Vibrant, beautiful art at a great price!
For the near future, from now until December 22nd, I will be launching a massive sale of new content on my shop, including a wide range of prints, handcrafted original works, and the release of the new House Trek DVD!
This includes glossy prints of my work, as large as 8×10, for under a dollar each, and postcards also under $1 each.
It also includes original handmade art at smaller sizes, discounted under $10 for some of the smaller sizes.
There is also a way in which you can get a few items off my store for free. We’ll get to that topic later, so keep reading.
People are asking me why I would do this? How can I offer such low pricing? I had an email a few days ago from someone in the same field who was actually telling me I should charge more, and I have had a few ‘your deals are too good to be true, you must be misleading us in some way’ messages.
Actually, I’ve never cheated anyone, and I do deliver the product you order from me at a very low price. The only downside is that sometimes this takes longer than anticipated. There have been, in the worst cases, deliveries that were a week or more late, but I always apologize profusely in such cases and tend to refund part or all of the sale amount, essentially allowing the customer to have the item for free if it shows up really late. Even in such bad cases, the reason for the delay is hardly laziness on my part or ill intent. I’m simply drowning in work for customers from time to time and scrambling desperately to fulfill all of the orders.
Two items in particular I’m ashamed to say are currently in this category – both interactive media content. In one case I am really struggling with the problems inherent in debugging a WebGL build and have put in dozens of overtime, unpaid hours on a custom virtual tour embedded in a website. All in all, it has been a prolonged 200+ hour effort for which I have not been paid more than $100 as yet. The other is supposedly a ‘small’ project under $10, but I have spent a dozen hours on it now and am refunding about half the order amount to the customer as an apology for the delay in delivery. That is me – I am the rare artist who actually genuinely values the work and the customers’ happiness this much.
This – at times – undermines the prospect of having a viable long-term business that turns any sort of profit. To the emailer who criticized $5/hour as ‘not enough pay’ and ‘not even minimum wage!’ take into consideration that $5 an hour is the most I have ever made on a job, it’s kind of an aspiration of mine to make about that much consistently, someday from my work somehow without compromising the value I offer everyone.
I work 12 hours a day on peoples’ projects, plus 3-4 hours on my own personal projects, and I am lucky to earn $15-20 a day doing all of this. I am happy with this; it is more than I used to be making a few months ago, and it is enough that I can become a taxpayer next year by earning more than $5000 in one year. I work more than most people, yet I am officially categorized as ‘unemployed’ as far as the business world is concerned. Go figure. You need to understand that this is work I enjoy, and that I enjoy making games, or videos, or still art, more than I enjoy playing or viewing them.
I would really like to make a bit more from this work, however, given that I am currently struggling with tight finances. There are compromises I am making now that I’d rather not make; I would like to give Christmas gifts, even if modest ones, to family and I’d like to maintain my web hosting setup as it currently stands (i.e. all my website stuff) and back up all my data locally and in the cloud, and have enough spare art supplies and shipping materials to deliver content to customers quickly, and replace a component in my PC that is causing problems, plus keep moving forward on my video and game productions, even if slowly.
I want to do all of this, because I really do want to keep doing the creative work I’ve been doing, and I want to have some sort of reserve so this all doesn’t shut down catastrophically if something goes wrong, but there’s a cost to all of it and right now the gap between what I want to do by the end of 2016 and what I actually can do the way things are going, is about 30-35%. I cannot come up with any practical way to bridge that gap at the moment other than to land more work that pays at least $2.50/hr.
I have a growing reputation for delivering exceptional value – already over 160 ratings on my eBay seller account, all positive, and that’s great, but I don’t want to put everything in that one venue! Why should I, when eBay charges fees adding up to as much as 10% of the listing value, limiting how low I can safely push my prices, how much I can make while still providing exceptional services?
So basically, I’ve ended up raising prices there by 30% because that shop has been swamped with orders the past few months. Not just the obvious orders, even – there were some people who contacted me asking if I could help with art projects only indirectly related to what I had on my auction listings, and in many of those cases I agreed to help at rates well under $5/hour.
But generally, this can’t continue indefinitely.
The truth is that expanding my productivity and product lines, and offering better and better options to customers, requires an increase in efficiency that will only be possible with better production tools. And those require a certain amount of money too.
Right now I’m hoping to raise about $100 or so to cover the cost of a used large-format inkjet printer and another $200 roughly for a list of equipment and software required to launch another few lines of innovative products and services, things I truly believe you’d like to see.
There’s been a lot of talk about my handmade art and while I offer video services and sometimes 3D art for games, I want to diversify to more venues and more types of items done cheaper and better per dollar than anyone else will offer them. You want a virtual tour, previz for an architectural space? I can do that, cheaper than anyone else. Custom miniature kits of specific buildings or places in the real world? Again, I’ll design something amazing for you. Posters? Other custom-printed items at lower-than-normal pricing? Yes. There are other things too, but you get the idea. There are a ton of services I want to offer you all but simply can’t until things improve. That’s on top of the stuff I want to do personally for public online release – my videos and games and comics that you all have been waiting on practically forever.
