Topic: The Business Side of Things

good things come to those who ask

I recently ran across this article on the HuffPost about entrepreneur Jai Jiang’s 100 day Rejection Therapy project and spent a solid hour looking through his rejection videos.

What I found most interesting was when he failed to get his rejection from a Krispy Kreme worker.  Sometimes I don’t ask for what we really want or I tend to tend to water it down for fear of seem presumptuous or rude. (totally my green gremlin rearing it’s ugly head)

His Rejection Therapy Project made me think less of rejection and more about asking. I should be asking more. Like a LOT more. Everyday on a daily basis. Asking for what I want without being paralyzed by fear or apologetic for wanting. I need to get into the habit of making the “BIG ASK” even if I get a NO because eventually someone will say YES!!!

After looking through Jai’s videos it pretty apparent that I’m not the only one that gets paralyzed by the fear of asking. So, I did a little more googling and came across  Amanda Palmer’s Ted Talk which is a really nice quick shot of inspiration and this awesome Stanford lecture that talks about the actual statistics of asking. (it’s about an hour long but well worth the watch)

I find it fascinating that we let our minds trick us into believing it’s going to  be worse or take longer then it actually does. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let my mind talk me out of doing something. So silly, but so very real and paralyzing when it’s happening. I wonder why some people feel this fear so strongly while others appear are able to easily walk through it without even blinking? 

Here are 2 of the most important pointers that I picked up. They are actually quite simple and I think because of that we often forget to do them. I’m going to try to start to actually put these into practice:

  1. Be upfront and direct. Bold and undiluted! No watering down!! The trick is not to come across harsh or abrasive. So there is a bit of finesse involved.
  2. Face-to-Face  An in person interaction is best! It’s harder for someone to say NO to you if you’re being sincere and looking them directly in the eye.
    • IF a Face-to-Face is not an realistic option try a phone call. No one makes phone calls any more. With a personal email coming in last.

Since I’m normally more of an email kind of girl I wanted to find some good email examples that demonstrate how you should phrase a request. Just the thought of picking of the phone to make a cold call fills me with anxiety and makes my heat race (something that I’m going to definitely have to work on).  I came across these three examples:

If you found this info useful help me spread the word by sharing this post on your facebook page, tweeting it, pining it, or just emailing it to your BFF.

xo

CA

we all fail sometimes

Misery Loves Company –Ha! How true that can sometimes be. I can remember my mom saying this to me on more than one occasion.  But how do you get past that type of negativity? How do you not sink but instead rise above your despair?  

I’ve been seeing this famous failures image being passed around the webosphere and find it quite inspiring, though I do wish they had included a few more women.

We all fail but the thing that make these folks different is that they didn’t let that stop them. They got up dusted themselves off and tried again. Maybe it should be retitled to say:

Failure is just one moment in time, isn’t it? May we all be so lucky to fail famous!!

Here are a few of my favorite stories about determined and resilient women:

Vera Wang

Failed to make the US Olympic figure-skating team. She was an editor at Vogue and was passed up for the editor-in-chief job. And thank goodness she was! She then decided to start designing wedding gowns when she was 40. And now there isn’t a new bride that wouldn’t die to be walking down the aisle in a Vera Wang gown.

Lucille Ball  

  She was sent home from drama school because she was “too shy” and for years was regarded as failed “B list” movie star. She was told by her agent to pursue a new career! Well, that is until her big break staring in I Love Lucy.

Barbra Streisand

Her mother tried to persuade her NOT to pursue singing since she wasn’t pretty enough. She had her first stage debut in a show that opened and closed in the same night. She battled debilitating stage fright after forgetting the words to a song during a 1967 free performance in New York’s Central Park. After that she  avoided live performance for nearly 3 decades! But some how despite all of that she’s still one of the most successful female singer in the history of recorded music. 

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese proverb

tying up a few loose ends before showtime

I’ve been working on tying up a few loose ends, and last Friday Sofia and I tackled assembling ALL of my press packs for Surtex. I was super thankful for the help!! What could of taken me a whole day was reduced to just a few hours :)

There is something very rewarding about actually creating something physical that you can flip through, hold and carry.

Earlier last week Stephen sent me an email with pictures of the very first promo I’d ever made!!  Gosh that was a long time ago, right after graduated college to be exact. I can remember running around like the city to hunt the right number of those perfect little scissors that I put on the covers (I was doing collage work at the time, hence the scissor). I cut and pasted each accent letter on every single promo. And get this, the inside pages actually had mounted photographs of my artwork. (totally pre-computer!!) There was some serious man hours involved in assembling those little booklets. 

It’s been over 14 years and thought my style and technique has gotten a bit more refined the general format has stayed the same. I guess if it works stick with it!!

