02: Twitch, Burnout, and Manufacturing Fun with Glitchberry

02: Twitch, Burnout, and Manufacturing Fun with Glitchberry

Posted by Nicholas Ribera on

Madame Berry and I discuss how to find an audience, retain them, engage with them, and making organic sales through community interaction.


You can listen to the episode here (or wherever you listen to podcasts) or read the transcript below:

Introduction:

Chain Assembly: In this episode, we talk to Madame Berry of GlitchBerry.com. We go through a bunch of topics including building your site, and different ways to interact with your audience through all the different social media channels. But what I specifically want to talk about is my site and what I'm using currently. 

I have Shopify which I've been on for the last couple of years and I pay $39 a month for it. I don’t remember the name of that level, but one of the biggest benefits is it gives you access to discounted shipping rates. And if you're going to be shipping a lot of things, which I do, for example, anytime I have a Kickstarter project that I need to fulfill, those discounted shipping rates are definitely worth it. If you're looking at UPS, for example, it could be 80% off the retail price of going into a UPS store.If you're looking at just regular United States postal service, it could be 20% off. So it varies on what the discount is, but it is absolutely worth the $39 a month. 

Apart from that, it also gives you access to a lot of great tools such as the ability to create collections, which each have their own designated web page. And that's something I specifically use for wholesale orders. So what I have been doing lately is I'll go into a store with a couple of sample products and say, “hey, I'd love to get my products in your store, and I offer these all at wholesale pricing.” I give them a little card that I've printed all my contact information on, the website, chainassembly.com, slash, collection, slash, and then the wholesale page, and also a QR code to access that. And I write on the card coupon codes that they can use to give them a discount on any of the items that appear on that page. That makes it very easy for them to see what is available to them, even if I only walked in there to show them a few specific products. So the collections are great. I also use those for items that I have hanging up at local breweries or local cafes. Use them to kind of create little miniature online versions of an in-person gallery. 

Shopify also gives you wonderful tools to interact with your customers through email marketing. You can also organize Facebook ads through it. Overall, it's an incredible amount of tools, but you need to make sure that you are making at least $39 a month in profit that you can give up. So how does it compare to other tools? Well, I used WordPress as we discussed in our podcast with Madame Berry. That was really not useful for sales. It was just kind of me figuring out how I wanted to present myself in a digital manner, and I have not compared any of the other commerce tools out there.

But right now I'm very comfortable with Shopify and I plan on staying with it. A lot of the artists and companies that have online presences that I really adore are all built on Shopify. So it's definitely earned my respect and my loyalty. So with that in mind, let's now move over to our conversation with the amazing Madame Barry of GlitchBerry.com.

A Conversation with Glitch Berry

Chain Assembly: I am joined today by Madame Berry or Berry for short. Madame Berry, I found through TikTok. Initially, I was browsing TikTok just to see information about people who use Clip Studio Paint. And I believe that's probably how I first came across some of your videos. And I know you did a lot of art under the name Madame Berry for a while and recently switched over to Glitch Berry. But your stuff is amazing and I feel like you and I are pretty similar in that we're really into making products out of our art and not just selling the art as its own thing. So thank you so much for spending time to talk to me and hopefully we have a pretty great conversation which I know we will. It won’t be our first conversation so we have a little bit of practice going in. 

Madame Berry: Yeah thank you for having me. Awesome.

CA: So why don't you tell me a bit about, give me a quick description of where your business started, where you are now. 

Yeah, so like I said, like you said, I'm Madam Berry. I started, okay. So I started in the game development industry and I was working as a freelance pixel art animator and illustrator in the game industry and also working on my own games for a while. Burnt out super hard in 2018 and was like, I don't know if this industry is for me. So I started painting instead, because that was just what was bringing me joy at the moment. And I started selling my paintings and I slowly very gradually shifted to a more product based kind of brand. And I'm selling a lot less original art now, and a lot more kind of collectibles like keychains, pins and stuff like that. 

CA: Can you describe to me what burnout was for you? 

So for me, it felt like every time I would open, I was using Construct2 at the time to make my games, every time I would open that program, I would just feel this pit of like almost sickness. It was like this almost existential dread, even just thinking about opening the program and working in it. And it got to the point where I was like, I am running on empty. I don't know what I'm doing. I don't have any ideas that I'm excited about. And I don't know if I can like if this is sustainable. 

CA: I think I think I could see what you're saying. I'm not saying I don't think I would say I've identified anything specifically as detailed and as negatively as you described it. 

I mean, that's a good thing.

CA: Well, so I guess my kind of way to identify that is I had this idea a while ago to write a manual on how to self-publish tarot decks by finding manufacturers using Kickstarter, all that stuff. I was super gung ho for like a week filling out my Google doc. And now I find that I'm trying to find other projects to do instead of that one. So, um, do you feel like when you give yourself a timeline or give yourself a goal, it causes you to procrastinate. I don't know if you've have any correlation between arbitrarily set goals and how much work you complete to reach that goal.

