Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Organized business for artists

I have been asked about this several times by other artists and that is my cue to write a post on the subject.
Running a tight ship in terms of paperwork and numbers is important to me as a businessperson who happens to be an artist. Artists have a stereotypical reputation for being flaky and disorganized. Let me tell you it is not cute, quirky or interesting to be that artist. It is a mess, both literally and figuratively.
This is a wordy post but I hope it helps some of you that are just starting out.
Here are some of the very simple things I use to stay on top of my business.

This is a screenshot of a sheet that I print out and add up every month. I do not want a program that will do it for me. I am a visual person (duh) and seeing everything in this "big picture" way makes the most sense to me.
In the two left columns I simply write the sale amount or the amount I receive from a gallery. I then write the amount of shipping ( if applicable) in the "shipping in/out column paid by the customer and the amount it actually cost. Let's say they paid $25 and it cost me $21.53 actually. Then I am on track because the cost of packing supplies is in another column.
Each time I purchase shipping supplies, paint, wood for crates etc. I save the receipt and add it to the supply column. This is a negative column and is subtracted from the gross sales at the end.
There are other columns that are part of the cost of doing business and are subtracted. The cost of webhosting and fees from Etsy and Paypal transactions are added in the appropriate columns as would any fee for entering a juried show and other miscellaneous costs related to your business.
Make sense?
Each month I pull out my sales sheets and receipts and enter them all in. Once each column is added up I know my total sales for the month. I also know how much I owe my state for sales tax that I pay quarterly. I add up all of the expenses and subtract it from those sales and I have a net profit. Easy. It is great to know how much you are selling and more importantly how much you are keeping and owe on tax day.

I also have a monthly binder that has folders and pockets for different things. The very front is for those receipts and sales. I also have a place for my commission contracts and contracts with galleries. There is another that holds all of the spreadsheets and SKUs for Serena and Lily. Each month I empty that front section, add up my numbers and place it all in a huge binder that is sectioned by month with this sheet right on top so I can refer to any month easily.
There are other ways to go about doing this. My sister in-law insisted that I get a file box but I know that I'd just stack everything on top and never organize it, so my binders work best for me.
I hope this helps. It took me many months to figure this out and was stressful when I did not know what to do with my sales numbers.

So tell me, business people how do you stay organized... or do you?

Monday, May 11, 2015

What is your "safe" color

A "safe" color is the color that you end up with in a the case of indecision. When you love the red chair but worry where to put it and you get the oatmeal fabric instead.

In looking around my own house I realized that my "safe" color is black. I have caught myself thinking, "Well, I can always move it to another room if it's black."

I have painted furniture black, chosen black lampshades and fabrics, and moved that black chair from room to room.
So tell me, what is your "safe" color?

Friday, May 8, 2015

A colorful update

I suppose this post should be titled "Happy Mother's Day to me" or "The family room isn't ready". As many things go in improving or decorating your home, one thing had to happen before the original project can be completed. The color neutralizing in my family room led to shopping which led to brightening my living room and not finishing the family room.

Here is a partial before, so you get the idea.

Totally tired of it!

So I removed the vibrant pieces from the family room and went pillow shopping for some comfy pale gray pillows for the sofa. I only bought one and then raided my son's room for more. I figured It would make a good blog post with before and afters. Well...it's not finished and I had colorful things that make me happy that needed a home.
A conversation later that day.
Me: "Want to know what I would like for Mother's day?"
Mr. Designdumonde: "Yes! And I want you to shop for it and wrap it"
Me: "OK!!!!!"

My pillow shopping had led me past these cunning little stools at Target.
 I wanted two but two just did not work in my living room. In fact, pink did not work in my living room even though the walls are the palest pink!! Horrors!

More shopping happened and the bombe chest and desk traded places.

I made sure there was a bit of vibrant pink and orange sprinkled about the room. The foundation is still ivory fabrics with dark woods and though predictable, I am really happy with it.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Serena and Lily in May


Have you seen the May Art Collection on Serena and Lily? I think it is one of the best ever.
I have 9 pieces on the site this month. There are so many fabulous pieces by other artists and you really should take a peek.


Last month I decided to try something different and pull my colors from the Serena and Lily catalog. Now, I know that art does not need to match but many people want a pulled together look and will shop based on their colors.

Along Mount Vernon Trail

Behind the falls

Friday, May 1, 2015

Why, don't mind if I do..

and a cozy throw if it's not too much trouble.

From Romantic Irish Homes by Robert O’Byrne and photographer Simon Brown

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Name dropping

Name dropping and a few dreadful pictures of me that we will have to endure.

Raina is wearing heels, I am not

Last week I met up with Raina Cox, the voice behind the blog If the Lamp Shade Fits. We met for for lunch in Old Town Alexandria and I let my daughter play hooky in order to spare Raina's daughter from our bloggy chat. It was so much fun!

I think our girls were best friends in a past life and stand a good chance of being besties if Raina would just move next door.

We enjoyed our day and saw a few really strange things.
Part of our post lunch conversation:
Raina: A shopping cart just drove by.
Me: What?!?
Raina: A shopping cart full of people just drove by. Is that some local thing?
Me: No?

After lunch said ginormous shopping cart had been pulled over and tons of people were snapping photos. Hours later we found it by us in the parking lot.

Fun but weird.

On Friday I hopped in the car and headed for High Point NC.
The opening gala for the Junior League High Point Designer Showhouse was in the evening and I had done a painting for Lisa Mende's kitchen/breakfast room and tons of people I know were going. Sorry for so many craptastic iPhone photos.

Her space was a showstopper. I want the kitchen in my house!

Kim Macumber and David Ecton (of Parker Kennedy Living) posed in the carriage house bedroom that David and Lance Jackson designed.

 Here is where I make excuses. Friday was the worst pollen day and I sneezed more than I have in years. Let me tell you, sneezing at 70 miles an hour is terrifying so I took every allergy med known to man to try and make it stop. Therein lies the reason I look puffy and demented.

Kim Macumber, Kerry Steele, David Ecton, Linda Holt
It was great fun chatting with Nancy Powell and Bethany Brower, two old friends. I met Kim Macumber in person for the first time and her pal Linda Holt.
I chatted with Meredith Heron and giggled with Traci Zeller.
It was fabulous.

I really wish I had taken more pictures. The house was really incredible.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The sconce saga

As we continue to prepare the house for sale, we face decisions about how to tackle items that should be replaced.
Consider the sconce at the landing on out back staircase. It reminded me of a bra cup and Mr. Designdumonde hated that you could see into it as you descended the stairs.
Down it came for the continuation of SW Repose Gray on the walls. 
Mr. D asked what to do with it. I said throw it away. So he did and I promptly went looking for a replacement.
I found this.

We are trying to keep the budget low while not using obvious ugly, builder-grade fixtures. Oh yeah but nothing too crazy stylish that your average Joe and Jane would not understand. So, vanilla with a cherry but no sprinkles. Sigh.
So Mr. makes the fatal mistake of asking if I could find something for less $$.
Grr. I find this and order it.

Stop laughing. 
It was too big and sucked so it went back. Just get the other one Kerry. Nope it was out of stock by then so the search continued.

I wanted this Arteriors Pruitt sconce.

 Or the Arteriors Voughn sconce but both came in around $400 and since I am leaving that ain't happening.

Yesterday I peeked at Home Depot and found my original choice was back in stock and ordered it. Whew! Please keep your fingers crossed that it does not suck.