As I write this, we're already half way through January of the new year. In the span of just over 2 weeks, I've made it my objective to always move Inky Cat Studio forward. I believe that little bits of effort each day will slowly come together, and I've begun keeping track of my small accomplishments (and also some of the booboos to learn from) for the last two weeks.
Rethinking our use of space
To begin with, my husband and I started the New Year with a big spring clean of the house, which then led to a long overdue upgrade to my studio space which I share with my husband's work area.
After working in an increasingly cramped space, it inevitably didn't make sense that right next door was a huge bedroom that was only used for sleeping and resting in the evenings. So it was decided that we would swap our master bedroom with the smaller office room.
So off we went on the first day of January, cleaning up, dismantling the bed, moving tables around and swapping furniture over.
In the end, the move worked out great because we're now maximising the space we have. I only wish we had done this sooner and can't recommend it enough to people who have a huge master bedroom, but then wonder why their working area always feels so cramped.
Commitment and Focus
When I started making art last year, I was still very indecisive about what kind of artist I wanted to be. Should I be a commercial artist or a fine artist.. or both? What kind of art should I make, who were my audience? Maybe I could do children's book illustrations...there were a lot of options for me, which was great! But also overwhelming. After a few months of talking to other artists, exploring the industry, getting involved in the art retail space and literally just making art every day, I'm happy to say I've made some key decisions.
The main one being my decision to focus on the commercial aspects of Inky Cat Studio. What can I say, I love the retail space. It's such a delight for me to see my products in the stores, and I've been very fortunate to have some great stockists here in Singapore who have helped me along the way. I now want to commit to growing my brand slowly, and continuing the good relationships and momentum I've built. For me, this year means learning to balance Stephanie the Artist with Stephanie the Business Owner. I feel that although ICS wouldn't exist without some kind of nominal commitment towards starting a business, there was still the childish artist in me that wanted to just make art without any consideration for time/cost/ROI (all of which might sound dull, but are very important). But after having ICS for a few months now, I realized that I needed to strengthen my commitment towards my art as a brand and as a business. That means learning how to market myself, how to look after my numbers, my partnerships and my customers more. I also began to see and accept that running a business, can in itself be a catalyst for growth as an artist.
SO! After all the soul searching - I'm happy to say that I've started making some small changes and new relationships that I hope will help ICS.
Here's what I've been up to in order to get ICS rolling this year:
- I introduced bundle pricing for my art prints
- Updated the store with lots of new designs (check it out )
- Starting to branch out and look at different merchandise to put my art on ( super excited about this! stay tuned!)
- Adding new stockists - Check me out on Excluniqueeee !
- Updated inventory with existing partners
- Blogging more ;)
- Getting my name out there by joining Group Art Shows and local design exhibits (coming Q1 2016)
To sum up - in the last 15 days, after much cleaning and soul searching, I've strengthened my commitment and narrowed down my focus. Now, I'm happily starting to lay down the foundations for a strong year using my inner compass as my guide.