I think it kind of depends. So I think for me, there's like different levels of burnout. I think in general, there's different levels of burnout. When it happened in 2018, when I was doing games, it was like just done, nothing that I could do llike no deadline that I could set, no like goal that I could set could bring me back up. For some stuff, I don't tend to like, no, I guess I do give myself deadlines, but it's more about like, I need this product to be out by like X time because it's seasonally related or I need to submit it to the manufacturer at a certain time. And I wouldn't say it necessarily motivates me, but like, it's there, I get it done. 

CA: I definitely get that sense from your art and your social media posts that, I don't want to say lackadaisical, but it's very relaxed atmosphere that you've built for yourself when it comes to creating your art and releasing your products. It's just very relaxing, almost ASMR watching your video, especially when you're just doing like the “pack and order with me.” I love those and that's definitely, I think that in itself adds to the brand and adds to the intrinsic value of the products and the brand that you make. 

I think I work very spontaneously. Like I have an idea and I need to complete the idea because the instant I'm no longer excited about the idea, it's like, well, that's over. 

CA: I can see that. Yeah. So tell me a bit about the branding shift. Because you recently went from Madam Berry to Glitch Berry. What did that entail? What was difficult? What was easy? 

Well, I still personally go by Madam Berry, so it wasn't like a whole brand shift where like I'm changing my username on every website and you know everything is changing. It was more a comfort thing whereas I transitioned away from making traditional art personal paintings to more of the like, collectible-themed artwork, kind of like Y2K vaporwave-themed artwork. It felt weirder and weirder to me to continue operating my store as Madame Berry. Like as that part felt more like a brand, it felt weirder to have this like, specific personal honorific, like specifically the word “Madame” in the name of the shop. So I was like, it's gonna be a lot easier for me and feel a lot more comfortable for me if I continue going as Madame Barry online and I just own a brand. 

CA: Okay, so I, yeah, that makes total sense. I follow every step of that. So what about logistically? What did that rebranding require? 

I mean, there were graphic changes. I opened new social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, I have not changed my TikTok over yet. I'm literally still deciding whether or not I want to change my name on TikTok to ShopGlitchberry because Glitchberry is taken everywhere. So I've used ShopGlitchberry on Twitter and Instagram. I don't know about TikTok that's still up in the air, but it was kind of scary starting over social media effectively from zero, but it's there's a little bit more comfort in the fact that I am still operating my personal social media on Twitter and Instagram, and I can cross-promote over there. So it was like social media I created, new graphics and everything, and then the new website. 

CA: So the new website is a great thing to bring up because I think it looks gorgeous. And I know you recently switched to Shopify from WooCommerce. That shift was different. Was there something that you expected to be in Shopify that wasn't there or vice versa?

I think I expected Shopify to be easier to set up because it's so popular and so many people use it. But I was on support or I was on chat with support like three days out of every single week when I was setting this up, I was like, hey, why are my shipping settings weird? Hey, why is the address in my billing address settings that two people have told me will be private and never shown publicly. Why is that showing in like five different public places? Please help.

CA: I do remember seeing that TikTok video about that. And I remember thinking, oh, I should double check that on my store. I still have not double-checked that. 

Oh, I ended up taking that video down because it ended up getting a lot more negative attention than I was intending. But I left up video up with the solution, which is literally just to get a PO box or some other virtual mailbox and put it in the billing address settings, which I have anyway because I don't want the return address on my packages to be my mailing or my home address. 

CA: I mean, well, my LLC is already listed at my mailing address, so the information's out there, but that's not the same as putting it on every package I ship. But I also have a lot of my items that are stored in a warehouse. So the return label on those come from the warehouse. So what else about the shift from WooCommerce to Shopify did you notice? 

Well, it's run on WordPress. So WordPress content management system, blog system, primarily, but WooCommerce is the e-commerce add-on for WordPress. So If you're familiar at all with the WordPress backend, that's basically what it looks like. It's, there are a lot of settings because it's not just like your shop settings. You also have all of your website settings, all of your blog settings, and everything in there. And the thing is some WordPress themes are not set up to support WooCommerce. Like mine, I love the appearance of my WordPress theme. But it's not set up to support WooCommerce. So I had to add a lot of plugins to support WooCommerce. That's the other thing actually, Shopify, since everything is e-commerce focused, I didn't have to add that many plugins. 

CA: Yeah, it's pretty amazing what things Shopify can do natively, like all of the interaction with your mailing list and social media marketing that you can do from within the platform. I've barely scratched the surface of that. But I am impressed with all the things that are in there natively. So the first site I ever built was, I guess, the first thing I ever built was like Dreamweaver 2.0, whatever, way back in the Macromedia days. But no, I mean, I guess as a Chain Assembly entity, the first thing I did was on WordPress. And I spent so much time learning WordPress, but I feel like you and I are probably similar in that we'll spend a year learning how to use a platform, and then a year after that, you'll never touch that platform again. Because learning how to do it is the fun part, even if it's totally useless. But with WordPress specifically, I did set up a site, and I kind of got to the point where I felt like no matter how good I got this site looking, it's always going to look janky because it's WordPress. Maybe not to most people, but to people who can identify WordPress, I kind of felt like I'm sending them a signal, letting them know that I didn't want to spend the money to be on Shopify. 