I intend to raise this by selling a batch of handcrafted originals on Etsy, and a bunch of related prints on this shop and on Zazzle.
I won’t beg excessively for help, and won’t ask for donations or crowdfunding backers or any such nonsense. I will offer a lot of even more absurdly cheap item sales here, and elsewhere, and I ask that you consider buying an item or two and rating what you ordered afterwards, so this doesn’t turn into a totally disappointing debacle.
One of my best options for improving value to customers while also raising my hourly rate, is to sell on my own shop and not elsewhere. This allows me to avoid the fees found in other venues, so it is beneficial to me to see my own shop boom. But given the lack of those first few buyers who leave reviews, people do not trust the shop here yet. They don’t know it is here, and it has no real reputation as yet. There is a sense of stagnation across my websites and it frustrates me more than anyone. I *want* to move it all forward. But if my time is being consumed by work that, in the absolute worst cases, has amounted to 1/10th of minimum wage, then it really will keep dragging on and going nowhere until something goes wrong that I cannot overcome and it simply all goes belly up.
That would be a colossal tragedy for me personally and for all of you who have wanted my work completed. But if it isn’t, you need to acknowledge that you are in some small sense personally responsible for that lack of progress. If the average visitor to my network of websites spent 50 cents on one of my shops, over the next year, I would see a tremendous boost to production and to available product lines, project completions, etc.
So… I will offer gift cards to anyone who emails me here, $5 off any order in my store. Limit one per customer, and only 7 available. So supplies are limited; first seven to email me will get the first seven codes. That’s how it goes. I won’t spam you or sell your email info, I promise, though plenty of you who’ve found my email address have spammed or tried unsuccessfully to scam, me.
Even so, I’m not giving up on this audience – as some of you have been really great people. I’m willing to stretch myself even thinner and hand off $35 worth of gift cards now to you guys.
Tack that onto a small order and you wind up with free postcards/prints, or a small free handmade artwork mailed to you. Plus, you can get points back on future orders, with anything you spend here, as you might have noticed with the loyalty rewards program – and the point system is actually quite generous. As in, every $8 spent gets you enough points to save a dollar on your next order. Essentially, 12.5% cash back if you use that program, plus if you share links to the shop on social media, you can get extra points that way too.
There’s also an affiliate program which allows you to grab 7.5% of any sales made to the customers that you deliver here, so if you invite others you get a cut of whatever they spend on my shop. I don’t like affiliate programs all that much, mind you, as the phrase is often associated with unethical activity, but the reality is I don’t have a real advertising budget at this point beyond $5/month or so, so it really helps if I can convince you in some way to make others aware of this shop’s existence or the existence of TriumphantArtists.com, etc.
These three things combined – a $5 gift card code, the loyalty rewards program, and the affiliate program – allow you to get a ton of stuff off this shop for far less than even the already very low ‘sticker pricing’ seems to suggest. And given the option of ordering securely via PayPal, there’s essentially no risk involved! Better, I will do whatever I can to refund any sale amount in the case of a dispute, within 60 days, so if you’re unhappy with the work for any reason, ask for a refund, I will be willing to provide at least a partial refund on your order, in most cases. (I’d rather do that than get swamped by negative ratings!)
Here’s the thing though: I am doing everything I can to encourage first-time buyers, repeat buyers, and viral sharing of the bargains to new buyers, but I won’t be able to expand the product lines here substantially very soon unless you (a bunch of you) grab the end-of-year sale opportunity while it is active.
So I am hoping you will buy something here soon, given the presence of all of these massive incentives. If this fails horrendously, then I’ll try again after Christmas, but I am really hoping a few of you might take this chance to get things moving here on my shop. I’d love to see more people find great discounts here, because right now there are a lot of fantastic art prints and originals here and no buyers, despite the fact that basically EVERYTHING here is effectively now 30-45% cheaper than on my eBay shop.
So in summary:
A LIMITED RUN OF $5 GIFT CARD CODES FOR MY SHOP, FREE, JUST EMAIL ME AT THIS EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
MY SHOP, WHERE YOU CAN BUY STUFF USING THE GIFT CARD CODE TO SAVE $5 ON YOUR ORDER: http://hornbostelproductions.com/wordpress-4.5.2/wordpress/shop/
(the loyalty rewards program option should appear as an overlay when you first visit the shop)
JOIN THE AFFILIATE PROGRAM: http://hornbostelproductions.com/wordpress-4.5.2/wordpress/affiliate-area/
Or buy prints at a slightly higher price on Zazzle here: http://www.zazzle.com/triumphantartists
Or originals on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MatthewLHornbostel?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Or, if you’d prefer not to save quite as much money as any of those, there’s always my eBay shop: http://www.ebay.com/usr/mtthornb
THANK YOU FOR READING. NOW, I’d really appreciate it if you’d decide to start shopping through these links!