What business am I in? They ask as they stand in front of a painting, stacks of designs and my online store in the way of getting to their email –
The question keeps being asked at the damnedest times by the damnedest people in my life, from friends to family members, daughters, neighbors and I’m so stunned that I have no answer when they ask. The question they keep asking, is – what are you selling? It is accompanied by the other questions of a similar nature – what business are you in? What do you have to sell? What store? What is the product? How could you have a business if you don’t have any products? You have to have a product or service to have a business and you don’t have that, what product would it be?
In any case, each of the people asking, are not in an elevator having never met me nor ever having seen anything that I’m doing. They aren’t strangers who have never seen or known anything about my art, my work, my stores, my brand, my designs, my blogs, my inventions, my knowledge and solutions to real world problems. And, yet – there is the question again and again and again as they stand incredulous that I believe there is a business that I’m engaged in doing that offers real things to a real marketplace. It is strange.
And, it is confusing. To me, it seems self-explanatory and obvious. The years of sacrificing every little bit of time and money I could at every moment, day after day, year after year of building, creating, painting, learning, designing, inventing, writing, working on and getting better as well as more capable of each part in it. And, there are products containing those artworks, images, photographs, ideas, writings, designs and constructions I’ve created across several stores and platforms online. I spend all my time on it and I suppose that if it were making millions of dollars rather than pennies on the dollar each time it sells, maybe they wouldn’t ask such a question. But the answer seems so obvious to me when I look at the stores, the paintings, the other things both online and sitting around my house (apt.)
So I wrote it on the store today –
CricketDiane Art and Design – What am I selling? I am selling original artwork, images and designs that I have painted, created, designed, photographed and constructed on products from coffee mugs to tshirts offered by Zazzle. They can be customized to suit a special occasion, personalized for a special person, or used as is for a special accent to fashion, home decor or event.
Apparent to me, that 79,315 products on the CricketDiane store, 10,676 products on the CustomDesignPalette store, 254 products on the Men’s Ugly Designer Ties Store, 898 products on the Adaptive Living Tools store, 136 products on the Extreme Designs store and 58 designs on the Oceanscape store combine to suggest what my core business product happens to be. It doesn’t seem that hard to figure it out. There are some of those products which have only plain color on them, or a patterned surface that I created from polka dots to sparkles, but the vast majority contain designs and artwork that I originated, then placed on the products.
So, knowing that and seeing that it is in fact, online and available for the public to buy – why would anyone ask me what I’m selling, what I’m in the business of, what I could sell or other questions along the same lines? Why would anyone, having seen all those designs and artworks sitting in my house, in photographs of them, on my computers and now on products through Zazzle and CafePress, say to me – what product are you selling or what do you have to sell that you can use for a business? Or say to me, you have to have a product to have a business and you don’t have one. How could anyone say that to me? It doesn’t make sense.
For years now, my family especially demands that I do something else to make money that isn’t anything to do with these things that I design, originate, create, invent, research, paint, write, make, and construct. They don’t protect them, don’t want to be involved in making money with them, don’t believe money can be made with them, don’t want to support me being able to go out into the public to paint or create them in person anywhere, don’t want to do any of the tedious computer work involved in promoting them or managing the stores, or working with the artworks or anything else I’ve created in order to make them available this way or any other way. There are other things I’ve invested my time into producing as well that sit about my house – but those aren’t worthy either of being considered a business or as an asset of my business according to my friends, neighbors, community and family members. It is bizarre.
So, what if it isn’t cutting firewood or selling cars or porn – it is still a business with definite and tangible products being offered – and I don’t mean the coffee cups. I don’t manufacture or produce coffee cups, but I do offer artworks, designs, sayings and decorations that make coffee cups more attractive, more salable, and more likely to be something special worth having. I can do that part. I am doing that part. Why isn’t that considered a business product? My business owns the rights to them, owns the licensing rights to the designs and artwork, have originated them and placed them on something being sold to the public – what is hard to understand about what my business product is? Or, what business it is? Or, what it could become with a bit more promotion and audience share for it?
Honestly, this crap drives me crazy. To stand in front of my paintings and ask me what I have to sell? What kind of bullshit is that? To have seen the “over 80,000” products online with my designs and artwork on them and then say, what product do you have, or what kind of product is your business offering – after having seen it? What kind of crazy nonsense is that?
That I wasn’t worth being taught or helped or supported to have a business at all since I didn’t have perfect teeth, a perfect brain, a perfect financially sound lifestyle, a perfect size 6 figure, a perfect family background, a perfect set of well-off and influential friends, a perfect mind to absorb all of it without effort, a perfect what the hell ever else including enough money to support it as a business without anyone’s help? Aren’t those the excuses for me being in a business that only my efforts and the crumbs of other’s efforts but almost all of the money I have had available to me being used for it along with 18 hours a day seven days a week plus having to build it over years by investing time as money as well – rather than in a few months as other businesses can do with loans and investors and family money underwriting them?
Isn’t that already invested now and evidenced by the vast number of designs, products with those designs on them, artworks, skills, knowledge, writings, music, inventions, research, written materials of concepts and ideas and other original materials that not only exist but many of which are marketable? Doesn’t any of that count for anything? How could anyone stand in the midst of that knowing what they are seeing and then demand to know what my product is or what my business is? How is that even possible? Damn this is annoying.
Exactly how is the product below with my photography on it, not a business product? Or rather, how is it that everyone around me and in my family believes that the design on this necklace that I’ve created – is not a business, not a product of a business, not an asset of a business and not capable of earning money in the marketplace? Would no one want a necklace with this beautiful flower photography on it? Really?
How could anyone who has seen this artwork that I created from a pastel artwork I hand-rendered set on top of a photograph I took made into a flyer available on my zazzle store, ask me what product I have that I can sell? How is that possible? Is it not a marketable design? Is it not desirable? Would it not get attention for someone’s event or business if they bought it? Is the artwork on it, not a product or business asset nor it’s copyright, license and potential something that constitutes a product core for a business? Really? Is that what my family and friends are telling me? That none of it is worth anything in the marketplace? Or, that none of it including this design can be a product for a brand, a business, an earned income for me, an asset to any customer or serve any profitable use in the marketplace? Is that it? How can they look at it and other things I’ve created like it and say that? Why isn’t it good enough?