So Shopify, I felt like I had more customization with my WordPress site than I do with Shopify. And like, I look at a lot of Shopify stores, just because I follow a lot of artists, and I'm like, Oh, I want that. And a lot of people are on Shopify. And I have come to very easily recognize when a Shopify store is a Shopify store. I don't know, there's just some like, something about the aesthetic that is a huge tell for me. 

CA: I know what you're saying. So I recently actually bought a paid theme rather than using one of the free themes. And as I made the decision to actually buy a paid theme, I was browsing all these themes. And now I realize that just about every online store is Shopify. I bought a couch recently. That store was Shopify. And it's just funny how I recognize it as Shopify, but I also recognize it as a good platform. Maybe I'm just being unnecessarily mean to WordPress. But like the fact that I can recognize it isn't a negative thing for me when it comes to Shopify. 

Yeah, I think Shopify is a well-trusted platform whereas WhoCommerce is like, I built this in my garage. 

CA: One thing I do wish I could do, is I've got the whole Adobe suite. So I wish I could just design a page in Dreamweaver and upload it to Shopify, but it uses its whole own coding system. 

Yeah, you have to learn liquid or whatever. Do you know what I hate? This is like a complete tangent. My pet peeve is when a platform uses a common coding language but then modifies it. So I experienced this in game dev with Unity because Unity uses a modified version of JavaScript. But it's different enough that you have to like learn a new language basically. And I'm just like, just use JavaScript. It's like, don't use, don't make me learn liquid, just use HTML. Like we have this already. 

CA: So, so back to kind of how you started where it was more original paintings and prints. I'm curious because your focus is more on like accessories and art-related items. Do you still sell prints and if so, how well do they do for you? 

I don't currently sell prints, mostly because when I was selling prints, nobody bought them. 

CA: Well, that's something I've definitely noticed too. Like I'll sell plenty of prints at a market when people can hold them in front of them, or they'll come into my booth, see a large piece, and then they'll say, I want that, can't afford that, I'll buy a print. It's really hard to sell a print through an online platform. The presence of it isn't really felt. 

And the other thing that I was noticing was that a lot of people were like, oh, I love that, but I don't have space on my walls. Or I have a friend who is currently in the military and can't put anything on their wall. And so they were like, I would buy this if it was on something that I could use, like a shirt or a tote bag or something material that like has a function. So that's kind of where I started adding more functional items into my store. I mean, key chains are barely functional, but they're functional. It helps you identify your keys. 

CA: So what process do you go through to, I guess, source these products? Which ones do you make at home? Which ones do you outsource? How do you find vendors? Tell me a bit about that. 

So things that I can make at home are like prints. And stickers and I was recently experimenting with refrigerator magnets. Unfortunately, I don't think that one's gonna work out because my cutting machine does not like magnet paper. 

CA: I saw that TikTok too. Do you use a silhouette or a Cricut? 

A silhouette. 

CA: Okay. I've got a silhouette three. 

I think I have the Cameo four and I bought a deep-cut blade and the deep-cut blade was like, I don't know. This is half the depth that I'm supposed to be able to cut, but I can't for some reason. 

CA: I really wish the silhouette cameo was as easy to use as I feel like it should be to use, but I screw up so often on just simple things like card stock. 

So those are the things that I make at home or stuff that I can like print out on a paper-like object, paper or sticker paper or whatever, for everything else. Pretty much, I either go print on demand for my apparel or I outsource through a company like VoGrace or I've joined some group orders for other companies. Group orders are great if you're just getting started because you can submit a small quantity of items and not have to worry about like the $30 shipping charge from China because you're splitting that $30 shipping charge with like seven other people. 

CA: Wow, $30 sounds like a very desirable price for the things that I'm getting orders from China. 

I mean $30, that's like, I'll order like 100 keychains or something like that, or however many pins that I ordered. And that was $30. But yeah, it can add up. I was going to get some mousepads made, but the shipping for that, just the shipping would have been $80 and I was like, I don't know if I can $80 for mouse pads that I specifically want, but I don't know if anybody else wants. 

CA: I know exactly what you mean. I often just browse Alibaba to get ideas. And I saw this one mousepad manufacturer that made the ones that had the wrist guard that looks like boobs. And I was like-

Yeah, those are the ones I was thinking. And so I was like, oh, man, I could probably sell 10 of these. But like the minimum order quantity is 100. And like there's no way I'd be able to sell 100. 

CA: So I did reach out to another artist who does also like thick-women art and to see if he'd want to be a part of that. And he's like, “not at this time.” So I basically just kind of ignored that. Maybe you and I will do it together so that we don't have to do as much. 

Yeah. Put together a booby mouse pad group order. 

CA: So you mentioned that the acrylic charms lately have been your best sellers. Are those made by? What was it in Vogue, you said? 

VoGrace. 

CA: Tell me, I've never heard of that company. Can you tell me about that one? 

