SMALL BUSINESS STRUGGLE

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By: Marcella Hayes Muhammad / Artist

When you get a chance to visit my page on FineArtAmerica.com, (search, artist, marcella-muhammad) you will see so many things that designs enhance. Pillows, shower curtains, rugs, towels, tote bags, gift cards, duvet covers, I phone cases, portable battery chargers, T-shirts, posters, prints, canvases, beach towels, weekender totes, men’s apparel, women’s apparel and the list keeps going. All of these items need designs and the artists that create them. The one thing great about working with print on demand manufacturers that make the products, is that they do all the advertising, filling of orders, and shipping. As an artist, I don’t have to keep inventory at my home, maybe a few samples to showcase but not like a warehouse. I do however have to do a lot of advertising and marketing to see sales increase.

The only drawback of this print on demand is the very…very small profit margin for the artist. That is, unless I am able to invest a good portion of money up front to get a larger amount of inventory and then sell the items at fairs and shows. This is very limited because the manufacturer can reach a worldwide audience and I am only able to reach local customers unless I want to take on packaging and shipping. (NOT!) I know what I can do best and that is design, not marketing or sales. So, if and until the industry comes back into its own, the print on demand is the next best thing going right now and my limited ability at marketing will have to do..

All of my friends and customers that like my work and have purchased  some of the products, are my support. They are the ones that make my work stand out from the crowd and I can’t thank them enough! Word of mouth is such a strong network and it is working. If we are aware of this kind of support for each other and continue to make the effort to reach out to small businesses, we can succeed. I am personally trying to recycle my money back into my community to support the efforts of those around me.

Speaking of word of mouth, my wonderful husband, Alee, is the best at supporting my efforts by getting the word out. He has taken the time to approach his friends and co-workers, telling them about my designs and even bringing up the images on his cell phone for them to see. Thanks to him, many of my sales have been through his efforts. APDA.

A lot of my designs are influenced by my research with African carvings, textiles, and musical instruments. I have taken artistic license and abstracted the designs to create my own colorful collection. You can order any of these products and receive them in 4-5 days from FineArtAmerica.com (search, artist, marcella-muhammad)

 

STRUGGLING ON AND NEVER GIVING UP!

About the Author:

Marcella is a visual artist that made a leap of faith in 1995 and took an early retirement from a successful elementary teaching career of 27 years. She and her husband moved from California to the Atlanta area to continue as a full time artist. She has a formal education in the arts, and has been a creative visual artist for over 40 years.

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