Part 2: Jennibellie - The Business Woman
Q: Jenny, of all of the YouTube video tutorials out there, yours are some of my favorites by far. Not only is your art/art journaling fantastic, you are also so engaging as a person! Can you talk a little about how you got your start with making video tutorials? What were some of your early successes? What were some of your early lessons learned?
Oh my! (firstly thank you for your compliments *blush* =D ) I cannot remember how I got started making videos exactly, I just remember having such an itch to do it lol I had nothing else online at that point, no blog or Facebook etc. and if you see my first one it was all over the place so it wasn’t the most informed decision, I just felt a creative pull and I did it. Early successes was probably my ‘How to Make a 100% Recycled Art Journal from Cereal Boxes’ video, I remember being so excited about it reaching 5k views lol and it really humbles me to think on that when my newest videos can often reach that very quickly. With videos I think you are always learning (like anything I guess) so it’s not just early lessons for me – I still learn something new every single video I make, and hopefully that means they are getting better as I learn too. It’s just the same practicing thing again I was talking about last time.
Q: Besides GREAT video tutorials, what are some of the other ways you reach out/stay connected to your audience?
I try to respond to as many queries as possible (although this is proving more and more difficult the more people contact me, but still I do try). I have a blog where I am at my most personal; I talk more of the emotions and circumstances that are going on behind the art, as it is my online diary & I think people appreciate having something more than just eye candy being shared on there. I also created a facebook page last year which has brought me so much closer to my followers – I pretty much post daily, things that I might not think are big enough to do a blogpost on but are too greater hints, tips and tricks not to share – plus more of my everyday life stuff.
Q: What are some of your favorite marketing/networking tools/techniques?
To be honest I’m a bit of an internet-phobe so I don’t feel like I’m the best person to answer this. I know, I know it seems strange given that I do share a lot on the internet but as my blog readers will probably know I find understanding new websites and web stuff holy confusing…but I’ll will tell you a story. Many of my followers wanted me to join Pinterest, so I asked on Facebook if I should & had an overwhelming response & I am now I am on Pinterest. Okay short story but my point is just to ensure that you are listening to, and engaging, with the peeps you already have, over trying to chase new ones. I think if you spend thousands on marketing but never answer an email then all that money could easily be wasted. Even though we are on the internet word of mouth is still probably the best tool I can think of, and that comes from being genuine and engaging with people.
Q: Can you talk a little about your website? Your Etsy shop? Other business tools you are using. When did you know it was time to start down that path? What are some lessons learned you can share?
Hmmm I first started selling journals, really before I did any videos or knew I wanted to be ‘visible’ online. My journals were very popular, but I made them for myself more than for sale – sometimes spending days on one, as I liked each design to be completely individual and as I made them using the unique found items of metal, wood or fabric it meant no templates could be used anyway. I soon learnt that if I were to make proper money at it, I’d have to quit doing it how I enjoyed doing it and start a more conveyer-belt type of production, and I didn’t want that. I hate making things when I know I ‘have’ to, all creative freedom is then zapped from your creation. So I continued to make my individual freedom-filled things, first journals and then moving onto other things as my creativity dictated but instead of selling, I did it on camera & made it into videos. It was a way for one creation to get to thousands of people, rather than just one. The best lesson I learnt from all this was to follow your creative heart, wherever it leads, because even if you are making money if you’re not listening to it, you won’t be happy.
Q: What other tips do you have for artists that are just beginning to explore the business side of the arts?
Create for yourself. So many Etsy sellers I’ve spoken to have said this to me too, if you focus on creating something purely for sale you are doing yourself and your customers a dis-service. If you create firstly for yourself, then adapt it for sale (or just sell it directly as is) then you will be creating your BEST stuff…and therefore will probably have more customers too anyway.
Q: Thinking back to when you first started selling your art, what would you have done differently?
I may not have under-priced myself on occasion. I don’t think I did this too badly, but when you sell something will a little hole in your heart that says ‘all that work for only £x’ you really need to listen to it. There is this thing with the arts that makes us think we should not only sell our work cheaply, but often give it away for nothing, because it’s not a dvd, or a bed, or gas bill and it’s complete Bull S**t! If you were sat at any office desk for that long would you expect not to be paid for it? If you price is low just to get sales then you are ultimately undervaluing YOURSELF! You made it, you know how many ideas, how much time and how much skill went into creating it, you know ultimately what you would be happy to get for it. Charge it, and don’t accept anything less. YOU (and your creations!!) ARE WORTH IT!
For more information about Jenny, you can find her at any of the following:
Blog, Jennibellie Studio.Facebook, Jennibellie.
Etsy Shop, Paperclayjunkie.