Okay, okay. I know this seems like a rather strange first post for a blog that is literally linked to a shopping site, but hear me out. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be an artist selling work online.
How It All Started
When I first began selling on Etsy, I posted asking for advice on a message board, and the consensus was this: it’s a LOT of work.
“Right,” I thought. “How much work could it possibly be to take a few pictures and write a description?”
I had no idea.
Over the past eight years, my handmade business has grown and changed, but one thing has remained the same. Since the day I first opened my online shop in 2010, almost my entire online presence has been dedicated to promoting the things I make. I’ve invested in a good camera, studied product photography, learned about marketing, and kept up with SEO, all in service of my “brand.”
It’s been a great experience, but I miss the person I used to be online.
Craving Something Different
I love the things I’ve learned. If I’m being honest, I like creating content around my paper art as much as, or even more than, I like creating the items themselves, and it occurred to me: this is as much art as the art. I find myself wanting to play with that, to stretch the boundaries of how I share my life, and the images I put out into the world, including the images of my products.
It reminds me a bit of how I viewed the Internet before the Internet was my job. In a very real way, I became myself on the Internet. I poured out my heart in an online journal there. I wrote fiction there and poetry there. I met my husband there. I shared the first photos of my son there. And I did all this in a time before Facebook was even a twinkle in a Zuckerberg’s eye. I can’t go back to that Internet, but I’m rediscovering the joy of it.
If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t, you should!), you might have noticed the change already. I’m talking about my life a little more, and spending a bit more time creating interesting content. A good chunk of the photos I put out there now have no J.H. Tatroe products at all. Instead, you’ll be seeing interesting locations, delicious food, fun cocktails, and if I have my way, a healthy dose of joy and wonder.
This isn’t to say that the items I make are no longer for sale. They totally are. I’m just hoping that, as we get to know each other, the art will sell itself. After all, I do enjoy having an income, and even more, love knowing that my creations are part of your everyday lives and once-in-a-lifetime celebrations.