Actually, a pretty popular company, especially within like the anime merch, like fan art community, because they have very low minimum order quantities and their acrylics are pretty good. Like sometimes you'll get some mistakes and they're pretty decent about correcting those, but like there are Acrylics specifically are solid. I also recently got lanyards and washi tape through them, which are pretty good. I've heard horror things about some of their other items. I don't know if I would do enamel pins through them. They also make like pillowcases, which mixed opinions on. But they're very popular within the like anime, fan art, artist style-y community.

CA: So what kind of a minimum order quantity are you doing with those acrylic charms? 

I usually order about 10 of each, a little more, a little less, depending on what I predict something might sell. But let me actually double-check because their minimum order quantity is something like three. 

CA: Oh, wow. Wow. Yeah, it's really low. 

But then the shipping on that is like if you're ordering three charms from China.

CA: Um, do the charms come with a key chain and chain on them or? 

Yeah, they do. They have really cute charm options, actually. 

CA: I've ordered some of the acrylic charms from Sticker Mule and I did not like them. 

Oh, Sticker Mule key chains are awful. 

CA: OK, I'm glad to know it wasn't just me, because like I remember thinking that bad. Like I wish the edges were rounded, but they were just kind of sharp. And like I got it was just, you know, super cheap samples. And I was like, OK, I have these now. What do I do? 

Ordered them from Sticker Mule a couple of times for Patreon distribution, because they come really fast. Since they're made in America, they arrive within a week. But I hate them. A, they're printed one-sided. So like, the design scratches off and I've received keychains directly from them that have like holes in the print, where it's scratched off. 

CA: So the ones that you get from, again, I forgot it, In Vogue, those are printed double-sided. Do they have acrylic on both sides too? 

Yeah, they do. They have acrylic on both sides. You can get them single-sided or you can get them double-sided and you can actually get different prints on both sides. So what you have to do is you have to match the silhouette of the design up so that there are no bits peeking out through the other side, but you can get different. Designs on each side of the print. They come with two layers of acrylic and you can also get epoxy on top so you can get more of a rounded dome shape to your keychain. And then like, they're so cute. 

CA: So when I do markets on my booth in front of me, I have a big table, elevated table. And on that is an easel that I have a peg board on the easel. A bunch of little pegs come out and I hang my bookmarks from there. That would be a great place to put those types of charms because I get the bookmarks and enamel pins. Charms probably fit in pretty well there. It'll be a little cheaper than enamel pins for people who don't want to spend $10+. So it's good to see you have that set up, but I am also curious about your Patreon. So tell me how that works for you. How did you set it up? How much figuring out did you have to do before you got it to a place where you were happy with? It seems like you can noodle with it quite a bit. 

So my Patreon is weird because it started when I was doing game development and I was funding specifically for the game that I was working on at the time. And then I finished that game and then a couple of months later stopped making games entirely. And transition to art. So now my Patreon, there are tiers for digital downloads and the higher tiers are physical stuff. So you get stickers, you can get a print. And then sometimes I throw in other things like this month I'm going to throw in the refrigerator magnets, the ones that are like good enough to give to people but not good enough to sell. I'm just going to throw those in for free. Just like here, have this. Enjoy. Um, so I guess the things that I had to figure out were the logistics of shipping the physical items to the people that need them. And Patreon thankfully has a pretty good physical reward system. I don't know of any other subscription crowdfund things. Uh, like I don't know if like Kofi or What's the other one? Fan house. They don't have physical reward systems where you can request addresses. 

CA: This is a world that I barely know anything about, so I'm fascinated. So what does their distribution system look like on Patreon? I guess you can collect their addresses, but do they have discounted shipping rates? Can you print shipping labels through there? Or do you do all that stuff through Shopify? 

I do all of that stuff just by buying stamps and then sending a stamped envelope with the rewards in it because it's just flat items it's just a print and a sticker. So it's only like 60 cents to send the item because it's a stamp. Patreon does have a service where they will, I don't know if they make the item but they will ship it for you. I think you have to make above a certain amount on Patreon in order to do that. And it costs, I think, a subscription. I'm not totally sure about the details, so don't quote me on that. But it does either cost money, or they just deduct it from your Patreon balance before they send it to you. I don't use that, because I'm just sending stamped letter mail. And I don't make a whole lot on Patreon, really. 

CA: Do you feel that it's easy to retain a brand on Patreon? Or do you feel like you get kind of lumped in with other Patreon creators on the platform? 

I don't feel like I necessarily get lumped in with other Patreon creators because there's no like search function. I do think that of issues with Patreon in so far as the way that they allow or like force you into certain formats for your home page. And I don't feel like I get a lot of engagement on Patreon, like I'll put up a post, and I'll get like one guy, the same guy who comments on every single one of my posts, but it's just the same person over and over again. Because like, nobody wants to engage on Patreon. Because it's not a community platform. It's very hard to actually build a community on Patreon. So I found that I have, I don't, I only have one subscriber via Discord, but I enabled the Discord server memberships because Discord is a built-in community. Like that's, that's exactly what it does. It is all it does. 

