Yesterday, someone ordered a pack of Jon’s note cards and wrote that she appreciated my taking the time to make them available. And I so appreciated her saying that.
When Jon and I first stated talking about the possibility of me selling his note cards, I was reluctant to commit to it. There were a few reasons why and one of them was that it would take away from my time to do my own work. Another was that I was very protective of my own identity. For much of my life I had subjugated my identity to others and I was not about to make that mistake again. I needed to feel secure and established in my own work before I would get involved with selling Jon’s.
My feelings about it started to change when I began curating art shows in the Pig Barn Gallery. But it was easy to sell Jon’s work in the gallery. Jon became “one of the artists” and the transaction was simple. After that my interest was piqued when we talked about me choosing the photos for new note cards. Immediately the ideas started to swirl and I could feel my heart beating. A Barn Yard Series, Rose in the Mist, Rural Landscapes, or just some of my favorites. It became a creative act instead of a retail business.
So at the beginning of the year, as I saw my work continue to grow creatively and sell consistently, I decided to take on the note cards. It was an indication to me of how confident I was feeling about myself and my work. My old fears of losing my identity had vanished. I saw it as something creative Jon and I could do together. And I would be creative not only about choosing them, but about selling them too. I would offer the ones we already had at times of the year that suited them. You know, Spring Flowers in spring time, The Daily Egg at Easter, Autumn in the Autumn, and the dogs, well the dogs all year long.
And so far it has been fun and creative. It has pushed me to figure out a better system for taking orders (I’m still in the process of making this more efficient) and shipping. I borrowed some tips from Connie at Battenkill Books who was faced with a similar situation when she sold signed copies of Jon’s Book Going Home, Finding Peace when Pets Die. It’s because of Connie I got my DYMO Label Writer and am organizing my orders in a similar way that she did.
And I’ve found that although it takes more time than I thought it would, It’s not taking away from my own work. I’m less stressed about making money, so I’m more willing to take chances with my work. And of course there’s the overlap, some people want note cards and potholders or streaming pieces.
Not to say that it hasn’t been a bit stressful figuring it all out (which I’m still in the process of doing). But I know, now, that I will figure it out and make it run smoothly and efficiently and enjoy doing it. And if at any time I don’t want to do it anymore, I can just stop.