This year, I am selling Mother’s Day cards for the first time! I have designed it so it is suitable for all year round, because of course, mothers around the world are awesome every single day, not just on Mother’s Day, and should be celebrated all the time!
I am starting with why my mum is simply amazing, with the most recent example. The other day, I made a mistake ordering new greeting cards, and accidentally bought 250 cards instead of 50. I contacted the printing company to amend my order and they wouldn’t let me because they had already started production. I had a mini-meltdown over how much I had just spent, thinking I wouldn’t be able to sell that many new cards.
While moaning to A, I received a how-are-you type text from Mum, and I replied to tell her what had just happened. Without question, and even with my assurance that there was no amending the order, Mum gave them a call and in the next few minutes I received an email that my order was cancelled and would be fully refunded, and I could reorder my cards in the correct amounts. I was gobsmacked, and of course very pleased! She just saved me a lot of money. How?! My mummy is magic.
This is just one of the many small things my mum does for me. More importantly, she raised me to be a strong woman and good person. I had difficult times during my teenage years due to the death of my father, who I was really close to, and she was always there for me. Even now with the ups and downs of my business, she is very supportive and gives me advice whenever I need it.
I am also grateful that she learnt sign language for me and my sister, who is also deaf, so we could communicate fully and have full access to education. We struggled to learn to speak from an early age and we wouldn’t have been able to learn without a language.
All of which is to say: you are lovely, mum!
Last month, I was looking through a pile of old paintings I did years ago and saw old butterfly painting, which wasn’t very good. I vaguely remember painting it and got frustrated because I hated it.
I then decided to start painting butterflies again. I looked up the most common butterflies in Britain and listed them. I slowly went through the list painting 8 butterflies in total. They were received well over at my Instagram and I went ahead with my plan to turn them into a print.
I got them printed on notebooks, A4 prints, and A3 prints. I absolutely love the end result. I initially thought about adding handlettered titles like my Culinary Herbs print but I decided against it and let the artwork speak for itself.
See more of my butterfly series here. Which one is your favourite?
My last market of the year was last Saturday, hurrah! I sold my art with Shape Gallery, Camberwell Arts and Pexmas three weekends in a row and they all went well. Between these weekends, I was constantly busy coming up with ideas to improve my stall, organising float money, ordering more products, preparing new prints and buying new print browser after my handmade one fell apart sadly and unsurprisingly! These three weeks were the fastest three weeks I have ever had.
Not to blow my own horn but I am so proud of myself for doing this – going to the markets, talking to visitors and meeting new people are totally outside my comfort zone being deaf, introvert and a sign language user. It is not the most easiest thing to do for me but I want to continue doing this next year. Having markets is very beneficial in many ways – I learn what makes art sellable, build my confidence to be around people, find ways to communicate with hearing people, get my name out there and meet new people in the creative community.
I’d like to thank to organisers of these markets for having me, visitors who said loveliest things about my art, bought my products (even just a card), my loved ones for supporting me during these busy months and not forgetting my blog friends who left me encouraging comments, which did make a huge difference to my courage to do all this. THANK YOU.
I painted this little guy with watercolour and acrylic for highlights. I had a few printed in time for The London Artisan and they were surprisingly popular! It looks particularly lovely in A5 size and they sold well in my last two stalls – Shape Gallery Christmas Fair and Made In Camberwell Christmas market. I just had more printed ready for my last market of the year this Saturday with Pexmas. Nothing beats the feeling of knowing that my art is being appreciated by many people who doesn’t know me personally!
When my cards and especially prints were running out fast over these festive months (thank you so much guys), I took an opportunity to refresh my shop by removing some prints that weren’t selling well, retaking product photos and introducing new prints, as well as the new sizes – A4 and A3. I made a decision to go for a new printing company and chose a new type of paper for my prints, which is more costly but it is worth it because it has that lovely luxurious feel to it that I want for my new prints. So exciting!
I have hugely struggled with product photography all my business life, despite reading every product photography advice post I could find. Amongst small businesses’ beautiful product photos, I subconsciously felt the pressure to make mine look as super cool but I realised recently that I needed to stop trying too hard and take photos of my products as I wanted them to look like, basically, staying true to myself. I am aware that a product photo without props and exciting colours might appear boring to many but that is me, I love keeping everything simple and fuss free. I wanted my pictures to look as light and clean as possible, obviously I haven’t quite achieved it yet but I need to stop worrying and hope that I will suddenly turn in an awesome product photographer one day!
I am feeling a lot better about my shop that is now tidied up and looking smart. Soon I will be adding my current cards that needs to be photographed again, originals and my brand new cards that will hopefully make its debut this Saturday (5th December) where I will be selling my art with Made In Camberwell Arts Market. If you happen to be heading that way too, see you there!