CA: It's fascinating what you're saying about Patreon. So I've seen it from both ends, but I subscribe or a patron. I patronize. That doesn't sound right. I am a patron of three different things, I think. So maybe four. So, you know, they charge me monthly and basically so I can get extra podcasts or just because I like a creator. I never log in to engage with those communities. I have no interest in being part of those conversations. So I totally get that. And in my mind, I always picture myself as the typical consumer I'm marketing towards. So if I don't have an interest in engaging on Patreon, then I imagine my followers wouldn't either. Now that being said, I did run a Patreon for about 10 months last year, and it was very far from successful. I had one patron for about six months and then they left. They never engaged in any of my posts and I still kept fell feeling the need to constantly post updates and everything I was doing even though I was just screaming into an empty cave. What kind of obligation do you feel to engage with the community that's not engaging back with you on Patreon? 

So I try my best to keep patrons updated with like what's going on with their rewards. So I'll try to post when I finish a print that is that month's print. I should kind of structure this a little bit better. Every month patrons vote on a theme and then I draw a picture based on that theme and then for the physical rewards I send them a print of that picture the digital tier gets the phone and desktop background. So I do my best to post the digital version of that reward every month. I'll post a promotional image at the beginning of each month, which I don't think I did this month. Oops. And then I'll post, I try to post every time I mail out the rewards, I'll just do a quick text update that says, your rewards are in the mail. Keep an eye on your mailbox I have gotten progressively more and more lax with how often I post on Patreon over the years. I used to try to do weekly updates and then it became a monthly update on what I'm doing in the studio. And now it's just like, here's your reward, have fun. 

CA: So question- I'm curious about the prints you do. What sizes are those that usually ship out? 

They are four by six. So they're little mini prints. 

CA: Oh, gotcha, okay. I back a lot of Kickstarter projects and a lot of times I'll be supporting artists and stuff on Kickstarter projects and they'll always be stretch goals that include extra prints. So I got a whole bunch of prints from different Kickstarter projects that I'm never gonna hang, that I just kind of stack up. So I wonder, just curious how people are receiving these prints, what they're doing with them. 

I've seen a couple pictures where people have like those little pegboards. That they like tack stuff to and they're just like full. They're just like full of my prints and like other prints from other artists that they support and stuff. I know one person put them up on their cubicle, well the ones that they could put up because some of them are a little just a tiny bit spicy. But the ones that were like work appropriate they put up on their cubicle. I think some people just have them in folders in a drawer or something just like a pile. 

CA: Well, the reason why I'm kind of thinking of that is I feel like you and I are pretty similar in that we want to create products that have a use, maybe, like your post-it notes, for example, your beanies that you've made, patches. It's always fun when something is like elevating something that is otherwise utilitarian. You also mentioned how you've gotten more into like kind of product design since you were just more traditional art. I feel like if I had known in high school how much I love designing a product, designing a box, and designing packaging, I would have totally had a different career at this point. 

Honestly, I think the same. I always regret taking or not taking any of the like graphic design or advertising or product design courses when I was in college. 

CA: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I. My favorite part of designing a tarot deck is figuring out what the box is going to look like doing all of the layouts, you know, lining everything up to the bleeds, the margins, making 3D renders of it and being like, that's going to be in my hands in just two short months. I love that. So tell me a bit about what it's like engaging with your audience on TikTok, because I feel like you do that better than just about anyone.

I don’t do that better than anybody, but I kind of treat TikTok like a mini vlog. So here's the thing, I'm really bad at vlogging because I am not predisposed to like picking up the camera and filming whenever anything happens. And so like I'll work on something and I'll finish it and then I'll sit there and go, I should have filmed that. But with TikTok, it's a lot easier because I can just pick up my phone. So every time I have like a thought, I'm kind of just like Let me record that to my camera roll. And if I feel like it's a good enough thought, maybe I'll edit it and post it. I do enjoy replying to comments. I like talking, but in the introverted way. On my own time, I'll just tippy-tappy type. 

CA: Starting the conversation is tough, but engaging in it once it's begun is really fun and easy. So I don't post as much on TikTok as I should, but I've noticed that when I do post on TikTok, if I'm giving some useful information, there's gonna be tons of engagement, way more than any other platform. I feel like Instagram has become a complete waste of time for me. Like, and again, because I picture myself as the target audience and I spend time on TikTok, I don't spend time on Instagram. Which is weird, because you'd think Instagram would be great for a visual artist, but I don't feel like my images or videos are being delivered to people that would want to see them. But again, maybe that's because my volumes are lower. 

I feel like it's weird because you'd think Instagram would be great for visual artists, but I feel like Instagram is like the influencer platform, right? Where like, you know, beach vibes, girls are posting their outfits of the day or whatever. Like I don't know. That's the atmosphere that I get off of Instagram is like influencers. And then TikTok is just like, oh, no man's land. It's just anarchy. 

CA: Well, I feel like all these platforms are doing their best to show you what it thinks you wanna see. And I feel like TikTok does it better than the others. 

TikTok is scary good at like predicting what you want. It's like, you know me better than I know me and I have some things that I need to question about myself now. 

CA: I totally agree with that. It's also funny, too, when TikTok just like it gives you kind of it seeds one topic and then it's like, OK, they watch this video for more than 10 seconds. I'm going to start shotgunning an avalanche of videos about witchcraft. And you're like, well, I guess I'm a witch now. 

