I started an Etsy shop back in 2009, posted a bunch of items, and made a few sales. It was fun! A great way to clean out our inventory of prints to make room for new ones! However, through grad school and the years of working multiple, time-hog jobs afterwards, I largely ignored the shop.
When I first started, I named the shop “Nonchalant Peach,” which is a username I often use for myself–a sort of inside joke because I am in no way, form or fashion “nonchalant.” Major Spaz-Mokey, is more like it! And the “peach” is for my Georgia origins.
In any case, as my relationship with Blake blossomed into our eventual marriage, we also developed a professional partnership, Orange Barrel Industries. Through O.B.I., we organize group exhibitions for the Southern Graphics Council Conference every year and we usually organize other shows, portfolios and events, as well. This year, we already had a group exhibition of “Key” blocks and layers called “MilwauKEY” at SGCI 2013 in Milwaukee, WI and we worked with a variety of institutions in the Nashville area to present a mini-conference of our own called the Nashville Print Revival.
As our relationship grew into a partnership on a variety of levels, I soon converted the shop from selling my personal prints to promoting both of our works. Unfortunately, at the time, changing an Etsy shop name was a non-existent option. All a seller could do was to start a new shop and hope to redirect customers. I didn’t want to lose our reviews and any minimal following we’d attained, so we stuck with the “Nonchalant Peach” for a while. I did go ahead a reserve another shop name, “orange barrels,” however. By the time Etsy users were able to change names, they still couldn’t combine shops, so by reserving my shop name of “orange barrels,” I’d effectively barred myself from ever being able to use it.
Yesterday, I decided “the hell with it, what am I waiting for??” I converted “nonchalantpeach” to “orange barrel” singular. Not that any of this matters… but it’s all a part of trying to make us a bit more cohesive.
I read a great article on the Etsy Blog about “branding.” A lot of it seems silly, but I want to improve, so I went through with it, anyway. I made a list of 20 (okay, more like 40!) terms to describe our shop–what it is, what I want it to be, what we want others to think about it. Then, I reduced the list to 10 and then to 5 terms. The final 5 I’m still not sure about… but it did give me some things to think about.
relevant hand-crafted ecological prints with personality
I’ll probably never be fully successful with Etsy because more than wanting to make a “product” of some kind, I want to make quirky little artworks. I do make some art pieces that are more “product-like” than others, but they all still consume a lot of time and contain a lot of personal touches to them. If I were a real buisness-woman, I’d probably bend my work to be more salable, but instead, I feel like I’m just going to keep putting my stuff out there and looking for the right audience! I guess my audience would be people with a sense of humor who care about my use of recycled materials (let nothing go to waste!) and who appreciate hand-crafted, professional prints. We do have our MFAs, after all! We went through years of training to do what we do, and I hope it shows in what we make.
And in Orange:
I also posted a one-of-a-kind version of my new linoleum cut print, Tea & A Set for just $20! I printed this at Les Cheneaux Design on their Vandercook 2 Proof Press.
The Tea & A Set was a commission request from my mother for a friend’s son’s wedding. All she told me was that they “like Tea,” and this is what I came up with. You can see some sketches of my ideas in this earlier post and an image of the carved block here. I love doing little commission works like that! Just leave me a comment with your email if you’d ever like to request one!
We also still carry fine art prints in our shop and will add some of our hand screen printed, embroidered T-Shirts soon. I just need to find some models to photograph them on! Or a good way to set them up on the wall.