Buster came in for his puppy vaccinations

Sorry, these are a little blurry. They looked fine in the camera until I uploaded the file.

9 weeks old, terrier mix.


Selling Wholesale

With the gift shows going on this January, there has been a lot of talk about the wholesale shows. Retail buyers can find quality items for their stores, catalogs, and businesses, and artists and craftspeople can find venues to sell their wares.
But how does one compare the options that are available? Here's a quick overview.

photo via AmericasMart website

Let's start with the Trade Shows. And they are scattered all over the country. Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, East Coast, West Coast. Some are larger. Some are smaller.

This is where retail buyers can see, touch, and feel items in person. You can spot trends in tune with your local market. We have all bought items online or from a catalog only to realize when they arrive, the item actually looks better in the photograph or on the model. Great lighting, creative cropping, and a little photoshop magic can go a long way to making things looks better than they really are. That is the problem with relying only on a website to stock your retail establishment. Websites are a great adjunct, but nothing replaces actually seeing items in person. Skip the tradeshows and your business suffers.

Here's a list of the major US tradeshows grouped together in a Squidoo Group.

Artists and Buyers also find each other on wholesale websites. With these, an artist wants to "cast a wide net". You never know who might be browsing the sites. And it's very likely that not every buyer is looking at all of them. If you have time, both to manage the site and make the products, you want to list items available on several of them.

Both the artist, and the buyer, wants functionality in a site. Buyers want to easily see the items and find contact information. Some sites even process orders. And provide stats on those orders. Which is fantastic. You are able to see dollar amounts of order placed, number of orders, number of retailers listed on the site, and number of craftspeople selling on the site.

Some sites are heavily juried. By just a few, or 1 person. I am uncertain if that's a good thing or not. If you have a store in Southern California, there is no way possible that a site halfway across the country, with items selected by 1 person, is going to be in tune with what is going on in your local retail market. You want great functionality to be able to find your own items. Not be told what items you should be purchasing.

It's also good to know some background on the site.
Who owns the site?
What is their background? Do they have experience in wholesale or tradeshows? as an exhibitor? as a buyer?
How do they promote the site? advertising in trade publications? exhibiting or sponsoring trade shows? How are your items found by buyers?
Are there any other issues?

There are all good questions to consider when selecting where to sell your products. Some craftspeople only sell their products through wholesale channels. They don't sell directly to the retail consumer. Wholesale is their livelihood.

Whether you are all wholesale, all retail, or a little of both, you want to make sure your name and products are affiliated with professional, ethical people, in the right places.


Meet Priscilla

This little stray kitten I've named Priscilla. Cute isn't she? I think she's going to be a long-haired cat.

She was brought in about 10 days ago. This past Monday was a week. To be euthanized.
I am not certain what her story was, or what really happened to her. I was told she was a feral kitten rescued from the jaws of the German Shepherd. And maybe she was, I don't know. I kept saying, "Really?" with 1 eyebrow raised. I look at the kitten. "Really?" Look again. "Really?"
No puncture wounds. No bite wounds. More importantly, NOT covered in dog slobber.

She was paralyzed in her rear legs. Couldn't stand up. But she did have some sensation in them, as she could feel you pinch her toes.

So I asked the lady who brought her in, "Do you want to keep her?" "No".
"Do you want to treat her?" "No". Well, that doesn't leave many options, I'm afraid.
"So you want to euthanize her?" "I guess so." So she paid to have her euthanized.

On day 1, that was a possibility.
But, it doesn't mean that I have to euthanize her right then, there, that minute. She didn't seem to be in a lot of pain.

So, Priscilla and I had a little talk later. Who didn't have a name at the time.
"Little Girl", I said.
"Sir?", she said.
"Are you in pain? Do you want to be euthanized today? Or had you rather hang in there for a few days and see if you mend?", I asked.
"Well, I can't feel my back feet very well, or move them at the moment, but other than that, I'm just peachy", she replied. "Would you mind terribly expressing my bladder? Girl's got to go pee-pee."

And so I did. Twice a day.

By Friday, she could move her left rear leg, a little more than the right one. Still couldn't stand though. This week she started standing. You can see her short videos I shot today.

She's not back 100 percent yet, as you can see her knuckling under her feet, so she still has some proprioceptive deficients (ie, she doesn't know exactly where those feet really are). But I think she'll get there eventually.

Also, while I was uploading the videos to youtube, the world's greatest encyclopedia :), I came across a really well done, sweet video of a kitten who passed away from feline leukemia. I am not embedding it in this link. But if you follow the link below to my blog, it is in a post below this one.

It's really worth watching. It'll make you cry, make you laugh, make you appreciate your pets while you have them with you.

