Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 Year in Review!

Every year at this time I look back at my business and reflect on what has happened, record some of my business' growth and milestones, and think about the year ahead! Here's what happened in 2018!



January is usually when I start big projects, having completed the busy Christmas season and having some time before the spring/summer rush. I spent much of January and February really diving head first into painting realistic Jewelry. I also added a ton of new bling to the shop! February 1st also marked the release of the spring issue of Wet Paint Magazine!

March is when I completed my new book "Jewelry for Face & Body Artists," and began shipping copies all over the world!

In July I got to do a really fun "Finding Nemo" themed belly painting! I LOVE painting bellies, though don't do nearly as many as I'd like to! So, every one is really special and I always document them on my blog!

August is always a busy month with face painting gigs, but it now also starts off with the release of the fall issue of Wet Paint Magazine! Every magazine is a true labor of love. August is also the month when I work at a county fair, and this year was my 21st year in a row working county fairs...the last 6 have been at Carver County in Waconia, MN! It wasn't my most profitable year, but a good and fun one nonetheless!

In October I held one of my Realistic Eyes workshops here in MN! It was a really great chance to share the class I taught in 2016 in Belgium with some local artists, just in time for our Halloween gigs! I also had the immense honor of traveling back to Belgium to teach at the 10th anniversary edition of the Jamvention! It was such a great time that I'm STILL working on the blog post recap of that...I'll be sharing that very soon so stay tuned!

November 1st marked the release of the winter issue of Wet Paint Magazine, and the end of my first full year of circulation! While Wet Paint is a huge amount of work for me, it feeds so many of my passions...face and body art, writing, graphic design, photography, and sharing inspiration and instruction! I'm excited to see where Wet Paint goes in 2019! I also realized a long time dream in November with the release of my new stencils, Step it Up Stencils! I spent nearly an entire year fussing with a Silhouette machine, only to find that it simply does not have the cutting force needed to make stencils with the thickness and quality I desired. So, I bit the bullet and invested a huge amount of money in a Silver Bullet machine, made 100 stencils to donate to the Jamvention's swag bags, and released them to the public in November!

December is always jam packed with Christmas gigs, and 2018 did not disappoint! I also was able to convince my sweet 10 year old to let me paint another ugly Christmas sweater on him for my Christmas cards. He did an awesome job, and we even won 2nd place in Paintopia's annual ugly Christmas sweater competition! To top off the year, just before 2019 began I received a copy of Lake Minnetonka Magazine in the mail which featured my business, with several full color spreads including wonderful photos of my boys! We had a great time going downtown Minneapolis the month before for a professional photo shoot, and needless to say, they were pretty excited to see themselves in print! Now if only I could convince them that Mom's magazine is just as cool...haha!

Over the past year I've hosted jams I believe every month except July and August, but this year we also did a couple "Gem Jams!" These were super fun and have gotten me really into making gem clusters.

I also spent countless hours putting together proposals and sending in applications for two concepts for booths at the Minnesota State Fair! Word on the street is that there is no way for any face painters to get into the fair as there is one small booth in the kids' ride area that somehow has exclusivity. Of course being that the MN state fair drew over 2 million visitors in 2018, there is plenty of business there, and a huge untapped market for teens and adults, but time will tell whether more MN artists will get an opportunity to showcase their talents at their own fair!

I'm constantly adding new products to the shop, but this year I took on a couple new vendors/brands: Art Factory and Superstar paints! Stay tuned for more new items to fill our shelves in the coming months!

What a great year it was!!

Here are some of the articles I published on my blog this year:

The Value of a Sketch
4th of July Inspiration
What's so special about Paintertainment?
Approaching Events that use Craft Paints on Skin

I also of course published a LOT of great articles in my monthly e-newsletters...download those here!

What's to come in 2019?

In February I am super excited to be speaking again at the Minnesota Family Artists and Entertainers Business Conference in St Paul, put on by the one and only Lori Hurley! Those of us who live in the Twin Cities are SO fortunate to enjoy a wonderful and supportive community of artists, and this conference is like an awesome convention concentrate...short talks with just the good stuff from so many amazing local talents to help grow our businesses! The topics are literally tailored to what the attendees want to hear about, so there is no wasted time or money in attending.

I really have a head full of ideas for more Step it Up Stencils, so my hope is to develop, cut and release more designs this year!

I'll of course continue putting out Wet Paint Magazine as long as I have an audience that enjoys them! (And maybe regardless, as I enjoy them so much myself!)

Over the past year I've gotten more and more requests for workshops, so I'd like to get a couple more of those on the calendar. I haven't yet taught my Realism workshop in MN so may do that, and would love to teach my jewelry workshop from Belgium more around the US as well!

I have another technique based book that I started a while back but put on hold to create my Jewelry book, so I might re-visit that one, but will see how the year goes!

I always want to do more writing, but also want to do more YouTube videos this year!

I'd also love to just paint more...while I like the freedom of not HAVING to paint every single day, I do miss the creative outlet I had when I did a 365 day painting challenge in 2017. So, I've signed up to participate again in the Inspiration to Paint Facebook group for the month of January! I won't do it every month just because I can only be stretched so thin, and want to keep it fun and not become a chore, but am looking forward to a fun month of painting and sharing!

In my dreams...

I always have a few lofty goals, though not entirely unattainable...in 2019 I'd really love to teach at and/or attend at least one convention in the US. The Jamvention has spoiled me a bit, as they cover ALL expenses of all their instructors, and even if they didn't, flying there and attending their convention is cheaper than any in the US, but there are so many artists I really would love to meet, and would also love to enter a body painting competition...someday!! Way down the road I'd love to try painting on a cruise ship...I'm already a vetted and approved artist who can go at any time, but since they've changed the rules on bringing kids with you, I may not be able to until my kids are adults, unless I go it alone or leave them home with grandparents. Sigh...that one will have to remain lofty for a while!

I hope you all get a chance to look at your past year as well, and make some plans, hopes and dreams for the new year too! It doesn't matter if you reach them all...the important thing is to have goals to work towards. Happy new year, and happy painting!!

-Gretchen






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