HOW COVID-19 AND THIS WHOLE SITUATION IS AFFECTING MY ART BUSINESS
I’m sure by now you’ve seen every company you have ever used in your entire life send you an email regarding how they are reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m sure all of them are telling you the precautions they are taking, how the shut down of various businesses is changing their timelines, etc. And since I’m sure you’re ridiculously tired of seeing those pop up, I’m going to keep this short and sweet.
The current situation – the “shelter in place” orders, the work from home changes, the closure of various businesses – does not have much of an effect on what I do as an artist. If anything, right now it has made me more productive than ever. I have more down time than normal with my full time job (we deal primarily in international business – and if there is no travel, we can’t do most of what we normally do). I’m also not commuting, and all of my social activities have been canceled. Right now, even my baby shower is in jeopardy. (Hoping it will be a simple postponement and not a cancellation, but we will see how things go) The only big “thing” on my plate right now is that we are in the process of buying a house. It’s insanely frustrating because of the volatile nature of interest rates right now and we don’t have a live person we can drop in on and see when we need to – but it’s all coming along. Word to the wise: don’t try to buy a house during a pandemic. So what is affected?
My pricing: There are many of you out there who are working from home at your normal schedule. And that’s wonderful. But there are equally as many of you who are either a) working reduced hours, or b) not working at all. So for right now – until things go back to some sense of normalcy – I’m offering flexible pricing. I have lowered all of my regular prices in my store, I am working on a one-on-one basis with regards to commissions, and I’m even flexible on full payments. Basically, if you see something you like, or if you would like something done, please don’t let the idea of paying for art scare you. We will work together to come up with a plan – whether that’s a reduced rate, a payment plan, whatever it takes. If you want it, let’s make it happen.
My creation timeline: As I mentioned, I’m working from home. And just like at the office – sometimes we have some slow or down time. So in those moments, with my work email open, I can do a little more sketching during the day. When I’m not commuting, I free up about an extra hour or so each day for art. And with almost all social activities being canceled (and the ones that still remain are done via Skype calls or video chat) I’m home a lot more. The only reasons I’m leaving the house these days are for doctor appointments and necessary house-buying appointments. So if you have something you’re looking to order, or you see me working on something that you know you will want, keep in mind that it will be finished significantly faster than normal.
My shipping timeline: While the creation timeline may be moving faster, the shipping timeline is not. The post offices are open, and yes, all of my shipping labels are printed at home. But at our apartment, we do not have regular mail pick up. We have to either drop things in the mailbox on the corner (not ideal for artwork shipment) or take them to the post office. We live only a few blocks away from the post office, but ours is a very busy location. In order to minimize interaction with people, I have made the decision to visit the post office as infrequently as necessary. At most, I will be dropping off packages once per week. Most likely on Friday mornings. So let’s say I visited the post office on Friday morning. Later that Friday, you ordered something from my store. This means that while yes – your order will be shipped – it will not be dropped in the mail until the following Friday. This will be the case for all orders unless we have discussed and agreed otherwise. I’m doing my part to not only avoid those who may be sick, but avoid any chance of infecting others in the rare case that I am carrying this virus without knowing.
My payment methods: Normally, I am 100% okay with having checks mailed to me, cash dropped off in an exchange, etc. However, right now I will only be accepting electronic payment. This means via PayPal, Zelle, Stripe card reader, etc.
In addition to these larger changes, there will also be smaller changes in my creation process. More wipe downs of surfaces in between projects, better precautions while packaging, limited contact with humans other than myself, etc. I want every one of you to stay healthy, to follow the guidelines of the CDC, and to stay as stress-free as you are able. I know in times like this, art is not a vital need. But for many of us it is absolutely a wonderful escape. Art helps, art heals, and I hope that by doing my thing, I am helping & healing. Hang in there, guys – this won’t last forever!