It did that to me with the new Zelda game, which I haven't played, but I watched one TikTok. About some stupid robot or whatever the guy built with the battery system in the new game. And it was like, you love this game, you're obsessed, you're new, this is…

CA: So are there any kind of projects you're working on now that you're slowly noodling your way through? 

I'm at a weird point where I just finished designing and submitting A ton of files to manufacturers for a new line of acrylic charms that are like very early 2000s nostalgia. And I'm like, well, I don't know what to work on now because I just finished this like the theme of stuff. 

CA: So in regards to that, I know your website does have a section for like kind of art themes. Do you find yourself creating art to those themes or creating art first and then deciding which theme to put it in? 

A little bit of both. So, for the most recent things that I've been working on, I definitely knew they were going to go into the Y2K theme section, because it's like those iMacs that are like the pinnacle of technology design with the transparent backing and everything, like the like real colorful ones. I forget what model they are. There are some like cassette tapes in there and one other thing I don't remember. Oh, floppy disks. So like that's all going in the Y2K section. But then I also have some like boba keychains, like you know, bubble tea keychains that I'm working on. I'm like, I don't know where those go. I have the section called Sweet and Strange is honestly kind of just the miscellaneous section. It's like it's cute and it doesn't fit anywhere else. 

CA: Is that where you have your strawberries with little butts on them? 

I think so. 

CA: Do you ever try and look at analytics to see which theme does better? Or do you think you're like you have so many different audiences you're serving? 

I'm actually not sure how to do that. Can you like, can you look at analytics of different collections and like compare them? 

CA: I would assume so. Again, there's so many things in Shopify I have not messed with. 

Yeah, I'm going to have to go through the reports and figure that out. I think that would, yeah. 

CA: Like, I know just based on the orders I see coming in and based on how quickly I go through my inventory, that's really how I look at things. But I'm sure there's also kind of- my site is really reduced to a small number of products. So I probably wouldn't have too many useful analytics in regard to what's doing better than others. But I imagine in situations where there are more products, you can track search terms. That'd be pretty helpful too, to see what people are searching for. Because I know a lot of people do that too, just looking at general search engine terms and try and build art to match those, to try and intercept those audiences. That just feels a little disingenuous to me. But if it is already someone in your audience, there's nothing wrong with serving the audience that already came to see your work. At least that's the way I see it. 

I don't like go and search for topics and trends. I have a YouTube video about like making apparel with your art, and it's really geared to people who have like made art, want to make products with it. Here's some ways that you can make products with it and like how to upload that stuff. And I got a comment on it that was like, how do you determine what trends you're going to make art for? And I'm just like, I don't. I make stuff, yeah, I make stuff that I'm interested in, and if I'm interested in it, I assume somebody else is. 

CA: I go by the exact same logic. If I think it's cool, someone else will. And my mom does not understand that logic at all. She's like, you need to paint more beaches, do more pretty stuff. You're in Florida. Paint seashells and mermaids. I'm just sick of the mermaids around here. Every artist has mermaid stuff in Florida. And it's a lot. 

I can imagine. There's an artist that I watch on YouTube called like Rafi Is Here Studios or something. I think they used to live in Florida, but they moved and they had the exact same commentary. It's like everything is beaches. 

CA: Speaking of that, what do you do to find new audience members? Or do you think they find you? And if so, how do you think they're most likely to find you? 

Uh, I so. I take it kind of like a content approach to that, so I'm on YouTube, I'm on TikTok. I'm on Instagram, technically. But especially for YouTube and TikTok. both of those are very like search-based kind of. So people are looking for stuff. I remember seeing a headline where more people, like more of Gen Z is using TikTok as a search engine than Google. So like people are looking stuff up on these different platforms. So I, especially on YouTube, try to target search and hope that like people who are looking for ways to do this, you know, XYZ will see my videos. And then like, it's kind of like the content funnel. Like they discover me and then, you know, we chat in either like the YouTube comments or they can join my Discord channel. And then I have, you know, community nurturing where we chat in Discord, I stream. Yeah, I think that's kind of the way that I approach finding an audience. I don't do things like Facebook ads or anything, mostly because I've tried and it never has gone anywhere. 

CA: Interesting. So your I guess your approach is you engage first. And if it turns into a sale, that would be great. 

Yeah, kind of. 

CA: OK. So it's funny. A couple of things you brought up, I'd want to touch on. First off, I totally agree with what you said about Gen Z. I don't think I think I'm a millennial. I don't know the rules. But my wife and I, anytime we have a question like, oh, how do you change an anode rod in our water heater? Or can you make a cafe con leche flavored tres leches? We're not gonna look on Google for that. We're gonna look on TikTok. Because if we do find a recipe on Google or through a website, we're gonna have to read through someone's three-page essay about growing up just outside of Havana before they actually get to the recipe. While on TikTok. 

Somebody's literal existential crisis. 