So, if you are walking the show stop on by I’ll be in corner booth 650 (last aisle)!!

 

in a years time…

Old habits die hard. Every time we have entered an Old Navy, Ava Blu refuses to leave until she gets a picture with the Supermodelquins and this day was no different.

WELL…with the exception that this month marks a year that I’ve left my corporate design job at Old Navy, and have been pursue my creative dreams fulltime. I can’t believe it’s been a year already!!!

My goodness, how many things have changed and yet some things stay the same. :) It’s amazing to think of where I was then and where I am now and I still have BIG dreams of where I see myself going.

Today, I am doing The Happy Dance!!!!! I received an email with my first batch of product pictures and I couldn’t be happier :)

Here is to pursuing and making dreams come true!!!

on my desktop :: AND it begins

AND it begins…The prep for Surtex!! This will be my 3rd year and I’m happy to say that Megan and I are teaming up once again :) I have a really good feeling about this year, though I’ve been a bit too busy to do any real prep till now. I definitely need to start kicking it into gear otherwise it’s gong to sneak up on me. 

Oh, and as a side note. Have you ever read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series? I just started listening to the first book in the series, while I’ve been working on our postcard and ad layouts. And I have to say that I’ve become instantly absorbed with the story!! It’s a super steamy time-travel, historical romance. It’s really quite good! And like I’ve said before I’m a total sucker for a good love story. Throw in a foreign accent, a historical location, and an accusation or two of witchcraft and you’ve got me!

There are currently 7 books in the series, so I’m hoping that should be enough listening time to take me all the way through my Surtex prep and into May. I love listening to audiobooks while I work. I could work for hours without even noticing the passage of time. It really is a nice way to work. The only problem is that I sometimes don’t want to stop listening!:)

Seeking my next creative intern

I’ve been very lucky to have had Alex work with me for the past 6 months!! She has been a rockstar!! Alex is heading back to Boston at the end of June to finish out her senior year at Northeastern University. This is one uber prepared lady and a good designer to boot!! Alex has created the identity for The Sweet Spot, laid out each weeks Sketchbook Story at lightening speed, and is a great hiking and wine tasting partner. My fingers are crossed that she’ll make her way back to the Bay Area after she graduates, cause she is definitely someone that I want to keep in my circle of friends.

AM: Working with Cindy Ann was phenomenal. I got a chance to produce for and learn about the licensing industry, as well as blogging. This internship offers the chance to create not only digitally but also with your hands. Its a variety of projects and collaboration that is well worth the time spent in the studio. Additionally, I got to hang out with a cool lady & a look into her life as a self sustaining designer. Thanks for everything Cindy Ann!

Here’s where you can find Alex ::
www.lexandra.com
flavors.me/lexandra_m
twitter.com/#!/lexandra_m

So as I say good-bye to Alex I am looking forward to taking on my next creative apprentice.

I’m looking for someone to prepare art submissions, process images, do some blogging and creating layouts as well as assist with administrative and arty production things. If you are friendly organized and not afraid to take initiative, offer up an ideas or two, have mad photoshop & illustrator skills, and know your way around social media network let’s chat.

Some of the things you will do will be:

Digital - Posting images to website, Uploading images to my blog and website. Scanning and cleaning images for art. Creating mechanicals and reformatting artwork. Updating online portfolios & doing layouts for promotional materials.

Online - Laying out, formatting and posting images to website and blog. Scanning and cleaning images for art. Creating mechanicals and reformatting artwork. Updating online portfolios & doing layouts for promotional materials.

Administrative Prep- Printing, creating and organizing show binders and display materials. Responding to emails and art requests. Filling out forms. Organization, and packing assistance. Putting together sample pack, compiling list of press contacts, follow-up, updating and maintaining mailing lists (include researching), sending e-mails and making phone calls.

This is a volunteer position, so I really want to find someone that will benefit from the experience. I would love to feed you, help you get school credit, and teach you all that I can about illustration and the art licensing industry. Scheduling can be flexible and you can work from home for some of your hours. My home studio located in the Oakland Hills and I am looking for at least a 6 month commitment.

If this sort of thing might interest you email me at cindyann@blupenny.com  and tell me a little about yourself and include links to your resume, blog, website, shop, twitter, or anything else you’d like to share.  And answer the following questions: Name your top 3 favorite artist or illustrators. Why are you interested in this position and what you hope to gain from the experience. I’ll email you from there :-)

And of course, if you know anyone in the SF Bay Area that you think might be interested please feel free to pass this along.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!!

Giving and Taking your own Advice

I received a very lovely and inspiring email from a soon to be college grad. She asked if I had any recommendations or advice on how a Fine Arts graduate could find a job in this challenging economy. I wrote her back, but I’m not sure I told her what she wanted to hear. I could of spurted out all of the usual places to post her portfolio and resume and listed out all the creative job sites, but instead I simply asked her:

“Are you sure a job is really what you want? Or is it opportunities to learn and grow and make some money while learning?”

