On Being An Artist/Designer

Well, it’s partly exciting and partly not…..

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from an on-line designer store named ‘Vida’ inviting me to become one of their designers. They had seen my art work the mail said and were very excited by how it would translate into bags, cushions, scarves, wraps and tops.

I, of course, was hugely flattered and not a little sceptical and asked three people whose opinions I trust implicitly to check them out too.  Two were my daughters and the third my friend Alys.

The daughters were spending time together in Wellington and a couple of days later sent me this ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek response:

We think it looks very professional and very inviting.

We think it would be a very exciting thing to be a part of! We love the idea that everyone involved in the process matters equally and is remunerated accordingly.
Regardless of whether you do sell anything this is a great opportunity to showcase your artwork to the world. Also we think your artwork would stand up very well against anything else on the website currently.
And some of your pieces were made for this medium.
Do it!!!!!
Love YD and ED  XXXOOOXXX
Alys responded:
So, I’m pretty excited for you after reviewing this site, checking out some of the press and following them on Facebook…………….
She went on to give an impressive breakdown of the companies background and the legalities involved in being a designer for them.
With such thorough researchers and information like this who would not hit the ‘sign me up button’ and throw themselves in boots and all?
I was really impressed by the fact that the company stated they treat everyone involved in the process equally.  Items are made in Pakistan and the workers have access to literacy and numeracy programmes as part of their jobs.
This morning I received a note from Vida with a $15 discount code attached which can be used by anybody purchasing anything from my collection, from now until the 12th of February.
I was keen to buy a ‘Small Things’ tote bag, a great way of advertising my work I thought, plus I still like that painting even though it is now three years old.
Small Things
There’s no perks being a ‘contributing artist’ to Vida, in fact one is invited to spend up to $US250  purchasing samples of ones own work to show potential customers when touting ones wares….
Any how, I went through the check out process, obtained my $15 discount from my $60 tote and it all went rather swimmingly until I hit the shipping bit.  $US50!!  But, that’s more than my purchase!!  That is ridiculous!!
In short – I  can’t afford to buy my own stuff  🙂
C’est la vie!!
Below is an example of my Inky Doodles ‘Summer Garden’ transformed into a simple top.
Summer Garden
Update 16th February 2017
After working with ShopVida for just two weeks I decided to delete and close my collection with them.   Nothing that was stated as the support given to their artists was forth-coming.  Help was not forth-coming even when asked for.  The demands made on my time became ludicrous and there were multiple and contradictory emails sent to me by several different people, none of whom seemed to know what the other had said or done.
The final straw was broken when I received an email that stated that even though they did not have a high resolution file (they did) for an item that had been sold, if I did not supply one withing 48 hours the item would be made up and sent to the customer ‘so they would not have to wait any longer for your lovely art work.’
I blew my top and sent an email listing all the questions I had previously asked, all the assistance I had previously requested and ended by saying

 

If you got this far, my thanks for reading.   I’d like to think the three items that have been sold can be sent to the people who purchased them as high quality products, otherwise I would hope you would refund them their money.  And then I would like to remove my work from your site.
The reply to that email contained an apology: yes they had the files; an excuse: he had been sick and omitted to tell any one he had the files and a cajoling plea not to leave
We definitely value you and will work on to provide better support since we don’t want lose a talented and valuable artist as your self. Please let me know what I can do to alleviate your frustrations with the company that I caused and I’ll do my best to work it out.
I momentarily felt sorry for him, the poor bloke had been told to fall on his sword!
But, as I had, on several occasions, stated what I required from them to feel supported and reiterated it in the email to which he was responding, I didn’t feel like going through it all again and never replied.  I deleted all my designs from the collection except for the three that had sold.  And those will be deleted as soon as the orders are filled.
There’s more, the incompetencies continued even after that, but I won’t bore you with the details.
So that was an interesting little sojourn into a modern pyramid selling scheme, one where the artist gets to figure it all out by themselves, do all the work required in uploading their art, placing it on the ‘designer clothing’ advertise the company, market their own products, purchase their own samples and respond immediately to every demand the production team make of them.  All this, while (I imagine) the entrepreneurial folk  swan about in their airy and bright offices spending all their time searching Google on their iphones and ipads for uplifting and inspiring quotes, writing wonderful treatises on how the company values and supports their contributing artists and makers and having excited and voluble conversations about how they are changing the world over long and tastily trendy lunches paid for out of the gross income earned by the hard work of the artists and makers.
My plea – don’t buy from ShopVida or believe any of their beautifully worded and presented ethos.  In my experience there is not a word of truth in it.
Gah!!  I should have known better!  My work will continue to sit in the little shop on my blog if you ever want to own any of it.  Otherwise I will do as I have always done – make for the pleasure of making, tell you about it and give it away when I think it might bring a bit of light to someones life.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

