Annette Launches New Products

Bundaberg Region artist Annette Tyson was a participant in the CQ Shopfront project from early 2020. Last week I received a message from her with photos of her new product range that she is about to launch and I just had to share it with you!

Annette's story is a familiar one. She started painting about 12 years ago when her children had grown and she found more time.

Her passion is for watercolours and painting local birds. Through her work, Annette hopes to encourage people to look around them and enjoy the beautiful birdlife of the region.

Following her first exhibition - that sold out - Annette delved into merchandise.

"I realised that my work would sell on cards so I began using Vistaprint to print them. This enables people to enjoy a little piece of my work without too much expense. I plucked up my courage and approached the Bargara Post Office and Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery to see if they would sell by cards - and they did!" shares Annette.

"When Shelley began the Makers' Shopfront Project I felt this was a wonderful opportunity to learn about marketing, especially via social media (being a grey haired old lady, Instagram was a mystery to me) and also about business planning."

Annette attended the very first face to face workshop series in Bundaberg just prior to the pandemic being declared and followed through with webinars and finally the Makers' Shopfront Forum held in Bundaberg earlier this year.

"Workshops that Shelley organised enabled me to network with others and get more ideas. She brought along potential buyers such as Bundaberg Region Tourism. I have now successfully sold my cards and prints there."

Annette has continued to explore other areas where she can leverage her art.

"A young friend told me about Spoonflower and I thought it might be fun to put my art onto fabric. This has led to a whole new market for me - selling aprons and tea towels with my art featured on them."

Annette is selling this merchandise range through Artisan 4670 at Bargara and a gift shop at the Sunshine Coast. This year she also teamed up with Karen Panagis from Phunky Design to develop her branding and with a local sewer to produce the aprons and tea towels. This is something that we strongly support at Makers' Shopfront - doing the things you enjoy and finding the right people to help you get there.

Annette is aiming to develop a baby product range and a website over the next 12 months, as well as exploring the idea of selling through places like "Buy from the Bush".

These are some of Annette's pearls of wisdom gained from her journey:

Make sure you are doing what you love. Don't try and copy others because you think it will sell. People need to see what you are passionate about?
Research, network and experiment with your products. Not all your ideas will work but you will always learn something.
Use others who have more expertise than you in certain areas. It doesn't have to cost you a fortune. One really good Instagram and Facebook post occasionally, photographed by a marketing specialist, is worth it if you are not spending hours and hours posting when you should be creating.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Look around for different places you can sell.

Thanks for sharing your journey Annette. All the best with your future explorations!

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