Speaking to Sandra about how the business side of being an artist came about.
So, Sandra, how did your business come about?
Since 2010 I have sold my original paintings of birds through art galleries across the UK and online to the USA but I was aware that many people couldn’t afford original art and if I want to get my work out to others then I needed to find another medium. Around this time I was approached by Edinburgh Arts who wanted to publish my work as artist prints and greeting cards. This fitted my desire to bringing my work to a wider audience. More people can afford a print than an original, and even more can afford a card.
Then I was approached by a friend who wanted to put one of my designs on the splash back for her cooker. The idea of bringing my art into peoples homes in alternative ways to framed art appealed. I then started putting some designs on mugs. I started with 4 bird designs – long-tailed tits, starlings, swallows and chaffinches. The business really was built from a those 4 mugs.
I initially had 60 mugs printed, with the profits from those few I bought more and so on. I added some textiles to these, and then tableware. In 2017 I registered Sandra Vick Ltd as a gifts and homeware company. Since then the products have developed. I’ve added information cards to each product sold with an interesting fact about the bird in the design. This means that my artwork is going into more homes, and the information is there to gradually teach people about different birds. I now have people send me photos of birds asking me to identify them – or confirm their identification which I love. The cards also have a small drawing of the bird on them as an added bit of art for each purchase.
So from a few mugs sold to friends, the company has expanded to over 30 products and designs. Each product is packaged in recycled and recyclable packaging, comes with a card to tell you about the bird that is depicted. They are sold worldwide through my online website and amazon as well as through shops across Europe.
We’ve doubled our turnover within our second year of trading and we’ve traded over half of that in the first 4 months of this year. I’m also delighted that my art publisher is now selling my products too. It’s great to be able to bring art and nature into people’s homes at an affordable level as well as through original art.