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About opening a geeky webstore vol #1

Posted by Jamie Noble Frier on

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?

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

Etsy is really powerful for small businesses selling products. It warrants it's own blog post so I'll discuss Etsy next time.