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92 thoughts on “On Being An Artist/Designer

  1. Well what a bugger! That is a shame, but I guess it was worth a try. I’ve been a tad busy, moving, several times, so I haven’t had time to read the blogs I like. I hope something else comes up for you. What about a facebook page with your artwork? Easy to set up and share.

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  2. I think that this company and all those like it are running a real scam. They only pay the artist 10%. They have a great eye for good artists and your paintings look fabulous on the bags. All of the designs on the products are gorgeous. I don’t know about the quality but they are stunning visually. But the artist only gets 10%! These companies only pay 10% for the most beautiful artwork out there. Yes, websites, manufacturing and personnel cost money, but they are probably making the lion’s share on this deal. The average worker in a textile factory in Pakistan makes 52 cents an hour. I don’t like being a wet blanket, but we all need to open our eyes to this Free Trade situation. Free Trade is right, free for them.
    What they do have is a great eye for talent.
    Ginene

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    • Did you read the updated post Ginene? I just finished doing it when your comment came through. The artist only gets 10% of nett. I figured on a $60 item that might be $20, which gives the artist maybe $2.00 Scam is the correct adjective!

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      • I just read the updated post. Oh my gosh. And this is going on all over the Internet. I’m so sorry this happened to you. The bags did look fabulous though, didn’t they? I wonder where we could leave a review regarding their business plan.
        Ginene

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  3. Oh my gosh, Pauline! This is very cool. It’s nice that people are looking around for “new” artists and that your work translates to this so well. You must be over the moon. I’ll be going back to the store to have another look around. My mother asked about your art at Christmas and now I can buy her a bag or scarf! I’m sorry the postage is so high. It isn’t that much to mail to NZ. I think they pile on the packing material and time for packing and likely it got stuck into overseas mailing since the domestic ones are reasonable. Congratulations!

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    • Oh, I’m glad you had a chance to look around it Lisa – if you are going to get your mum something there is that 15% discount still available. Alys also reported that the mailing is very reasonable in the US, so I guess the store is really geared for that market. I’m over my disappointment and just accepting the compliment 🙂

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  4. Pauline, I am so excited for you! This is fantastic. Your artwork is beautiful, and it is great that they discovered you. Sometimes it is the euphoria that you get when someone else recognizes your work that makes it all worthwhile. I was thrilled when I got a book published, although it hasn’t sold well. I will check out their site. Congratulations to you, I hope it does very well!

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    • Thanks Lana – I think you are right, it really is just the recognition, it’s nice when someone comes out of left field and says a strong ‘yes’ to your work isn’t it. Sometimes that is as far as it goes, and I’m prepared for that too. It’s just another nice experience 🙂 If you go and have a look I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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      • I visited the site and shared it on my social media. It is all so pretty, Pauline. I am particularly fond of the wrap and the pillows, but like it all. They should have given you some complimentary pieces. I had to purchase my own books, of course I can resell them, but still you would think that the artists could get X amount of their own creations :<(

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  5. Go you! So pleased for you and so pleased they turned out not to be someone you needed to run a mile from. And it’s only five minutes since we discussed this – can’t believe they’re up there already. Shame about the postage. They look fab, but you know I thought they would already 🙂 Well done again. I’m sure this is only the start…

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  6. Pauline it al looks amazing and made with respect for your designs and you as an artist and the world in general. Congratulations and enjoy!!! And yes…its a sad thing how postage has risen through the roof. With two sons in Canada, I just don’t think about it ;o) Have alovely weekend xoxo Johanna

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  7. Pauline, your designs translate beautifully to clothing. Good for you for having a go. Wishing you every success with this although I agree that the shipping is prohibitive 😕. There must be other outlets for your talents. Whoohoo, go girl!

