Monday, September 1, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Kauai Artist

Happy Monday!  Welcome to another edition of Artist Spotlight.  This week the spotlight is on Marionette from Kauaiartist. Marionette beautiful paintings feature tropical flowers, plantation cottages, Kauai landscapes, Hula, turtles, roosters and more.  Here is one of her beautiful paintings:

Tell us a little about yourself and your creative business.

I am a full time artist living "the dream" on the beautiful, tropical island of Kauai in Hawaii. My art studio, Painting Paradise, is located on the island’s sunny west side. It is both my teaching location as well as the place where I create and produce my Etsy paintings and prints. I teach watercolors, acrylics, pastels, silk painting, encaustics, Chinese brush painting, and am now experimenting with alcohol inks on YUPO paper.

How did you get your start?

I am a Michigan native, but in 1992 I took my first vacation to the island of Kauai and knew I would move there some day to pursue my art career full time. I just fell in love with the colors of the islands. I started painting watercolors featuring such flowers as orchids, birds of paradise, and hibiscus from the reference photos I took while on vacation. I sold my first original painting at a local coffee shop and have been hooked ever since.

In 1999 I opened a small studio in Michigan where I was a weekend artist while I was still working at my day job in the chemistry field. I also took lots of art workshops and studied with my fellow artists in the community. In 2004, I finally quit my full time job and made the move to Hawaii after lots of planning and preparation.

In 2007 I opened up Painting Paradise to teach art and then started selling on Etsy in 2008 after a good friend encouraged me to join. It has all been a wonderful experience!
Where do you get your inspiration?

The inspiration for my art comes from all around this breathtaking island of Kauai. Kauai is also known as the Garden Isle as it is a truly lush, tropical paradise. We are surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean with it's amazing sea creatures. The mountains are emerald green and are home to the wettest spot on the Earth, Mount Wai'ale'ale. Tropical flowers bloom all year long. Need I say more?
What has been your biggest successful moment so far?

I was contacted here on Etsy by a designer from Victoria's Secret to do a commission painting of a plantation cottage on the beach for their swimsuit collection featuring artists from Hawaii. I was so excited to ship that painting to their headquarters on Broadway! If it wasn't for Etsy, they probably never would have found me.

What challenges do you face selling online?

Selling online has been great! I have sold all over the world to people who have been to Kauai or who just love my art. It is a great venue and definitely gives me more exposure than if I just sold at my brick and mortar gallery. In fact, I often have people who are on vacation visit my art studio who first saw my work here on Etsy. The biggest challenge for me selling online is usually shipping the larger paintings. I have started using UPS to pack and ship the large ones and that seems to work very well.

What advice would you give someone just starting out on Etsy?

If you are just starting out on Etsy, then make it a goal to have at least 50 items in your shop. The more items you have, the more key words people will have to search and end up in your shop to buy something. I see shops all of the time with just a few items complaining that they aren't selling anything. I found that once I had over 200 items in my shop, my sales really started to take off.

If you look at the most successful shops here, you will see the connection between lots of choices and lots of sales. It just makes sense. If you go into a brick and mortar store and only see a few items, you would possibly think, "Are these guys serious?" But, when you go into a store and there are hundreds of items to choose from, you will do some shopping and probably leave the store with a purchase.

My other advice is to give great customer service and to do lots of marketing on social media. You have to tell people that you are selling something. It's just that simple. If they know about it...they will come!
Want to see more of Marionette?
Thank you Marionette for sharing your story and your beautiful artwork with us. 
Next week we'll select another Etsy artist to spotlight.  If you are interested please contact Zoica or myself via Etsy convo.
Thanks for stopping by...
Until next time,

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