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My First Vendor Event

Selling art prints at a vendor fair
For the first time – tonight – I’ll be selling my paintings in person at a small vendor event. I’ve shied away from selling my paintings at these types of events, because I did a few when I designed invitations and stationery and they weren’t financially worth the time I put in to them.

I’m working with a different, reputable vendor to enable me to offer art prints for sale at reasonable price points. You can shop too at my website shop.eileenmckenna.com.

The event is an interior design workshop my friend Interior Designer Erin Andrews of Indigo House Interiors is hosting. I was very flattered when she invited me to sell. I want to support her, as she is supporting me. I figured the size of the event makes it less scary.

I don’t have any expectations as far as profit. I’m really doing it as an experiment. I want to see what kind of reaction I get to my work. Are people more interested in prints or canvas originals? I also thought it would motivate me to look through my stuff and figure out what to sell and how to present it all. I’m looking forward to meeting the other vendors, who are creative friends of Erin’s that she has talked about.

Similar to teaching watercolor this past summer, this opportunity came to me, and I’m looking forward to the experience.

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Valentine’s Day gifts from watercolor art

Valentine's Day gifts by Eileen McKenna on Zazzle #valentines #day #gifts
My first countdown to a holiday, with a daily painting/illustration, was back in 2015 when I counted down to Valentine’s Day. I really enjoyed the challenge because for the first day or two you explore the obvious stuff, but as the days go on you dive a little deeper into the theme and get more creative. After experimenting this year with uploading Christmas countdown art on Zazzle for cards and ornaments, I thought it would be fun to upload some of my favorite Valentine’s Day creations. I hope you like them! Click here to visit my Zazzle shop and see them all.


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Creative Holiday Gifts for budgets big and small

Ornaments #ornaments #creative #gifts #Christmas

If you are looking for a creative gift, browse my ornament designs at www.zazzle.com/eileen_mckenna.

Want to make a bigger impact? Canvas prints make a great gift! Browse the available paintings at shop.eileenmckenna.com.
Mini canvas

How about some wearable holiday spirit? Give an enamel Nutcracker Pin!
Nutcracker enamel pin 
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Currently shipping only in the continental U.S.

Get creative with your gift wrap! Six holiday designs to choose from – including these toy soldiers, available at www.spoonflower.com/profiles/eileenmckenna.
Christmas toy soldier gift wrap

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A Valentine’s Day Card and a past career

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When my daughter was born fifteen years ago, I left my Art Director job to stay home. I did a little freelance work, but focused on starting a custom invitation and announcement business. Since I didn’t draw and paint the way I do now, the business was part work and part creative outlet. For a while I really enjoyed it, and created some beautiful things. I produced everything myself – trimming and folding, and often added hand details – bows, buttons, layered paper, etc.

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At this point in the industry there were some websites out there, but nothing like the explosion that was to come. I did this on the side, while taking care of my three little kids, from 2000-2007/8. Over time I realized I was spending a lot of time – because it was custom work – designing, finding paper, etc. And I didn’t necessarily get paid for all of it – there was only so much I could charge (that people were willing to spend). It no longer felt like a creative outlet. And by this point, I was taking drawing and painting classes.

The way to make money was to offer a few designs to pick from – and then just fill the orders. But as a designer, what was the fun in that? At the same time, that I was losing interest in the business, the economy shifted. People were not willing to spend money on invitations. Also, the internet was exploding with cute, affordable designs. I toyed with the idea of opening my own online shop. In the end I didn’t, because there was so much competition, and I was burned out.

I started working part-time in an office (email marketing). I found it a nice break from the three little kids at home, and it was much much easier to separate work and home. I spent several years working, outside the house, as a Graphic Designer, dabbling in freelance work from home, and the occasional invitation. I now work exclusively for myself, directly for clients, offering Graphic Design (print/web), and Marketing (social media/email).

What is so amazing, is all that has happened since 2007. Randomly, on Twitter I found Thortful. Thortful is an app, that allows you to upload a card design – make it available to others and/or print it for yourself. They are new, and are just cards. (They are based in the U.K., so I’m wondering what shipping to the U.S. will be.)

Of course there are so many other sites that allow you to upload your designs and purchase and/or sell them on stuff. The one I’ve know the longest is cafepress.com. In the last few years, I’ve learned of society6.com, zazzle.com, redbubble.com, spoonflower.com. Many of these sites have their own twist. I’d love to know, do you have a recommendation?

I’m not sure as a designer, which gives you the best chance of actually making money – again there seems to be a lot of competition. I wonder if there are people out there who make a chunk of their living off these type of sites. It is nice, that you don’t have to handle the production. That you can outsource it without producing large quantities (that you don’t need/might not sell.) You can focus on being a designer. What an amazing world we live in. And what’s coming next?!