Saturday, April 10, 2010

Packaging Artwork

In the past year my collector base has grown from the southeast to nationwide. This growth has been phenomenal but also creates it's own logistical implications. Packaging, shipping charges and keeping track of contact information is something that requires time and patience.

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be evaluating some ways to approach these duties in a time-saving and user-friendly manner. Some of the topics I'll be working on are:

  • Collecting contact information from my guestbooks, Quickbooks, website, etc, into one workable and easily adaptable database.
  • Finding boxes to fit the unique shapes of my canvas artwork and finding a supplier that works with small businesses and enables smaller bulk purchases.
  • Putting together a shipping table so I can have a quick resource guide for my shipping charges. I would like to be able to offer more shipping coverage without building a quote.

I've been migrating towards more sales online which has made this necessary. The contact base is going to be time intensive in the beginning, but this way I'll have a comprehensive list of people for my show invitations.

Things to keep in mind when creating contact databases:

  1. Keep track of what sort of contact this is. How were they referred to my work/website?
  2. Do they require updates on all work, local showings, blog updates, etc?
  3. What pieces does this collector own currently?
  4. Do not over email. I refrain from using email except for show announcements and possibly an update 1 - 2 times per year. If a collector would like to be updated frequently, they can subscribe to the blog.
  5. Last contact date.
  6. Format. If you use Excel many times this database is exportable and can be used when creating invitations.

Things to keep in mind when packaging:

  1. Allow enough room around the canvas for whatever cushion you use.
  2. Be green. Either re-use mailing material for small pieces or buy biodegradable packing materials. I loathe styrofoam peanuts. Who likes to spend more time cleaning up packaging than they do opening their purchase? And just how long does it take until these peanuts break down? A looong time, if ever. If you need packaging peanuts, starch peanuts are out there which break down faster and are more eco-friendly.
  3. If you can buy packaging in units of 25 boxes or more it goes a long way towards lowering your packaging costs. One vendor I'm going to look into is U-Line.

What have I left out? Let me know.

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