The Drawing Table: Getting Down to Business

Its time to get down to business!  After scouring business books and websites for a crash course in business, I am pleased to announce the Grand Opening of Cara Mia Bella in Autumn 2010! will be my main marketplace, but there are several stores nationally that will carry my goods.  This is a tremendous accomplishment for this full-time mom who as yet has not found a babysitter, and who knew nothing about blogging and business until a few months ago.  With all of this new information dancing around my mind, I am focused on organizing my blogging style to truly reflect what Cara Mia Bella is about, plus posting on a regular basis.
 Here's my plan:
  • Post every Monday
  • Get personal (not easy for this introvert)
  • Present more information on the creative process
  • Present more information on the business process
  • Connect more with my favorite blogs (and there are alot of them!) 
Once my shop opens, my plan is as follows:
  • Offer a once a month discount day (20% off every third Friday, for example)
  • Offer a once a month giveaway (original art ATCs, bookmarks,  free gift for leaving a comment, etc.)

I never would have guessed that, at 37, I would find my niche in an online arts and crafts community, but here I am, all revved up and ready to sell my personal art to the masses!!  I cannot tell you how this has taken me out of my comfort zone, out of my box of beliefs about myself and the world.  In the process, the inspiration and creative fire within has increased exponentially.  I feel confident in my ability to make art that I love and sell it professionally to people who appreciate my work.  Plus, I can remain a full-time presence in my sons' lives.

It is almost paradoxical for an artist to switch over to the logic required for business and marketing, so I had to really choose my educational avenues carefully so as to not get lost in the mundane.  In addition to attending business workshops sponsored by the Small Business Association, I discovered 4 books that have been filling my brain with ideas and inspiration for creating a successful business:  The Handmade Marketplace, by Kari Chapman;  Craft Inc. and the  Craft Inc. Business Planner, by Meg Mateo Ilasco;  and Creative Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho (thank you, ladies, for filling this mompreneur with loads of useful info!)  These books are focused on the Creative Business Owner and are full of useful information in a visually appealing format.  I am so incredibly new to business and even blogging, but feel that these books are leading me in the right direction to get my business going.  I am full of great ideas for my business and feel proud of my accomplishments thus far (like putting my shy self out there in blogland).

Currently, most of my art is being prepared for printing to begin shortly.  I am employing local businesses to work on this endeavor.  In addition, the printing process will use the highest quality eco-friendly options available.  My Grand Opening product line will include:
  • art prints
  • giclee canvas prints, some custom framed
  • greeting card sets
  • over 20 different art designs
Future products that are in the works are:
  • Alphabet card decks
  • Memory games
  • Tarot/Guidance card decks
Whew!  When I see my business plan laid out, I get a little nervous knowing that I have a lot of work to do (did I mention I still haven't found a babysitter?).  And new ideas are coming into my consciousness daily, filling notepads with scribbles and lists that will one day be concrete accomplishments.  I am determined to succeed as an entrepreneur, and still have fun with my family and time to pursue my artistic passion.  Family comes first for me and my wonderfully supportive husband, so your support encourages happy families!

Thank you to all who have been following my artistic journey!  I look forward to seeing you at my studio shop's Grand Opening!  In the meantime, tune in every Monday (crossing fingers) for some more creative vision from the Drawing Table.


scott bailey said…
Carrie, you rock!! I haven't seen you in well over a decade, but I can't help feeling so proud of you. I've got my MBA and can honestly tell you it doesn't take a business degree. It takes passion and dedication, both of which you've always had in spades. Throw in heaping portions of talent and creativity and the sky's the limit. Knock 'em dead.
All I can say is YAY!!!Go for it girl! I will check out the books and I will keep tabs on you!
Cara Mia Bella said…
Thank you so much for your encouragement!! I am super excited to be a business owner and sell my art (and hopefully make a living at the same time). I feel lucky to be able to have an opportunity to use my skill to help support my family. Plus, its the best escape from the daily chores of a full-time not-desperate-but-sometimes-reluctant "housewife"!

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