In 2016 my business will be shifting from bookbinding and box-making to original art and prints. In February my business will be 5 years old. During the past 5 years, I’ve worked hard to make it successful, but lately I’ve realized that it’s just not going to work out.
The hardest thing for me has been pricing. Each year, and often more than once a year, I raise my prices. I realize that my prices are high, but I’m still finding that they’re not high enough to account for the amount of time and effort that goes into making books and boxes. It’s a very time-consuming craft.
I can’t sell my work through retail stores, because at a 50% consignment or wholesale rate, my prices aren’t high enough for me to make any money to sustain my business. So that leaves me selling my work by myself, through Etsy and my website. And it is really hard to drive traffic to your own sites. Right now, I’m basically relying on Etsy and Google search traffic, which is a sitting-and-waiting game.
I considered going into teaching bookbinding, and put out some kits and online tutorials this past year. But I’ve realized that my heart’s not in teaching. I want to be doing. There are a lot of really talented bookbinders out there, people who do leather tooling and work with gold foil and make their own endbands and all kinds of other high-craft processes. I consider myself first and foremost to be an artist, not a bookbinder. That’s why my business name is my actual name. So one phase of my art business is ending, and another is beginning.
What to expect
For the rest of this year I will continue to have my bookbinding and box-making work in my Etsy shop and website. I will continue to do commissions and client work. At this point I have one holiday retail show lined up where I will sell journals, notebooks, and bookbinding craft kits. I’m waiting to hear back from a couple more retail shows. I’m planning to sell out of my inventory by the end of the year (so if you’ve got your eye on something, now’s the time to snag it).
If you follow me on social media, you can expect to see more of my new watercolor work. I’ll also be posting that new work here on my blog.
In the new year, I’ll switch everything – including online product listings – over to my new work. You will be able to find me at all the same locations online (I’m not changing my Etsy shop or website URL). If you’re on my email list, you’ll be the first to find out when the new work is live in my shop!
Whether you’ve been with me since the very beginning or are a new fan of my work, thank you for your support! I hope you’ll stay with me through this transition.
And just so you know, none of this means I will stop making books and boxes! I still love making them, but will incorporate it into my art practice, rather than selling blank books and empty boxes.