Sunday, March 22, 2009

My day at Nicia's Pet Depot

As the folks who have been following my blog for the past couple of months, you know I'm still transitioning from flatfoot to fine artist.  On top of these being not the best times for artists everywhere because of the economy, I really felt I was swimming up stream with lead weights tied to my feet.

My friends also know I try to think of innovative ways to get my art noticed because I don't know better.  Some of them work and some of them fall flat on their face.  This idea worked out better than I thought.

On a whim, I approached a smaller neighborhood pet supply store owner and ask if we could work together by the store having their own artist to provide customers with portraits of their pets.  After discussing it with the owner and working out what services I would offer, I also asked if she wanted to host a "meet the artist" day.  

I brought in samples of my work, painted their favorite store cockatiel and the owner did the rest.  She wrote a press release, emailed her customers and arranged to have refreshments during my time at the store today.  It was not a busy day for either the store or me but I did get one commission (yay) and while I was at my table I was painting the store clerks dogs.  That's Kimi with her owner to  the left of the painting.  The clerks didn't have to pay me anything but they insisted on buying me bags of cat food (for Meatball and Sami) and kitty litter.  I also had a couple of inquiries from customers that might lead up to a couple of other commissions.  The store owner liked the experience so much, she wants to hold an event like this every month.

If you're interested in trying something like this, email me and I can get into more specifics on how to approach and work the a store in helping sell your work.  

28 comments:

Gail H. Ragsdale said...

What a wonderful idea!!

I well know the " I really felt I was swimming up stream with lead weights tied to my feet" feeling! Seems all I'm doing right now is painting "inventory" for better times! :-)

Carrrie Jacobson said...

Hey, gal, nice post, and nice painting! I had the same idea a few months ago, but so far, haven't found a store owner who's willing to let me and my paints in. But I will keep on trying. One guy said maybe when the weather warms up and the door can be open... I am going to show them your posting, and I think that will help convince them!

Nice job.

David Larson Evans said...

This is good news,I love it congratulations.

Cynthia said...

Clever idea, Sheila. You know you could work from email photographs too...decide about the cost and place a note on the sidebar. People would love to have a professional drawing/painting of their favorite pet (or person?) to hang on the wall. <3

laurens.paint.palette said...

Clever, clever! Way to go!

Pat Burns said...

Terrific idea, Sheila! These days we have to be inventive & willing to do a little extra leg work. Thanks for the comments left on my blog... those nice 'strokes' keep me fired up!

Spiritartartist said...

You are always thinking aren't you Sheila?! Great idea and beautiful painting. Is that you on the right?
Hugs, Sandy

L.Holm said...

My hat's off to you for your energy, enthusiasm, and business drive! Also post your card or flier at the local vet's. You rock, Sheila! : )

Michelle Burnett said...

Look at you, ya cutie! Your are always coming up with great ideas!
I love the dog portrait,especially the perspective and the way he's looking up.

Congratulations on the commission - which I'm sure will lead to many more! Big Hugs!

Cathyann said...

I learn something new from you every day. Most of all "courage" to put yourself out there. Good showing, Sheila!
I would love to try it here. I did a Yorkie painting,that I posted a year or so ago. Animals are fun to paint. One of our galleries in town is doing a pet show for "Fetchacure". Have you heard of that?
Keep at it, you are doing very well in your transition!

Manon Doyle said...

What a wonderful idea Sheila! This kind of thinking will pay off for you!! Congrats!!

Dana said...

Congratulations on getting out there and marketing yourself! A great idea and very inspiring. Thank you, Sheila!

Kim VanDerhoek said...

Great idea and good for you! You tried something new and different and it was successful. Bravo for thinking outside the box.

I know exactly what you mean by swimming upstream with lead weights tied around you ankles. Business is S L O W.

James Parker said...

Now that's a neat idea that looks like a lot of fun

artbyakiko said...

Congrats Shiela!! This is great!! I'm happy to know that your project is going very well. Best of luck!

Vern Schwarz said...

Great idea Sheila. Plein air painting, only inside a store...ha! Like James said, sounds like fun.

Mary Paquet said...

Sheila, you are so clever to get out there and market your art -- what a success! Love the painting of the owner's pet, too.

Judy Mackey said...

Bravo for you Sheila! It's a great idea. For those thinking - how about kennels/boarding places, vet's offices?

You're a good person to share the idea, Sheila!!

Tom Pohlman said...

Very philanthropic Sheila! Isn't it some small comfort to know EVERYONE is in the same boat???! There a few things you should know... I hammered out my latest painting while the two year old was sleeping (photographed it & put it up before he could "contribute") I tried sushi for the first time this evening - I pretended like it was a camping trip bet with my buddies- (Philadelphia Roll(s) - happy to say it wasn't too bad- maybe I could make it in California after all??? :>)

Edward Burton said...

Congratulations, Sheila! Wonderful job, with the portrait.

DEB said...

How clever of you! I think marketing is the hardest part of being an artist. You are on your way to many more successes, I'm sure Shelia!

r garriott said...

Sheila I'm so proud of you for not only having a great idea, but for following up on it. I've known a couple people that done quite well with pet portraiture. Having an event at the store once a month is deinfitely a good idea; these ideas can take a little time to grow, but once word gets out you'll have a waitng list, I'll bet.

(Here's a wacky idea; apply the forensics model to the pet drawing: for people who didn't bring their pet to the store, have them describe the dog/cat as you draw.)

Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...

Oh DANG!? You GO, GIRL!!!! Gorgeous pic, both the artist and the art!!

Abby Creek Art said...

You go, Sheila! Great marketing idea.

You're doing some really beautiful work so keep it coming!

adebanji said...

GREAT! You are an INSPIRATION!

Melissa and Emmitt said...

hi sheila!
oh you are so creative not only as an artist, but as a business woman too.

you are so inspiring, positive and a joy to visit!

xoxoxo
melissa

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Sheila, I admire your resourcefulness. It's a sweet portrait, too.

Gwen Bell said...

Will you be my agent? What a go getter! You have such a great business mind in that pretty head of yours. I know your ingenuity will pay off with tons of commissions!