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  8. Pauline, I checked on shipping within the US and it’s only $9.50. I can’t imagine such a hefty price, but I’ve experienced it myself. It might have to do with VAT or customs costs, though I’m not sure. I once ordered $30 worth of soy candles from Canada, and they charged me another $30 in postage. And we share a border!

    I of course couldn’t help myself, so I’m now awaiting my new scarf. You are amazing!

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        • He-he! I did that last night – she looks great doesn’t she! I had a couple of requests to put up some teeshirts and the dream catcher mandala piece and I tried her out at the same time. I think she makes a lovely tote with her little fairy sitting on her shoulder!

          You bought a scarf! They look nice and big and I am sure you will look most elegant draped in that. You must tell me what you think of the quality and so on when you get it. The cost of shipping has stopped me seeing the products personally. Which in so many ways is a shame, but I shall just have to let go of all my control issues and trust that they know what they are doing. 🙂

          I just don’t see how $50 can be charged, I pay any import duties that arise at my end – and we don’t unless it is over a certain amount and taxes are not allowed to be included under shipping costs – it has to be transportation and packaging costs only. So it is either a bit of a commonly used scam or US Postal Services are incredibly expensive.

          The cost is increased quite a bit due to the exchange rate also – which isn’t as high as it once was, but still makes a dent. $US50 becomes almost $NZ70. A tote with the discount (I hope you used the discount voucher for your purchase) is $US45 – $NZ62.50 = $NZ132.50 which is extremely close to my total weekly living budget. I was very disappointed in the moment, but have to just shrug and let it go. In the big scheme of things it is incredibly unimportant! I promise to stop whining now 🙂

          Thank you for all your help and support in getting this thing going. I shall look forward to hearing what you think of your purchase in due course.

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          • Pauline, these are your designs! Of course you want them to be accessible to all who want them. You are not whining at all. It might be worth an email with the site to inquire about the postage rates. Perhaps it’s an error. Surely they want to sell your items as much as you do. And if they are going to make things available globally, they should take the shipping costs into account, especially since none of the items have much weight or bulk. I forgot about the difference in the exchange, but as you say, that makes it even worse. I did indeed use the discount (thank you). I hope others will use it too.

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  9. Oh, Pauline! So beautiful. I love seeing your creations on these marvelous items. Each one showcases exceptionally well but my favorites are the bags. What a wonderful way to display your artwork. Fabulous! I am so happy for you. 💕 Out of my budget range but some lucky owners are going to very proudly display your artwork. Congratulations. 💕💕

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  10. I always wondered why you never didn’t put it on linen, object etc!!! I am so happy for you, your stuff will look great, I am heading over there now to check it out!!!!!! There are couple sites where you can put your artwork and it will go as wrapping paper???? now that is cool too:-) How exciting..look what I missed by not checking in on you the last few weeks!!!

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    • I just stopped over there and WOW! WOW! I think what I love most about your art on clothes is it WORKS! It looks so natural and like it was made to go there. Check out Annie Lewin what she does with nature and a press. You would love her stuff and she has it all over fabrics, coffee cups etc…check this place out-

      http://www.angielewin.co.uk/

      She ( as well as you) the past year have inspired me to start drawing again:-) I love her stuff and it make wonderful fabric, too. Just like yours.

      How exciting ( ) big hug sister!!!!

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      • Oh, she has a lovely soft floral style – I like it! I’m happiest when painting I think. Although the inky doodles were most definitely a lot of fun! Thanks for checking out my collection – it is good to hear what everyone thinks (though way too polite to say if they don’t like it) and what favourites are. Hearing what people don’t like is as helpful as hearing what they do like. The one thing I got out of seeing my collection and checking out some others is that mine is high colour 🙂

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        • That is what I love best about your painting- the color! The doodles are wonderful, but with your “eye” for color-WOW! I would love to purchase some of your stuff and say, I am wearing Paulines art!!!! I need to save my money:-)
          I thought the printing was neat the artists did , but how cool that “painting” can now be printed on all kinds of objects with computers. I know people can paint scarves, print material with some materials but it is difficult ( batik), but now you can create from your painting such great designs on clothes!
          I started messign with alcohol and love that stuff. I loved your alcohol work too:-)

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          • You gotta stop messing with alcohol Robbie 😀 Just play with the inks 😉 It is quite addictive I found just doing that. If I had more colours of ink I’d make more inky doodles, but I’ve pretty much run my small palette dry. Digital printing, like so many techie things has just gone from strength to strength. I’d love to see what a finished piece looks like, but with the shipping on top of the items cost I shall have to wait and see what others have to say.

