October’s Market Rises? Hopefully?

Dear gods and little fishies, please let this solution work finally…. I am so done with fighting this one battle over and over again.The last couple of weeks I’ve been furiously working on Getting A Way To Sell Art Online to work for me with a budget of mothdust and pocket lint, and a soul-deep refusal to use Etsy or any other company that insists my use of their hosting platform somehow grants them the right to dictate my business practices and policies. You’d think this would be relatively simple, but you’d be incorrect.

After some deeply frustrating setbacks and false starts, and one very long night spent re-reviewing e-commerce options that I’d discarded several times before, I stumbled across Something Interesting.

Big Cartel, which I’d previously discarded due to such reasons as “I can’t afford a monthly subscription at this time, reasonable as their costs are”, the limited number of listing slots on their free tier, and the inability to offer discount codes on said free tier, made some changes recently. I still can’t afford the subscription just yet, but they do allow me to use discount codes now, and so, with the creative use of a Flickr account, I can work with this new set-up until I can afford to upgrade to a paid tier.

Thus, October’s Market (the shop portion of my weird little adventure) is now officially live!

Since I can’t list more than five items at a time, and only one image file for each, I’ll be doing weekly “Featured Art” listings, and listing 5 different pieces each week. My website has a new page on it where I will be adding a gallery of all available pieces. (Non-featured pieces are available, but folks will need to email me directly and pay by invoice, instead of fancy online cart.)

Assuming this works, I’ll be able to upgrade reasonably shortly and streamline things further, but in the meantime, here we are.Tomorrow I get the truck inspected and (hopefully) road legal again, and there’s a new installment of Auntie Yaga’s in the works, as well as designs for more artwork.

Apparently moving the studio to a different room in the house unleashed the gates of productivity!

Onward to adventure, my friends!

In Which A Dream And The Shadow Of A Goblin/Fairy Market Begins To Take Shape

One of my ongoing major challenges for, well, honestly the last 20+ years, has been the endless quest to figure out how to sell my stuff with a shoestring budget and no consistent access to physical locales. I’ve done consignment, which is great, except for randomly jacking fees and the tendency for places to suddenly decide that they just don’t feel like handling consignments anymore effective immediately, leaving you scrambling or putting you out of business completely (guess what happened to my first jewelry business!). I don’t have the output volume or style for most craft fairs and art galleries, websites are expensive and require a lot of equipment and skills I neither have nor care to waste what little spoons I have focusing on, Etsy’s business practices are so abusive and predatory that I refuse to work with them anymore, etc., etc., etc…

This does make selling things A Problem.

Some years ago, a friend asked me how I would describe a fairy market and a goblin market, each in three words, and in doing so, accidentally planted the seed of October’s Market, which is both a little of each and nothing like either of them, and it has been growing and changing since. It got shelved a while ago, because to be honest, I lost sight of what it was supposed to be and I didn’t know how to fix it.

A couple of times recently, I’ve had dreams of sitting in a park under a big, fringed umbrella beside one of those old-fashioned market carts. The cart is small, and just big enough to hold a dozen or so pieces of art at a time, a few bits of jewelry, and a selection of cute-but-vaguely unsettling hand sewn stuffed wrens (it’s their little button eyes, I swear).

These things are all tied together.

I’ve been thinking about these things a lot lately, and I think I figured out a way to get it to work. See, I wander around a lot. I also carry a bag with art supplies and notebooks, because one never knows when one will need to pull over and draw at a scenic overlook, or spend some time writing on a riverbank. I’ve had people ask me about my art while I work, and if I have a website or way to purchase things without cash (seriously, almost nobody has cash on them these days), and I have to say no, and everyone loses.

Until now. After a lot of research and consideration, I’ve signed up with Square, which is a non-PayPal payment processor. If you’ve bought something at craft fairs, farmer’s markets, open studios, etc., where you swiped your card through a chip reader on a tablet or cell phone, you’ve encountered Square, and they’re a really solid, reputable company. I’ll be able to do things like include purchase buttons in my art posts, put things into the free online shop that comes with the account, and

*drum roll please*

I’ll have a secure, portable card reader that can process credit cards and contactless purchasing apps with me at all times, so I’ll be able to sell someone the piece they wanted to buy from me on the side of the road. (It’ll also allow me to set up a small table at farmers markets and whatnot, as well, once I feel more comfortable being around humans again.)

So, that happened. 😀

Naming-wise, I’m using October’s Market for the “shop” itself. It’s the sales portion of things currently, and while there’s a bigger, wider thing that October’s Market represents (like everything in my life, there’s a story to it), for now it’s just a little blanket or table on the side of the road, or in the park, or at the beach, with an artist and a small, ever changing collection of artwork, odd bits of jewelry and other trinkets, and a very small, not-remotely fancy online shop.

I’m not sure why, but I feel like this is going to work far better for me than anything else I’ve tried. I’m a bit more free-range than our society is built for, but this allows for that and I’m really looking forward to being able to take my work on the road.