CA: Yeah, that led to them learning how to make a sugar cookie. And it's like, on TikTok, you're gonna actually get the recipe within three minutes. So I totally identify with that statement you were saying. Regarding advertising, I had got some limited experience with advertising because I run a lot of Kickstarter projects. A lot of times I will do a Facebook ad if I need to. And I've never put more than $50 into a Facebook ad. But what's nice is with Kickstarter, you can have a specific link to your project that you can tie into that Facebook ad. And just about every time, if I put $50 into an ad, it'll translate to over $50 worth of pledges. So nothing crazy, maybe $100 in pledges. But it's really nice seeing that that is actually actionable. How many people are clicking that and then how many people are converting that into a pledge to a Kickstarter project. So I think I have seen it is definitely valuable. But it's really only valuable, at least from my experience, if it is a very niche product, I'm trying to advertise like a horror theme tarot deck. If I had seen those like way more global appeal. I would need to put way more than $50 into a Facebook ad, I'm sure. I've also tried a platform called Bidvertiser, which I was told to use because it allows you to advertise things that have more adult and erotic-themed art, which I had my Facebook marketing account completely shut down because I submitted an ad for my erotic tarot deck. There was no nudity in the ad imagery. But they're like, this is an adult product where you're no longer allowed to submit ad requests. So that's it. 

Facebook is like real strict. I had a sticker. So I had a Facebook page that was linked to my Instagram so that I could tag products in Instagram. And I had a sticker that was like just a drawing of a woman holding a little dagger. And Facebook was like, this is violence. Okay.

CA: So tell me a bit about the Discord interaction. How... So I've also recently gotten into Discord, probably in the last four months, I made my first Discord account and I was immediately overwhelmed. But I think it's... Yeah. I think it's just because like the communities I've gotten into are huge. And what is your Discord channel server, whatever you call it, look like? 

So I hang on, I have, I can see how many people. So I have like 130 members in the Discord. So like in the grand scheme of things, it's a pretty small Discord. And like the community is pretty tight, but I get people sometimes from like my YouTube videos or from my streams who have discovered me on YouTube or Twitch. And then I have like the link in bio so that they can join the Discord. And we end up chatting there. I've structured my discord so that there's like two sections. There's like a creative section and a community section. And the creative section has like all of the different, I guess, mediums. And then the community section is just like random topics that we tend to talk about a lot. So I find that if a certain topic tends to come up a lot, I'll make a new channel for it so that it's not spamming the general chat all the time. But it's kind of just a little community space. 

CA: That's cool that you were able to bring all those people together without necessarily needing the intent to sell things, but still growing that organic camaraderie.

And then I have two things that I've set up. I have a notification squad. So it's this opt-in role that you can click a button to opt into it. And there's a channel called Berry Does Things. That every time I like go live on Twitch or I post a YouTube video or I post a Instagram post thing, it will say like at notification squad, here's a link to the thing that I'm doing. So people can use that to get notified of new videos that I've posted. And then the other channel that I have is just a news channel where I manually post things. So like, if I'm going to be at an event or if I have a new product launch, I can be like, hey y'all. Okay, so it's kind of like Twitter, but you have way more control over the themes, content, organization, and people are actually in your space that you have more control over rather than you just hoping it shows up on the front of their face. Yeah, I will say it's, you still don't have like total control because it's not something like a mailing list where if Discord shuts down, oh no. Right? But like if your mailing list platform is like, we're shutting down in a month, you can export all of your emails or all of your contacts. So like with a with a mailing list, it's a lot. You have a lot more control over it. 

CA: So speaking of mailing lists, do you have like a pop up on your site that asks people to join your mailing list? And if so, do you kind of give them any incentive? 

I used to have a pop-up, I don't have a pop-up anymore, and now I just have a little banner midway through the homepage and a like slash news page on my website. I do offer 10% off your first purchase, which is not a huge offer, but I've found that, like if I can make a coupon that does different percentages for different categories of products, it would be great. I did 15% off once and then I realized I was taking a loss on all of my apparel. It's like I don't want to mark the apparel up so much that it's inaccessible, but at the same time, it makes it kind of hard to do a sale. 

CA: Yes, I know exactly what you mean. I wish I could sell the I wish I could just like easily do everything, just a one dollar markup. But the problem is, I don't get enough of the print on demand orders to make it worth the margins being that low. 

That's kind of the problem with print-on-demand. If I could afford to get custom, I would love to do like fully custom, like cotton-sewn apparel. I have a bomber jacket idea that is not doable with print-on-demand. There's embroidery down the sleeves and a huge thing on the back. And I'm like, I would love to do this. I would love to find a manufacturer and do this. The quantity of stuff that I would have to buy and the storage space and everything would just be way too much. 

CA: So yeah, I so I had a similar idea. Like I wanted to design like so. I know these are huge in Florida. I don't know about where you are, but like floral print, Hawaiian shirts are all the rage here. And so I had a few designs I did as I sublimated baseball caps, and I wanted to do similar things as shirts. And kind of what I was looking into doing was just getting reams of fabric made maybe from spoon flour or somewhere overseas and then having local tailors sew them together rather than doing it in like a sweatshop. But then we're looking at like seventy dollars a shirt and nobody would buy that. So that's kind of the struggle. So I also wanted to ask you a bit about taxes. How do you in Ohio? where you are, I believe, do you have to pay sales tax? Or how is that organized? 

