The start of a Journey:
Amongst the cool things I post about my shop, I'd love to begin writing about how I put this shop together and why. Hopefully it will be a fun account of things to look back on and maybe help new people starting out with their own small business.
In this post I'll give you a bit about my background and how I got here:
I'm Jamie Noble Frier, founder of Geekings Cards. I'm a board game and book cover artist, and I've even designed, illustrated and published my own game. I plan on doing more.
I've been a professional artist for almost ten years now. I started out in video games, but as the stability of jobs in that industry seemed so wavering, I figured I'd have as much stability going solo. So I went freelance, and I've never looked back. I wanted to work towards "making my own thing". I loved video games, particularly PC games, particularly turn based video games (see where this is going?). I knew that board games weren't just Monopoly and Cluedo (or Clue of my American readers), but I didn't know they went much past the variations iterations of Risk... until I began to get really addicted.
Board games seemed like a natural progression for me as an artist. I'd already started freelancing as a book cover artist, as it only needed me to produce. Not like my career in video games, which needed coders, 3D modelers, a (mostly unnecessary) tiered management team...
Board game art was just the same, and the independent market was growing with Kickstarter. Soon enough I was producing artwork for tabletop board games and roleplay games. Not Dungeons and Dragons just yet, but smaller indies that are still popping up now.
Seasons Grim Things
Before I released my own game though, I was looking for other opportunities to sell my artwork. I settled on making my own greetings cards, and used board game favourite platform, Kickstarter to release Season's Grim Things, my creepy-cute Christmas card range.
I gathered just over 100 people to get involved, and it acted as a learning experience for my future Kickstarter campaigns.
Hero Master- Critical Fail greetings cards
By this point I had done a lot of fantasy artwork, and I had an idea for a Dungeons and Dragons parody comic strip. I figured there was a gap in the market for geeky greetings cards, and Hero Master was born. The art style started as my kind of "breakout" doodles, when client work felt a bit heavy, but then I began to come up with short anecdotes and stories to go along with my illustrations.
They were about the worst heroes in the land, played by the worst RPG players.
I finally began to feel like I had a bit of a brand and a series of products. I ran another Kickstarter for the cards, and put these in the "Tabletop Games" section, as they are related to RPG and tabletop games. I was so worried I even got permission from the guys at Kickstarter to do so! The Kickstarter went well, and I now had a couple of ranges of cards. I wanted to find somewhere I could sell them... and Etsy was my starting place.
Etsy is really powerful for small businesses selling products. It warrants it's own blog post so I'll discuss Etsy next time.