Christmas is Coming!

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About once a week I drive past a big sign that loudly proclaims how many weeks until Christmas, well this morning when I drove past that sign I nearly chocked on my coffee, can you believe it is only 7 weeks until Christmas?

I was considerably well prepared this year, having designed my Christmas range back in September and printed it in October, I have, however been a little slack in sharing all my wonderful Christmas paper goods with the world, so here goes…

introducing my range of letterpress Christmas cards, gift tags and new this year- coasters! You can of course purchase any of this loveliness from my Etsy shop, Coco Press.

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Letterpress Christmas Coasters

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New Birthday Cards

I love to show off new cards, today I get to share with you my new letterpress birthday cards. I hope you love them as much as I do.

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Introducing My New Press

My 7x11 Challenge

About a month ago, after many long months of searching, I was lucky enough to win an eBay bidding war for my beautiful new letterpress. Its a 7 x 11 Craftsman, its hand operated makes beautiful music when in action and I am in love with all its shiny brightness.

Hmmm, but I hear some of you ask, what is letterpress?

Letterpress is a traditional printmaking method that harks back to a time of handmade, when things were done slowly with love and care. It is a technique of relief printing using a printing press, where the printmaker composes and locks moveable type into the bed of the press, inks it and presses paper against it to transfer ink from the type to create an impression in the paper. Though I have a substantial collection of moveable type and can print text invitations and business ephemera in this method I usually print in a modern letterpress method that employs the use of custom made photopolymer printing plates.

I had a wonderful weekend experimenting with my press and wanted to share some action shots with you.

Letterpress Craftsman

This is a view of the rollers and the inking plate coated in sexy silver ink.

Letterpress craftsmanA view from above, you can see the photopolymer plate, the rollers and a printed card on the right.

Letterpress Craftsman

This is another view into the press, you can see the inked up photopolymer plate ready to be printed.

7 Tips for selling Success with In.cube8r

incube8r shelfI thought I would resurrect some of my more popular posts from my first blog, this one is an oldie but a goodie, I hope you find some humble words of wisdom here…

I cant quiet remember how I first found out about in.cube8r, Googling probably, that’s seems to be how all my best discoveries are made…

I could hardly contain my excitement, that here was something happening in Brisbane. The very next day (a Monday) I walked to the Valley on my lunch break, ever so excited to see the shop and more importantly find out how I could become a part of it all. You can imagine my dismay when I discovered in.cube8r is closed on Mondays! So there I was with my nose pressed up against the window trying to see everything I could. I was back the next day to fill out my application to become a cube (in my case 2D space) holder.

Whoa! This was scary stuff, I had never put myself or my art out there like this before…having always been a crafty type (yes I was one of those kids obsessed with pipe cleaners and pom poms) I had only recently started print making again. Until this point I had only shared my art with family and friends and entered one or two art competitions with little success. I knew I wanted more from my art, I had plans to open online shops with Etsy and madeit.com but knew the opportunity to be part of in.cube8r was to good to pass up.

So I did it! I signed my application and paid my first month’s fee. I had about two weeks to get myself ready to create enough stock, to decide upon a business name, to print business cards, work out a pricing structure, how I was going to hang my prints…too many things to accomplish in just too weeks or so it seemed. In the end I did I was ready in time. Phew!

I remember telling my boyfriend as we were driving home from that first stock day at in.cube8r, that I would be happy if I didn’t sell anything, it just felt like the biggest achievement getting to this point.

Success! Much to my surprise I did sell prints, in my first month I had heaps of sales…Wow! How thrilling who would have though that someone and not just one someone would want to buy my art.

So I rushed to restock, not realising at the time that I was making a terrible mistake. Being a print maker I was able to quickly remake more of the same prints to replace those that had sold. I though to myself (dusting my hands together) well that is that, I can kick back and relax now and wait for my next lot of prints to sell, no worries, thank you very much.

Days and then weeks went by and I didn’t sell any more prints, this was a horrible feeling, I didn’t understand, why didn’t people want to buy my prints any more?

Simple, I didn’t keep it fresh I didn’t try anything new. Instead of giving up I reminded myself of why I started selling with in.cube8r in the first place- because I believed in the value of my prints.

Now, how was I going to fix this? How was I going to start selling again? I took some time out, I did some thinking, I did some reading and most importantly I started to experiment with my products at in.cube8r. I started changing my stock around more often, I tweaked my designs and I changed my packaging. I worked really hard, I used my experience over the past months as market research, to really nail what it was that my customers wanted. Now, I am please to report, I have a sale almost every other day and frankly I am only limited by how hard I chose to work at perfecting my art.

So good reader, I hear you ask, is she ever going to get to the point and share her tips? Well yes I am here are my top tips (in no particular order) for making your in.cube8r space a success:

  • Love your creations, its always evident in the finished product
  • Have practical packaging: your customers want to get their exciting new purchase home safely
  • Change your stock over regularly: I aim for once a fortnight (I know it can be hard to come up with new stock this often, sometimes I just rotate old stock back in)
  • Introduce new stock regularly: I aim to introduce 1 new print or card design every month
  • Research: what’s in trend right now? (You don’t need to compromise your artistic vision, maybe just tweak an existing product-like changing the colour of your bangles each season)
  • Promote yourself: have your contact details available
  • Offer products at a range of price points: this way your beautiful work is accessible to all budgets.

Most importantly don’t repeat my mistake of thinking all you have to do is put some products into your space and walk away. Instead remember that having products in your space is just the beginning …success and sales will eventuate from your hard work.

I would love to hear what has worked for you to overcome a slump in sales, at incube.8r, markets, Etsy or anywhere…