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            • I feel your art fits so well on their site. There are other print sites- like zazzle etc, but their site seems a bit above or “classy” and shows your artwork beautifly on their clothing. I find their clothing stunning:-) It is not just t-shirts, but scarves etc…lovely pieces for artwork.I love the drawings you selected. Keep us posted as to how your stie develops and what you put on there, maybe a link on your margin:-)

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  11. It all looks very professional and lovely Ms Pauline. I dare say the shipping costs to “here” would also be astronomical. I am too scared to look! Your doodles look spectacular translated to clothing and your artwork makes beautiful accessories. I hope that your beautiful work translates into coinage in the bank 🙂

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    • Well, you are even further away so yes, it would be Earl’s dinners for a month gone in shipping costs! Such a shame isn’t it. I do on-line shopping and have companies that offer unlimited purchases for $9 from both the States and UK, so it can be done. But apart from that small glitch it is a truly wonderful compliment and so nice to see how some of my work looks as fabric and bags and cushions. I really didn’t know it could happen and certainly don’t have the nous to do it myself! So even if I can’t own one of my bags myself, it makes me Very Happy knowing someone else does 🙂

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  12. Congratulations! I love the way everything looks. I can see myself with a bag and a shirt. I just need to put aside some dollars for it.

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    • Thank you SS – it’s such a great compliment when someone can see themselves with an item. I particularly like the bags 🙂 And a couple of the tops 🙂 Thanks for going over and checking it out.

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  13. This is awesome, Pauline. What a fabulous idea. The artworks you have shown here look great. I want a bag. If only I needed one! Wouldn’t it be lovely to see your artwork walking around the world. Pity about the postage. “They” shouldn’t earn more than you. Some friends of mine do something similar. I’ll check out with them what it is and let you know if it’s any different or another outlet you could try. Best wishes with this venture, Pauline. I wish you great success.

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  14. I am excited for you. Do you sell the rights to your design that they use exclusively? I love how the ink art translated to the fabric. It’s beautiful! Yes, your art is right there at the top so no modesty necessary. I showed my sister your Yupo page yesterday. She loved your work too and is anxious to try the Yupo. It takes a long time to arrive here. You should say to yourself over and over until it sinks in; “I am an artist”. You can try this site for awhile and see what happens. If it’s not a good fit, move on to something else. Postage for anything is obscene anymore. My son was trying to send some of his older shirts back to my sister for working in and they wanted more than the shirts were worth. He said he’s wait and hand carry on his next VISIT. Isn’t that a nice word. Visit. 🙂

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    • Yes, I like that word too. ‘Visit’ 🙂 Such fun!! Perhaps it will soon be so for us all, we can hop into a row boat or whatever and hand deliver stuff to all our family and friends because it is more affordable than shipping charges.

      Vida has the rights to the items shown in that I have no say in how they use my art or produce the apparel etc. And I am just another customer when buying – no perks. If I submit something and they can’t work with it for whatever reason they have no claim on that design. I can still do anything I like with my art whether they are using it or not. It is an honourable set up.

      I’m sure your sister will have great fun with the paper!

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  15. CC, that is the most exciting news. I love the Evening Garden top. The colours are gorgeous and your work looks so lovely displayed like this. I suspect the postage would be the same for Australia which is a shame, but hopefully you’ll have many happy customers from other countries. This is cause for celebration.

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  16. Lovely. I’m glad this has happened for you, because I had wondered where you sell your designs, and had suspected from some of what you wrote that, like a lot of clever and gifted people, you were probably vastly underexposed. I hope this goes really well for you!

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    • Thank you chrysaliswithaview 🙂 I do have a page on this blog that has postcards and prints and light catchers (which is about to get a severe updating) and which some of my readers patronise most generously. But this is a new and unexpected compliment and has made me very happy even if I can’t afford to buy my own art work 🙂

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