Attending fairs and shows is possibly THE most important and effective form of advertisement for small businesses like mine. Getting to interact with clients face to face, and have them see my work in person is something that I really look forward to. When people take the time to have a chat and compliment my work, it means the world. However, as many creatives out there have experienced, there are always a handful of people who take one look at the price and exclaim 'How Much?!'.. and look, I completely get it.
What many people don't realise is that the price isn't simply reflective of the piece of paper and drawing itself. There is oh so much that goes on behind the scenes, so here's a little glimpse.
As most of you know I am predominantly a one woman operation, apart from when my trusty sidekick Jack or lovely Mum help me out on show days.
This is something I get asked a lot, how long each drawing takes, it's hard to give an exact number as I usually work on several at a time and spread them over several days. I always spend at least 20+ hours on the drawing itself for the smallest size I offer.
The colour pencils that I use can cost as much a £3 per pencil! It's impossible to keep track of exactly how many are used on each portrait, it depends on the colours, who i'm drawing and the size. So this all has to be factored in. I have to always have an extensive range of colours in stock too ready for any portrait that I may be working on, so this means restocking often.
I use archival acid free paper to ensure the portraits will last the test of time.
Social Media -
This feels like a full time job on it's own, keeping up with posts regularly so those dreaded Instagram algorithms keep my posts in your feed. Replying to comments, engaging with the community, sharing stories each day takes hours. This starts the moment I wake up and is last checked right before bed.
Everything you see here on my website was created by me. Countless hours have gone into it and will continue to do so, as I am regularly updating and improving. A truly never ending task!
I recently upgraded my packaging to all eco friendly materials, this again is at an added cost to my business. Making eco conscious choices was super important to me and I think absolutely worth the extra cost. We are all responsible for what we put into this world, no matter how small our business or impact may seem.
Flyers, business cards, certificates, stickers, tape, compostable bags.. etc.
Ongoing Investments -
As my business is still relatively young it means that I don't often see most of my profits. It will usually all be put straight back into the business, paying for rent for our new studio, bulk buying stock, new equipment, booking shows etc. Plus all the gadgets that help me do what I do, I use a Macbook, Ipad and my Phone for business.
Ah that dreaded word. I am a master of procrastination when It comes to this aspect of my business, but unfortunately it must be done! To make my life a little easier I decided to get a Quickbooks account, this was a huge help and eased a lot of stress that I was feeling about paperwork.
Phew well that's still not all of it but you get the idea! When you buy from a small business you are supporting someones dream and without you guys it simply wouldn't be possible. It's all those hours spent working behind the scenes, the ups, the downs, the laughter, the tears. The successes and the failures.
Now more than ever small businesses rely on the community around them, every like, share, comment or sale makes the world of difference.
Thank you for reading.