Yeah, so it's sales tax. Thankfully, it's based on the county that I live in, so I don't have to pay different rates for shipping around different places in Ohio. I haven't done an in-person event. I'm kind of gearing up for it. I have a spreadsheet of display materials that I need that I'm like slowly going down. But hopefully, I'll be doing in-person events soon. So I don't know how that's going to work with like selling in another county if I'm going to have to open another account for that. I do love that Shopify will tell you if you're close to reaching nexus in another state. Like that's one of my favorite features is that you have tax monitoring across the entire United States. 

CA: I guess I haven't gotten close enough to worry about that. I haven't gotten any alerts in Shopify. 

Yeah, I haven't either, but it's really neat to just like look at. And it's reassuring too. 

CA: In Florida, you don't have to pay sales tax if shipping is listed on, sorry, you have to pay sales tax on your sale. But you don't have to pay sales tax on the shipping price if it's a separate line item and you offer local pickup. So I have to add local pickup as an option on my website, which I'm fine also just doing free local delivery if you're within 50 miles. So I have that as an option in the shipping section. But when I do my sales tax, I can't just like go to the sales tax section. I have to export all the orders. And then I have a spreadsheet where I import that data and it automatically just separates the product sale from the shipping sale. Because I don't want to be paying my 7% tax on $10 for shipping. So I have it all automated in spreadsheets. So I have all that stuff pulled out. So last year when I vended at Origins, I stupidly paid Florida sales tax for all the sales I made. And I wish I could undo that, but because I did that, I normally in Florida for small businesses, you'd only have to pay sales tax every quarter. But once you pay over a thousand dollars in sales tax, you then have to start paying monthly. So as a result of me accidentally paying too much for my Ohio sales, I now have to do sales tax every month. Not fun. 

Oh no. Yeah, I pay monthly. I think I can opt into quarterly, but it is so much easier for me to remember an event that happens more frequently. And, oh, it's been three months. I hope I remember to do the thing that I did three months ago. So I've gotten, I mean, yeah, I actually agree with that. 

CA: The fact that I now do it monthly has forced me to be a bit more organized. So the first of every month, I download all my sales from Shopify. I export all of my reporting from Wave, which is the accounting software I use. And then I have a spreadsheet where I wrote down in cells like step one, copy and paste this data, step two, copy and paste this data. So I always follow that. Then it fills in all my numbers and then step whatever six it is. There's a link. I click on it. It goes to my sales tax website. And then I copy all the stuff from the spreadsheet into there. So I make it very easy. And since I started that profit-first system that I mentioned in our last meeting, I'm gonna try and get that author on this podcast, it's also kind of become the trigger of when I need to start paying money into my profit dividends and paying money into myself. Because I never really pay myself until recently. So let me ask you about that. Do you pay yourself? And if so, what does that look like? 

Yeah, I do. So it's funny because you mentioned that book and it actually yesterday I got a notification that it came off hold at the library. So I was like, OK, I'm renting that book, now about halfway through it. And it's funny because like I do a very pared-down version of what he describes. So I don't have like five different accounts, but I do use my Patreon payment notification as a reminder. So that's when I pay myself once a month. 

CA: Interesting. Yeah. I mean, before that book, I never paid myself. Everything I made just went back into me getting more products made, getting more coloring books printed, getting more hats printed, and buying better equipment around the house. And at a certain point, you have to ask yourself, like, why am I doing this if I'm not having fun with the money I'm earning? 

So. Right. Like it's like, why am I doing this if it's not benefiting my life at all, you know, if it's not letting me pay bills and do stuff. 

CA: So I think on that note, that's probably a good place to end the conversation, because we're both in the same boat where we could make money doing something probably more lucrative, but we just enjoy the process so much that we're artists. 

Mm hmm. 

CA: All right. Well, thank you very much, Madam Barry, for joining me. I just want to let everyone know where they can find you so you are as Madame Berry on TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, at Madame Berry and your website is glitchberry.com. I'm gonna put all those links in the show notes. Is there any events coming up or anything specific you're excited about that you want people to take a look at? 

Not until August. I think in August, I don't remember the exact date. It's like late, mid to late August. I'm gonna be uh, vending at BizBaz at home, which is a online convention. So it's like an online fandom convention. Um, it's got like contests and, uh, games and a, uh, artist panel and like everything that you would expect from an in-person convention, except without being shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of people who haven't showered in two days.

CA: That sounds great. That sounds like a lot of fun. I'll definitely share that too when that happens, you have more details on it. Yeah, it's fun. I've ended there once, and they host on Twitch, so you can just show up and watch on Twitch. Very cool. Awesome. Well, again, thank you so much for your time. It was great chatting with you, and I'm sure we'll be chatting again soon.

Outro

Chain Assembly: Art for Profit’s Sake is recorded through Riverside FM, edited on Adobe Audition, and distributed through Spotify for podcasters. The music is provided by Old Romans. If you found anything helpful, interesting, or useful in this podcast, please rate and review us 5 stars. If you want to learn more about Chain Assembly, head on over to ChainAssembly.com.

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