There’s a BIG difference :-)

It’s a question that I wish someone would of asked me. Thought now that I think about it, I’m not sure I  would’ve been ready to hear it either. Duh, of course I wanted a job. There were student loans to payback and there was no way I was going to move back in with my folks.

I told her how I’ve had a “day job” for the last 13 years and have worked at some pretty big companies that may look great on my resume, but what good is that if deep down I knew they were never really the right fit. In the end, I wish I would not have been swayed so easily. I wish that I would’ve stuck to my guns and followed my heart when I graduated college. I’ve always know that I wanted to freelance and run my own business. But shortly after graduating, the panic set in and I got caught up in the idea that I had to have a “real” job. I bought The Ann Taylor Blue Interview Suit and coordinating high heal penny loafers (Ugh! So not me). At first it was exciting to work in an office, but let me tell you, that wears off really quickly! And then I got stuck in the cycle. I got use to having a steady paycheck and the money’s good. I simply got too use to the lifestyle.

If I was lusting after a pair of shoes or the latest handbag, my internal reasoning went something like this ” I work hard so why shouldn’t I buy _______ (fill in the blank with latest fashion trend or tech gadget) for myself? I deserve it!” And then things really started to get complicated when I bought a house and had a kid. Having that paycheck became more and MORE important, a necessity even, OR at least seemly so.

In those first few years, I never stopped to evaluate what collecting that paycheck was actually costing me? And once I did, it became apparently clear that the personal expense actually outweighed the benefit of a steady income and that false sense of security. It was at the expense of my life, my creativity, and my happiness. Nothing is worth that. And it’s taken me a long time to come to this realization. Now I’m not saying I haven’t learned anything from working in corporate America, I have, but I’m sure I also could have acquired those skills on my own too.

So I left her with these final words of advice:  

“Follow your heart and make your own opportunities, somehow the money will find a way to follow and flow into your life.”

It’s advice I need to remind myself to take too!!

Seeking a Creative Intern

I’ve been devoting more of my time to creating and developing new art collections, and could use some assistance preparing for my next tradeshow as well as some administrative and arty production things. So, I thought I’d put the word out that I am looking for a part time intern.

If you are friendly organized and not afraid to make a phone call or two, have mad photoshop & excel skills, and know your way around social media network let’s chat.

Some of the things you’ll be doing are:

Tradeshow Prep- Printing, creating and organizing show binders and display materials. Responding to emails and art requests. Filling out forms. Organization, and packing assistance.

Marketing & Communication - Putting together press pack, compiling list of press contacts, follow-up, updating and maintaining mailing lists (include researching) , sending e-mails and making phone calls to set up meetings and appointments with clients and potential clients as well as other contacts, art sales and some administrative work..

Digital - Posting images to website, Uploading images to my blog and website. Scanning and cleaning images for art. Creating mechanicals and reformatting artwork. Updating online portfolios & doing layouts for promotional materials.

I want to find someone that will benefit from the experience. I would love to feed you, help you get school credit, and teach you all that I can about illustration and the art licensing industry. Scheduling can be flexible and you can work from home for some of your hours. My home studio located in the Oakland Hills and I am looking for at least a 6 month commitment.

If this sort of thing might interest you email me at cindyann@blupenny.com  and tell me a little about yourself and include links to your resume, blog, website, shop, twitter, or anything else you’d like to share.  And answer the following questions: Name your top 3 favorite artist or illustrators. Why are you interested in this position and what you hope to gain from the experience.  I’ll email you from there :-)

Thank you so much, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

…Oh and if you know anyone in the SF Bay Area that you think might be interested please feel free to pass this along.

Hangin’ at the East Bay Art Licensing Party

Kate Harper, recently post on her blog some highlights from our Holiday East Bay Art Licensing Party. Artist Dianne Woods was once again kind enough to host. And we were lucky to have Card Sales Rep. Ginger McCleskey as our honorary guest speaker. She gave us the inside scoop into what trends are hot for her market and what gift shop owners and buyers are looking for. The most interesting tidbit if information that I picked up was that her card buyers were looking for an emotional reaction weather it be a smile, chuckle, out and out shock or even an ewwww or two. The logic was that if it caused a reaction people will buy it and it didn’t matter much if the reaction was was good or bad, just the fact that there was an emotional reaction.

So I thought I would share with you few photos that Dianne snapped off featuring your’s truly. You can see the rest of the photos here.

 And if you get a few moments you should check out the video interview that Kate did with Ginger.

As well as a shorter two minute interview with Patti Gay Licensing Artist and former Art Director at Portal Publications.