Art as a business

A little over a year ago I decided to take the plunge and bought an iPad to start my journey to digital illustrations. It was merely a hobby, something to take my mind off the pains of the pandemic. Clearly, Covid-19 took a toll on most people’s mental health – and I’m no exception. After watching countless videos on bullet journaling and studio vlogs from artists selling their crafts on Etsy, I suddenly had my Aha! moment. To be honest, buying an iPad in time of the pandemic was not a wise decision as I’ve been trying my best to maximize my budget since I’m still running my start-up business. I was torn for a couple of months because I needed an outlet to distract myself but I was worried to spend a lot (while I had no regular income coming in). In the end, the iPad won!

Draw, draw, draw

Ever since I got my iPad I’ve been drawing non stop. Seeking inspiration from Pinterest and a bunch of YouTube videos, I would sketch everyday to improve my craft. After months of making digital illustrations, I could compare the progress of my first illustrations to my current ones and I’m pretty satisfied with my new drawing style.

Taking the leap

I’ve been supporting local and international artists by buying their handmade products and I even subscribed to Patreon accounts of some of my favorites. Being a huge sticker hoarder, I enjoy collecting their works (A LOT) and seeing them successfully make a living out of something they are passionate about is something that really piqued my interest. Once in a while I would accept small and personal projects from family and friends. It was kinda like testing the waters to see if people would be interested in buying my products in case I decide to sell them. Surprisingly, I got good response from my small projects and that’s when I decided to take the leap and start my small handmade stationery shop.

Getting started

It took me a long while to get started. The search for the right cutting machine, printer, the best materials for my products, packing supplies, and choosing the right platform where I can sell my products at took up most of my time. I also had to do test prints and have made samples which I gave out to select people to get feedback.

I’m listing down the equipment and materials I needed to get me started on my new business venture. Please note that the list is just the things I use and does not mean that everyone has the same process.

List of equipment

  • iPad or tablet (for making illustrations)
  • Laptop or computer (for editing the illustrations)
  • Printer (to print the illustrations)
  • Cutting machine (to cut the stickers kiss cut or die cut)
  • Laminating machine (to make waterproof stickers)

List of supplies and materials

  • Sticker papers (assorted vinyl, regular stickers, transparent, kraft, etc.)
  • Photo top (cold laminator film)
  • tissue
  • mailers
  • cellophane or glassine bags

Store opening

After spending long hours preparing my products and pushing back my shop opening date several times, I’m proud to say that my shop is finally open! It was so surreal seeing the product photos already posted in my shop and that people are actually viewing them.

A couple of hours after making my shop live, I got my very first sale! I was out for some errands at that time but I started packing the order as soon as I got home; and it was the best feeling ever. As soon as the courier service picked up the order, it felt legit. I told myself, i finally made a sale and it was on its way to its new home.

Store link and current promotion

Currently, my store is only open to Philippine customers. I’m still testing the waters and I still have to learn about making an international store (I’m thinking of either Etsy or putting up a Shopify account). I need to do my research first. Plus, I’m working on a few more products which I plan to launch by January next year. So far, my store only have six products listed but that’s totally understandable since I’m still starting. I want to know what customers would want to see in my shop so I’m open to suggestions. If you have ideas please leave them in the comments. I very much appreciate your feedback.

If you’re from the Philippines, you can check out my Shopee store here. I’m currently having a small sale happening that will run from December 12-15, 2021 only. Use the code below upon check out so you can avail of the 5% discount (its not much but I hope it still helps).

Thank you for visiting my blog today. If you have content suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me in the comments. See you on the next blog!

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