Art, business and the Internet: lessons learned as a business grows

When David and I discussed the idea of making sure that his website was able to also sell his art, neither of us had any idea where the combination of his art and my business mind would take us on.

Neither of us realized that the "web designer" we hired would upload his art to a Shopify site and we'd be in business in less than a day!  Then came the tedious process of learning about SEO optimization, alt tags and making sure the product descriptions and images of the artwork presented clearly. Next came figuring out how to start to create some buzz using social media and all the intricacies of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram and all the different formats for images which were key to users find David Crighton Art online.  Next came the notion of newsletters and building contact lists.

It wasn't until I hired a social media assistant that things really started to ramp up from a sales and product perspective.  Building on products that David had created purely for sales at Art Shows like the One of a Kind and CNE Shows, I started to create products on a more "inventoried" basis.  As we saw the success of these products at the shows and how their presence boosted the bottom line, we added to our "show" roster including Kensington and Toronto Outdoor Art after David's absence of 10 years, Creating products meant having inventory and all the challenges that presents - and learning how to track inventory and integrate Quick Books and other inventory tracking tools. These types of developments are massive undertakings on their own.

My thoughts of building an empire and my big eyes had to be cut back sooner or later and now that I have a pretty good understanding of what needs to happen and how things work, I am focusing on making things happen in a simpler way and finding balance in my life again.  I get scared from time to time that taking my foot off the gas will mean less success but I'm trusting that a more balanced and slower path will have benefits for me personally and professionally.

I've been grateful to my fellow CAWEE members as they have witnessed the progression of building this business we call David Crighton art Enterprises - recently incorporated.  Wish me luck as I attend the Toronto Gift Fair, August 7-10th for DC Arts first foray into wholesale retail trade shows.