, both are available.

There are a few different graphic guitar cases available so far, in my Musical Instruments Accessories Category within my Natural Design shop on Zazzle. I hope to get a few more up, but not all my images are large enough pixel dimension, without tiling, to be workable. The ones that are, I chose a few that I feel do work and look great!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

My New Website, Hosted by Etsy!

Where are you able to purchase clothing and items featuring all my original designs and photography? Via my new website, conveniently hosted by Etsy!

My designs are unique, they aren't the typical trends, and they are very near and dear to me, having been inspired directly by many of our nature hikes, my husband and I!

It is often difficult to stand out and be found, among millions of other designers, on the 3 main print on demand studio sites that I choose to make my artwork available through, on a huge variety of great products for home and gifts. Therefore, I chose to venture into directly offering my favorite designs on clothing, home decor and wall art, through my own site. You can therefore, buy directly from me, the original independent artist and designer!

Having been also a Customer of the 3 sites I partner with in order to bring my artwork to life on specific products and home decor, I know that I am able to stand behind what I offer for sale to Buyers.

To visit my site and explore the items I offer, and make a purchase securely, pop over here to my shop, Natural Design by Jocelyn, and have a look around!

Natural Design by Jocelyn

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Love my Duck King Top by FFDoodles on Redbubble!

Sometimes on Instagram I'll run across someone who is just really cool and really super creative!

As usual, it is always when it is getting rather late and it's just before I'm about to turn off my phone and hit the hay. My discovering FFDoodles, aka; Freckle Face Doodles, was one of those nights. She had put a like on something I posted, and I looked at her profile and that is when I was occupied for quite a while looking through all her cool postings, many her artwork and designs.

Not only is she talented, but she comes across as a really cool person. There was one particular illustration that I fell head over heels for, her little duckling with a crown! So cute, and on brilliant orange, my favourite colour!
FFDoodles has an artist shop on Redbubble, so that is where I headed, to hunt for the t-shirt with the ducky sporting his crown. I added it to my cart and bought it a couple weeks later. It arrived perfect, and really quick, as Redbubble tends to be and I wore it like the next day when we went shopping! I've since worn it on one of our walsk and photo taking ventures, and I'm sure I'll wear it gazillions of more times as I really love it! 

To find FFDoodles on Instagram: @ffdoodles

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Super Fox Tote Bag by Hannahscloset on Zazzle

Today, as I walked from the stair top I had just climbed up from, towards the subway train that had just entered the station on the platform, I felt a tap a couple times on my shoulder. "Excuse me, excuse me" said a soft voice, and I turned expecting to see a friend that maybe I had not seen in a long time, or a co-worker, something to that effect. I turned to look into the face of a smiling young woman, maybe 30, with short cropped brown hair and a freckly face. She said to me, "I just want to tell you I love your bag, no really, that's a great bag, I Love it!" I had to get on the train or I would have let it go and let her know how to find it, but I had to be at work early to do some things I wanted to get done before my actual start time.

It was cool, someone loved something I picked out, a really cute fox tote bag, designed by a fellow Zazzle designer, Hannahscloset, enough to stop me a stranger on the transit, to let me know :-) The only thing that would have made it sweeter would have been if it had been my own design she loved lol!

I take my tote bag back and forth every day to work. I love it and it's a perfect switch out of my other tote, one I designed, that is not as summery and colourful as Hannah's cute fox!

Check out Hannah's other really cute animal designs and wonderful customizable products, in her Zazzle shop! Lots of really cute graphics and great gift ideas for family and friends not to be found in every chain department store!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Love my Flare Dress from Artofwhere!

It was difficult to decide which pattern of my own that I love a lot, enough to purchase a flare dress from Artofwhere with it on. Reason? I cannot buy more than 1 really, not right now. So, I chose carefully.

My tastes are Bohemian and they lean towards earthy colour palettes choice, so I decided to go with one of my Mandala patterns, but a mash up, and faux centre "belt" dividing stripe.

I have a pair of the capri yoga leggings and I wear them often for my workouts. They are super awesome.

When I opened my flare dress, which came fairly quickly, though I was in no rush, anything quality takes time, I was super thrilled. My design was gorgeously printed and the material is so drapey and luxurious, so nice to the touch, and not in any way cheap and thin, a nice weight. The material is stretchy. The bodice fits so amazingly firm yet moves with you, but not tight. I love nice firm fitting rib and torso fits, so it is perfect! I purchased a large, and though I am doing well, I still am not back into a medium yet, and this dress is flattering, me even right now. The dress is not super short, it is just above my knees, and I am 5'4". Someone 5'8" or 9" would find it fairly short, more like a mini dress.

I need to get a shot of me wearing it, hopefully I will have some time this coming weekend. 

Every purchase from Artofwhere, featuring my designs, have been nothing less than spectacular quality and print. From the pillow cover, to the beanie, my yoga capris, and now this gorgeous flare dress.

What I really love, besides that Artofwhere is Canadian and they actually developed many of their own fabrics and mill, cut and sew everything in house, is that they let designers brand their sold products! I have my own designed tag and when a buyer purchases an item from me via my online store, I can have my own branding added to that product. The reason a buyer will choose My pillow cover, or my leggings, etc., is because of My design, the pattern On the product, so I want my own name in there too :-)

Boho Mandala Flare Dress by Natural Design