I’m talking downright dirty this week. Illustration Life #32 IS all about the money money money and the price tag. Predictably most of the money matters happen under the ‘Frustrations’ part of this post.
Let’s delve into Illustration Life #32
Wins This Week
Enterprise Nation Homewares & Lifestyle Exchange
I had a super-duper time at the Enterprise Nation Homewares & Lifestyle Exchange. Mostly because I finally met Martha from delightful stationery makers Love Give Ink. She was speaking about growing a business using Instagram which was fascinating and full of tip-top advice.
I have such admiration for Martha’s achievements in her business. From working in a spare bedroom four years ago, to now working in a dedicated office studio (you can admire the studio on the Love Give Ink Instagram feed) and heading a small production team. Martha’s partner has even joined the operation – something I would love to see my hubby do one day. Not only all of this, but Martha also has ‘baby Love Give Ink’ cooking and at 21 weeks, she is already blooming.
I think it’s so important to attend events like this. Meeting like-minded people like Martha, who understand your creative journey, both its ups and downs, is really important.
One of the most educational talks of the day was Natasha Courtenay-Smith’s ‘How to grow your homewares and lifestyle business on Facebook’. Natasha is a Facebook accredited trainer for the #SheMeansBusiness campaign and certainly knows her Facebook onions.
Facebook is where I intend to start laying out some dough, dosh, moolah when I take my first steps into online advertising, shortly. I’ll be updating you on my progress, so stay tuned for my thoughts on Facebook advertising in the coming weeks.
The Girl with a Green Sofa
I am VERY happy to be one of the first guest bloggers on new blog, The Girl With The Green Sofa. Penned by Nicola Broughton, this blog is a place to be inspired by interiors that are colourful and dramatic, interior design how-tos and business advice for other creative business owners.
In the guest post I’m chatting about how I’ve changed career later in life and the importance that social media has been in making the change.
Frustrations This Week
Margins. The financial ones. Not the ones you used to doodle in when you were bored in your Geography lessons.
Very basically a product profit margin tells you how much the product sells for above the real cost of the product itself.
Here’s the rub. As much as I enjoy creating and selling, I’m trying to create a profitable business from my artwork, designs and illustrations. That means, well, frankly, making a profit. Is that a dirty word? Profit? Well put it like this, I need to feed my kids and run a home.
Last week I looked hard and fast at my figures for the products that I have been working hard to design and create. Some products I wholesale, others sold on Not On The High Street. Both eat massively into my profit margin.
It’s a bit catch 22 at the moment. I outsource some elements of production, but the rates I get from my suppliers aren’t as competitive as they would be, if I were ordering in larger quantities. However, I’m not making the sales I need to order those larger quantities. Therefore I make only a little profit on my current sales of certain products. However I have proof of concept, so I know my ideas work because they are selling. Just not in the quantities I need to make them profitable in the long-term.
At this stage, do I continue marketing these products and hope I will sell more? Or knock them on the head and concentrate on products with the higher margins?
For now, I’m carrying on. With Facebook advertising and perhaps Google adwords I’m hoping to address this issue. It’s early days in my creative business and I don’t want to give up before I’ve explored all avenues.
On a positive note, analysing profit margins are forcing me to explore other suppliers, negotiate better rates, look at every aspect of my business right down to the cost of the packaging tape I use. If I can save on something as simple as that, I can protect my precious margins.
So this may be boring to some. It’s money talk. We all feel uncomfortable with it right. We want to live in pretty, perfect, Instagrammable worlds, doing things we love.
Your bottom line, your profits, margins and balance sheets don’t have to be ugly. On the contrary. It’s a beautiful feeling when you are making something lovely for someone as well as creating profits that put food on your family’s table.
However, I urge anyone who is starting a creative business or perhaps even creative business owners who are years into their businesses, to look at or revisit their product profit margins. You could save yourself time and money in the long run. This was something I learnt many years ago working as part of wine merchant business. But that’s a whole other story.
I’m leaving with a positive quote about money from Julia Cameron, author of The Artists Way. I firmly believe with a level head and a huge amount of hard work, I can make a living from my creative passions and business. And you can too.
“When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we dofeels like play to us.” Julia Cameron
Have an inspired day
You can follow my creative business journey in the Illustration Life series here.