A Perfect Tomato . . . and other interesting things

perfecttomato2014

This tomato joins us today (in memory only because we ate it) to make the point that really great things take a LOT of time and effort.

There is no such thing as growing a “quickie” tomato. Even the Early Girl takes months to produce its juicy fruit.

This beauty was the only one of the entire 2014 season that did not have cracks at the top, get bitten by birds and other critters, or suffer from undersize or overripe. It needed celebration and some kind of kudos, so here it is.

I have written often about my creative processes and how elaborate and time consuming they sometimes are.

But I have rarely talked about the time and effort I spend on the computer stuff that creates the content that keeps us communicating in this digital community of ours.

I am really amazed that so many people do it – set-up websites and shops and blogs and email lists oh my! And a lot of people don’t do it because they haven’t got time or don’t know how. I totally get that!

My good friend, Sandra Westcott is Wintering with us again in Santa Fe – doing some housesitting for Betsy and my Mom, and working some days at the gallery for me. She lives in the Alaska boonies, you see, and spending the Winter in Santa Fe is SO much warmer!

I bring this up because Sandra, too, is spending monster amounts of time getting her online presence together, so we have been talking a lot about that, and how much is involved. She has so far created a lovely Etsy shop to showcase and sell her jewelry made of paper beads (beautiful).

I created an Etsy shop too – as many of you know.

But I just didn’t feel it could serve as a gallery shop as well. Too much distraction and no control over the look and feel of the product presentation.

Besides, I have a dedicated website which includes an e-commerce shopping cart that would cost me nothing. But the interface is complicated and it takes lots of time to upload a single item. And there is not much control over appearance there either.

I bought a book and read it, and I must recommend it. I told Sandra about it and she bought it and read the entire thing in an afternoon. There are some unfortunate spelling and grammar mistakes, but the content is worth its weight in gold. This guy covers everything about selling your art online.

Selling Art Online by Dave Conrey

I really don’t know how many in this audience are involved in selling their art online and elsewhere (I would LOVE to hear from you on that subject in Comments). But if you are thinking about it, this book is a good place to get your thought together.

An arts blogger I admire has a very clean Shop I admire, and after some inquiry, I found she is using Shopify.

After further inquiry and investigation, I decided that this is also the best format for me. It’s not free, but it’s not too expensive, and I have total control over look and feel. It has taken a whole week to learn the dynamics and set up the Shop. . . here is a partial screenshot. Click on the image or HERE to visit it.

wowshopify

But, of course, the Shop has to connect to the website, so I had to at least set up the Home Page for Wow! Gallery.

I wanted a slideshow, so I researched and found the right software for that, and managed to get the Home page going on. This is the opening page. The byline is not actually cut-off – each image enlarges with a Ken Burns effect, so it was hard to get a still screenshot.

wowsite1

When the slideshow starts, there are many views of the gallery inside and out . . .

wowsite2

Right now, the OPEN sign goes straight to the Shop, but, when I invest more hours, there will be internal pages that showcase more of the artists’ works.

Right now, the Shop carries just my work for online shopping. Why is that, you might wonder?

Galleries these days face a real challenge when putting work by their artists online.

You have heard of the “showroom shopping” syndrome where people visit a brick&mortar store to see and feel and get information on an item, then get on their phones and order the item online? This practice will kill real life retail sooner than later.

Well, the same thing happens in galleries. Many galleries have actually quit putting the artists’ names on the walls because people cruise and then try to find the artist online, to see if they can save the gallery’s part of the price. Artists and galleries have agreements about referral, but often, the artists will not know that a person has visited one of their galleries before showing up online. Also, pro artists do not undercut their gallery selling prices anyway.

All this “stuff” is as big a part of my creative process as anything else I do. Certainly, it takes as much time.

For now, the gallery shop carries my work exclusively, but I will be adding some other artists (who do not retail online).

Some of the items are one of a kind and are gone when they sell. Some can be made again. The Shop will let you know which is which (I hope).

I like the shop interface so much that I will be adding things as soon as I make them so the inventory will be growing and changing almost daily. You might want to bookmark the shop site.

For example, I have just finished a couple of sets of wonderful little dip dishes – for olive oil for bread dipping, for sushi sauces, or for individual servings of guacamole and other dips. As soon as I finish this post, I am going to photograph them and put them in the shop.

The shop accepts all the major credit cards and PayPal.

I have two domestic shipping options – a single item cost of $7 and multiple item cost of $10. Multiples ship Priority Mail in boxes that are 12″ x12″ x 8″ so you can get a lot in them.

I have not figured out the International Shipping thing yet.

If you are an international customer and want to shop, please write down the items and email me (instructor@cre8it.com). We will research the best shipping options and I will use a credit card on file or set up a special item for you in the Cre8it Shopping Cart. It seems as though that box described above can ship internationally for about $10 but that is first class mail and I don’t know how long it would take. Flat Rate boxes can cost $40+ international.

I NEED YOUR HELP. . .

A new website does not search well. In fact, the Wow! Gallery website is not coming up even when our customers search for it by name.

SO . . . you could really help by visiting the website - just clicking on the link any time you think of it (it will always be in my sidebar). This creates traffic and that is what creates a “presence” in search results.

http://wowgallerysantafe.com

I even went and got a QR Code. Amazing stuff. I’ve been seeing it around for years, but never really knew what it was.

They look like this (and this is ours):

wowqrcode

This is a “bar code” for any information you want. This one has the link to Wow! Gallery.

There are lots of free QR Code reader apps for smart phones and tablets. You just open the app, point the phone’s camera at the code and it takes you to our website.

I just tried it on this code in the blog post and it worked! Most free apps have ads, so if they show up, they are part of the app, not my site! The iPhone app I use is called QRReader.

I hope you got some useful information in this post.

I also hope you will visit the Shop often to see what’s new.

Oh, and do you sell your art? Where? How? Do you feel you are successful (enough) at it?

2 thoughts on “A Perfect Tomato . . . and other interesting things

  1. Nancy

    Do a Google search using ‘increase your google ranking free’ as the search query and look into SEOs. That shoukd help you get traffic. (I’ve enjoyed your iPad Art ebook series and love paying my appreciation forward! Good luck!

  2. Donna

    Greetings;
    Thanks for the info on the author and book, Selling Art Online by Dave Conrey. I will have to get it. Several years ago I took a class regarding selling your art, etc. online whether on ebay and Etsy. But soon realized that I didn’t have the time or patience to keep up a site. Now with all the new formats available, I may rethink my decision. Presently, I do local juried fine art and craft shows. There is some work involved in having to set-up and tear down for every show but for that day, one can expect several hundred to a couple thousand potential customers visiting your booth. My line of paper arts include handmade greeting cards, books, journals, albums/scrapbooks, etc. I would probably sell more if I had an online presence/store but as of yet, I have not pursued that path. I am making it my goal for the new year to get onboard to get an iPad and the means to be able to accept credit/debit cards. Requests to pay by means other than with cash and checks have increased significantly this last year. Time to get on the band wagon. Btw, every time I receive one of your posts, I learn something new each time. Thanks for your insight and information. Now . . . time to check out your gallery.

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