This is the time of year that people reminisce. And normally, I would have published a New Year's Manifesto of my own, with ruminations about the departing year and predictions and hopes for the coming one. This year, things are a little different. Though I have my regular blog, I'm writing this post on the website for my art business, which is, and in most ways always was, more than a monetized hobby. I resigned my position as an English professor a few months ago, and this month finished out the remainder of my agreed notice. I haven't fully processed what that means other than now I have more time to create dope shit, which is both exhilarating and petrifying.
This post is about change. And its purpose is hopefully two-fold:
- to inform you of price/policy changes, and
- talk about where my business is headed.
So let's get to it shall we?
As I mentioned before, my art business is more than a monetized hobby. It is a business. Though I love creating dope shit, and will until I no longer can, my goal is to make money. But I realized a while back, and confirmed this week, that my prices are entirely too low. Now, there are two camps on this battlefield. One camp just read that sentence, maybe even the entirety of the previous sentences in this paragraph, and gasped in disgust and disbelief. How dare I, a mere amateur artist, and a Black Queer cisgendered female one at that, fix my fingers to type that I am not willing to lose money by charging a ridiculously low price for my art? How dare I have the gall to say that I require more money in exchange for my product? Isn't my art supposed to be for the people?Is it even good enough to be priced higher? Now those people generally don't buy my art anyway, so their opinion and commentary isn't important to me. But at one point it was. So much so, that I refused to even do a cost analysis on my art for a year because I knew it would shame me. Then there's the other camp. These people are smiling right now because they actually buy my art. They see the inherent value in art period and collect it because they understand that having art adds value to their lives and the lives of their progeny. They've been telling me for years, even before ktheotherway became a thing that I create dope shit and should charge my worth and add interest. And luckily for me, there are more of them than there are in the former camp.
As with anything created for human consumption, my art is not for everyone. And pricing it below what it's worth for the sake of a dissenting voice who might not be able to afford its actual price but wouldn't buy it anyway, ain't the move. I understand all too well the ways in which Black femme producers, no matter their product or service, are expected to lowball themselves in service to everyone else's comfort. I also know what it's like to have someone see a price on a piece of my art, realize it's under priced, and say, "how much is it actually worth?" and then pay me that amount. OR, have seen a piece priced correctly, no matter what that number is, and pay me that with no issue. That doesn't happen often, but it has happened enough for me to realize a very important thing: If someone wants something, and they are willing to pay for it, they will without being begged to do so. And because I know my art has value, that my talent is worth the investment, that I create dope shit, I am changing my prices effective January 1, 2020. What that means is that there are pieces that are under priced on my site, but once they're gone, I won't be selling myself short anymore. I have art sitting in my studio that is so dope it would cause me physical pain to under-price it just because I know how hard I worked on it and how much it cost me, in all regards, to create it.
If you were following me this summer, you may remember BoxGate. Now Boxgate started as a 2 and a half week mixup between me, a vendor, Amazon, and FedEx that got exacerbated because of a policy that I've had. Let me explain. At one point, I allowed people to pay a deposit on their commission to reserve the supplies needed to create the piece. I ran into a problem though, because people would pay that deposit and miss the due date on their other payments. Well, because my business sustains itself, and because my pieces were previously under priced, the money that covered shipping got lost in the shuffle. So I had clients waiting on pieces for weeks on end, which gave me some of the worst anxiety I've had in 2019. Why am I telling you this? Why would I let you peek behind the curtain? Because I believe in transparency. And because there may be another artist/ artrepreneur reading this blog who needs to understand the importance of properly pricing their product and having good policies in place (and apparently, alliterations). All of this to say, commission prices will go up, deposits are still non refundable, and after a certain amount of time without payment, you forfeit the commission, no matter its stage of completion. I have a few other changes to make to my policies, but those will be explained clearly in the policies section of this website.
Now, in 2020 and going forward, you can expect what I believe to be some pretty dope shit coming from camp ktheotherway. Most of it is ideas I've been sitting on for a few years, some of it is just new stuff I want to try, and then there are the things I haven't thought of yet. No matter what it is, I can guarantee you that it will be unique, intuitive, relevant and resonant. It will be me creating without fear and with a new vision for myself and my business. I've seen what it's like to play small and devalue my talents and abilities. I think it's time to look at what my life could be with courage, a commitment to success, and the passion I have for what I do.
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