It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas
It's that time of year again, the television littered with Christmas adverts, it's a struggle to do a normal weekly food shop at the supermarket without a Christmas pudding being thrust in your face and, for me, it means long days and evenings sitting at my drawing board working away like a little elf, making sure the lucky few have a portrait to open on the special day.
I'm very used to Christmas being an unsociable time of year, having a Mum and Sister who are former professional florists (now retired and baby laden respectively!). Year after year, I would be home alone, preparing all the veg for the inevitable Christmas feast the day before, whilst the rest of the family were roped into doing up mixed bunches, taking orders or going out on deliveries (sometimes on Christmas Day itself!). I'm no stranger to the long hours, having drawn well into the early hours on several occasions to get a fews hours peace whilst my little angels sleep.
This time last year, I was struggling to keep up with orders for portraits that were flying in and I got myself in quite a state, I was even doing portrait commissions in the hairdressers! There were too many orders and not enough time, particularly given the carol concerts and nativity plays I had to attend as a proud parent 😊. There were two main reasons for my mismanagement of time; the first, my prices were far too low (I was effectively working far below minimum wage on each portrait) and second, I couldn't say 'no'. I said yes to everyone for fear of losing the business to someone else. I saw my work as mainstream rather than unique and thought thats how customers saw it too.
This year, I've been a lot more organised. I'm pleased to say I am still inundated with orders, but this time I've realised that people are not buying a mass produced item, they chose me because they like my style, I'm unique and thats my selling point. I have started to say no to any more Christmas orders and have increased my prices (I'm now working just above minimum wage😉) and I've found that this isn't deterring people, they are prepared to wait until after Christmas.
It's all down to having confidence and a long Two year struggle to build up my reputation as a trusted portrait artist.
So here's to a busy couple of months, with lots of happy faces when they open their portraits on Christmas Day.
The Picture is one of the many commission orders I've had this Autunm, ordered by the owners of J & K Gallery.