Feline Leukemia- Video on Youtube

While I was uploading the short little videos of Priscilla, I came across this video of LoverBoy, a kitten who succumbed to Feline Leukemia back in Nov 2006. It's really well done, and I had to share it.

(12/10/10- I need to clarify something when I said this was well done.  This video originally had a different background musical track.  And then the video wasn't available for a long time.  I suspect it was pulled by youtube for a copyright violation of the music.  Now it's back with a different soundtrack.   I'm not a fan of the new music, but I still like the video sequences. In case you are wondering, about my "really well done" statement" as if I have totally lost my mind.)


Jefferson Memorial- from K. Jurick's Different Strokes blog

This week's subject at Karin Jurick's Different Strokes from Different Folks blog.

Here's the original reference photo.
Here's my little Yupo interpretation , 5x7 inches on Yupo board. The acrylic sealer blurred the ink of my signature. :(


Well, I am back from Atlanta Gift Show, License and Design, AmericasMart

The weekend flew by, we made some great contacts. I hope that Atlanta continues the License and Design Section in years to come. It was a small section, being the first year, but I think it will build.

Here's a photo from our booth. Our webpage with artist links are located here.
Joan Beiriger, Phyllis Dobbs , Allison Stine, Brenda Pinnick, Stella Violano, and myself.

On a more serious note, let's talk about Orphan Works bill for a second. For those who aren't familiar with it, it deals with intellectual property when the copyright owner can't be found. Museums, educational institutions can then use and display the work. Could be artwork, could be music, could be software. The way the bills are written, however, leaves a loophole for companies to use artwork for profit without permission or proper compensation to the creator.

Google Orphan Works Bill for more info. There are 2. A Senate version and a House version. You can also find lots of information at the website for Illustrators Partnership.

I am opposed to the bill as it is written. I think it's fine for schools, museums, etc. to display artwork. But they aren't profiting from it.

Now read below about what happened at the Atlanta Gift Show to Washington State artist Sharyn Sowell. Sharyn is a paper crafter, a silloutte artist, who licenses her designs to manufacturing companies. If Orphan Works does pass, her story emphasizes why it's not good, as it is written now.

From Sharyn, she gave permission to share her story. Copied and pasted in its entirety from an artist board.

During the Atlanta Gift show this weekend I had an experience that made me reflect again
on the devastating effect the Orphan Works Bill will have on us if it should pass
without alteration.

One of my licensing partners told me to go down to the temporaries, where someone had
work that looked to him something similar to mine but with a twist.

When I got there I was shocked to see my own images photocopied and used as wall art.
My art was her booth. I won't bore you with all the details but suffice it to say she
admitted she'd stolen my work.

"I didn't mean to hurt you," she said, "I just used your pictures is all."

I picked up a catalog before I confronted her, along with her name. I faced her with the
truth and she readily admitted to "borrowing" but insisted she didn't know where she'd
gotten them. "I really don't know, I can't remember, I have so many sources,"
she told me.

I insisted on taking samples of the images, which she didn't want to give me.
I said if she didn't give them to me I'd call the police and make sure they took
photos. I got the samples and stuck them in my briefcase. The quality was so horrible I
was embarrassed at such a bad knock off! This woman thought that because she was
showing my work on the opposite side of the country I would never know of the theft. If I
had not been tipped off I'd have missed it.

I wonder... how many of us have our work sitting in someone's portfolio or showroom and
we have not discovered it yet. If we do happen to find such blatant copyright infringement,
what will we do if OWB takes effect, and our hands are tied? As soon as the new legislature
is seated we need to start sharing our concerns and
insisting that legislators listen and act to protect intellectual property.

Right now the law protects me but under OWB this thief could say she had no idea who
owned the image and I'd have no recourse. Let's stay informed and make sure we follow
the developments, insist on our voices being heard. Don't let this fall by the wayside
because you've got battle fatigue.

I've been knocked off before but it's always been by big corporations. This time I faced the
individual, looked her squarely in the eyes and was shocked to see that she had no shame
at all, no denial, no guilt. It was very personal. I felt like I'd returned home to discover a
burglar in the house. It shocked me how intense I felt about it.

I'll be calling my attorney in the morning. This was a good reminder for me, and I share it
in the hopes that you'll keep this issue at the forefront. Especially if you have a new
legislator this is a great time to make your voice heard. This weekend it
was me, but next time you could be the victim.

Sharyn Sowell


Look at this Fine Specimen

Meet Willy Bob- 10 week old Boxer puppy who came in today for his puppy vaccination.
He's starting puppy obedience class next week. I am sure he'll head straight to the front of the class.


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