The Business

Investing in Yourself

I’ve been so up and down over the last few days that I’m sure my mister thinks I’m on crack. Why’s that, Miss Kris? Well, I’m going through what I’m sure a lot of small business owners lose sleep over – investing in inventory. Here’s how it goes…

I’m starting to plan new goodies for the summer markets (and my shop, of course), which is always lots of fun. I’m not sure which part of my job is the most fun actually – sketching and crafting up new ideas, pushing the paint around or coming up with new ways to send my characters off into the world (think pendants, magnets, stickers etc.). They all allow me to flex my creative muscles in different ways and they all remind me how much I love making art for living. Yay! (<<< that would be the crackhead high)

This week I’ve ordered:

  • new postcards from the print shop (plus envelopes and plastic sleeves to package them all up in)
  • pretty new twine for tying up packages
  • new pendant styles (plus necklace chain and clasps and beads and the thingies that allow me to attach the beads etc.)
  • 600 one inch buttons

This is on top of all of the frames I just bought for my solo show (plus some extra ones, just cuz they were awesome).


Typing that list out? Made my stomach do flips.

While I’m super excited about new products for the shop and for the summer markets, holy mother of god is it scary to spend that much money!!! Especially without having any clue how long it will take me to sell enough of those things to make it back. This would be the part where I come down from the excited high of NEW SHINY STUFF and start to panic. This is the crash.

Fortunately (unfortunately?) there is no rehab for this particular issue. I don’t have buyer’s remorse, exactly. I run a business. I need to sell things to make a living. All I’m doing is investing in my business, investing in myself, really, by purchasing new things to sell.

The nervous part is not knowing *which* things are the ones that will sell. And nobody know this.

When it comes to painting, I try to shut off the business part of my brain & paint what makes me happy, what inspires me. I do have a vague idea of which paintings are more popular than other ones based on print sales and comments from customers, but I mostly design new products based on which paintings *I* like the best. If I’m going to be the one sitting behind a table on a hot Sunday afternoon, I want to be 100% in love with everything on my table. I know I can (& probably should) try to imagine what other market demographic borgs would want, but really? As long as I would buy it myself, I think I’m good.

So, what to do?


Trust that I’m on the right path. I love what I’m doing, I love the work I’m creating and other people will too.

Yes, it may take time to turn a profit on the new purchases, but that’s OK. All businesses go through this part – investing in supplies, new equipment, new products, packaging. I’m growing & not all growth feels good. It feels scary to step out of your comfort zone & try something new, but what’s the worst case scenario? I’m stuck with 600 AWESOME buttons! If they’re a complete dud this summer, I can always give them away as little “thank yous” with new orders.

One more idea? Pour a big glass of wine before I open my next credit card bill. 😉

photo: Arlo Bates

3 thoughts on “Investing in Yourself”

  1. Sometimes it takes a while for new products to take off. I think if you give me them repeated exposure people will remember them and then ask for them. I’m figuring this out too and can relate to that stress of putting out money not knowing 100% how something will do. At least we try and then learn from it!

  2. LOVE love love this post! Went to Michelle’s opening last night with Rebecca Chaperson and she got the goody bag with one of your prints…girl with glassess…really beautiful work.
    Yeah, I sooo hear on you on this journey of being an artist/entrepeneur and the ups and downs! There is no “mister” in my life, but my six year old sure gets to see all the sides of me through this process! Looking forward to meeting you in person soon.
    Deb Chaney

  3. Boy do I know what you’re talking about. I’m on the crack low and I’m looking for my next high. Art is truly an addiction for me.
    I will remember the breathing part. : )

Leave a Reply to Lori Dean Dyment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *