Monday, May 15, 2006

Kevin's interview

Here’s Kevin’s two sites and what he has to say about them.

1. What drew you to opening an online store? Were you in a related field?

I’m a freelance illustration artist and I have a lot of art that was stuff I did just for me and CafePress offered an option to use that artwork.

2. When did you open your store?

Its been about 3 1/2 years now.

3. What is harder about doing this then you thought it would be?

I’m dyslexic so creating tags and searchable phrases can be a challenge at times. While spell checks are handy it sometimes leads to a correctly spelled, but wrong word for what I need. With dyslexia I can’t always distinguish if I have the right word once I have spell checked it. For the record it can also be a blessing in disguise. I’ve seen a few sales because of misspellings! I had a guy find my sight via Google because I misspelled water as watter and he found some of the mermaid items and bought a shirt.

4. What do you like best about being an online shopkeeper?

It’s a great outlet for some of my artistic musings. Sketches that were just collecting dust in my archives now not only have a use, but are finding a new home and audience.

5. During the very first month, what do you wish you had known then that you do now?

Visitor count tracking. I can’t say enough about having a good visit tracker that can tell you where people are hitting your site from.

6. Could you share some of the marketing you’ve tried so far (on or off line) and what has worked and what hasn’t?

I do a lot of offline advertising. I do try-fold fliers. This is a standard 6-panel flier with the front panels designed to catch people’s attention. The interior is a fold out display of art and product. The two outer panels have contact information designed to direct traffic to the sight. I have a by-fold flier that features a comic strip panel of two people discussing how cool the Knight In Ink shop is and it opens up to show an outer border of artwork and several items featured on the site; like the t-shirts, the buttons, the coffee cups, etc. I also have posters, which have a border of artwork and shop products on them. This, along with my business cards, which have my Knight In Ink shop listed on them. I put tease items out at coffee shops, bookstores, comic shops and catchy little shops all over. I’ve placed them locally and also out of town and out of state. I have even had friends place them for me in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Chicago, Boston, Charleston, Atlanta, and Orlando. I also use my online blogs as advertising points. It drives a little business to the sight. Also search engines are a great way to draw traffic. CafePress also has an affiliate program my friend at has helped me out with.

7. What other sites, blogs, etc. do you have if any?

Along with over a dozen art boards I post on regularly.

Nancy’s comments – Kevin’s dragons and little sluggers in his Calico Dragon shop made me want to decorate children’s rooms. They are adorable. As you can tell by his blog, various sites and marketing, he’s working hard at this!

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