22: Leveraging Instagram as a Sales Avenue with Nikita Rosalind

22: Leveraging Instagram as a Sales Avenue with Nikita Rosalind

Posted by Nicholas Ribera on

Nikita, a master of Instagram Stories, joins us to describe her journey through social media platforms to find a process that results in consistent sales and a jumping-off point for a growing art and apparel business.


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

A Conversation with Nikita Rosalind

Chain Assembly: CA This week on the podcast. I'm lucky enough to have the incredibly talented Nikita Rosalind with me. This is actually my first time meeting Nikita. Nikita was connected to me through my wife, who we both mutually know. I took a look at Nikita's incredible art, and I really had to have her on the show. So thank you so much, Nikita, for being a part of this.

Nikita Rosalind: Thank you so much for having me. It's so fun. I love. I love podcasts, and I'm ready. I'm excited to be on one.

CA okay. Well, is this your first time doing something like this?

NR Done podcast. But I am an avid podcast listener. I am. well, yeah.

CA Well, hopefully this will, I guess, be good enough to keep you entertained and want to listen to it when we're done. we'll sing.

NR It.

CA All right. Off the bat, one of the first things I want to do is thank you for playing the buttress on one of your recent Instagram videos. I love the buttress and nobody else listens to her music, so I was very excited to hear that. You've got the stems from Brutus part two on there.

NR What music is so important to me. I love using it and incorporating it with the videos, you know, It's really fun.

CA All right. So before we go deep dive deeper into that, I want to make sure the listeners have kind of a general sense of who you are and where you've been coming from. So I would start off by saying I generally would describe the art that you're doing currently as very wet, luscious acrylic paint. I want to say with maybe an airbrushed bass.

CA And it's a lot of just like kind of like I feel like it's a mix between like a custom shirt you'd get on a boardwalk versus like sexy, modern tattoo style. How would you describe what you're doing and how would you describe you ended up into doing what you're doing?

NR Well, yeah, I definitely started as a painter. I am 100% a painter and my art is definitely like wet. I think that is like a good description of it. There's definitely a lot of goofiness, color drips, lots of that, and I incorporate that in my shirts as well. The shirts is like my new baby right now, but I love creating my paintings is really what I want to do is just I follow that direction with the shirt.

NR So yeah, I mean, just tons of color. My waves is a big part of my work that you see a lot and the swirls and everything. So yeah, just lots of femininity I think too. Yeah.

CA So diving a bit deeper into that, you mentioned that you want to do more of the traditional paintings. So is that kind of like your ultimate goal in the shirts or just your current abstraction?

NR Yeah, I don't know. I just, I, I sort of just started making them and they caught on like, you know, it's something that the consumer can kind of embody the artwork and like where show off. That's why it sells. And that's what I love about it is that you can actually be the artwork, you know, that you can wear it and, and of course like the whole sustainability part of it, like I like fashion that's like not, you know, mass produced and things like that.

NR So yeah.

CA Well, so for the listeners they are like fully hand-painted paintings on a T-shirt generally. And you also do sweat pants and hats and things like that, right?

NR Yes. Yes, I do.

CA So it's I know I perse. No, sorry. Go ahead.

NR Sorry. I just I think what it is is that shocking to people? You know, I get the question like a hundred times a day, can you wash them? And you know that you can. They're very durable, but it's just something that people like. They're scrolling and they come across it and they're like, I've never seen this before. And it's something I can put on my body and go out into the world and and share with the world.

NR So I think that's why and I've just I'm like, all right. I love it, too. Let's go. Let's keep going with it. But I love you know, I mean, I want to paint them. The whole process of making the shirts is painting them, you know, And and that process of actually creating. So but I love my my I have tons of tons of other artwork, too.

NR And I'm ready for, you know, for showing my work as an artist as well.

CA So I know I personally am always in this kind of this push and pull relationship with the quote unquote traditional art world. Like, I feel like I need to be respected, so I need to hang in a gallery, but then also I make hardly any money from doing that. And it becomes such a big portion of my my mind space to apply to shows, to drop off pieces, to pick up pieces, worry about printing, framing, all that stuff.

CA And I feel like all of that does not translate to sales for me, The things that are making sales for me that I am getting joy from don't necessarily translate to what I feel is something that other people respect me for, which is a really weird place to be in. It's like, I don't need fine art, but I also still want it.

CA Do you kind of feel anything like that because you're doing so well with the I mean, not that the T-shirts are not fine art, but it's it's not traditional.

NR It's not traditional. And like, that's where I'm like, trying to always balance it out. You know? I'm always, like, trying to think about, okay, like for for for instance, my social media, like, you know, I'm like, I don't think anyone takes me seriously as like the fine artist or whatever that really means. Again, like, I like love doing shows, but I kind of pick and choose what I want to do with with the fine art and galleries and things like that.

NR And yeah, it's like much harder to sell, you know, a big painting versus like, you know, something a little smaller, of course too. So I yeah, balance trying to balance it out is what I'm always trying to do. Like and you know, I mean if someone doesn't take me seriously and I'll I'm not mad now. Yeah that's you know.

CA Very good point In the end of the day, at the end of the day, if you are making a piece and selling a piece and using that money to live your life, then that's a win.

NR So yeah, love it. Having a great time.

CA So in regards to that, I know you have really succeeded in the world of social media marketing, so how regularly do you sell a piece through the Instagram feed or the Instagram posts or videos? I, I don't know. I started that sentence in a way that I couldn't really finish. But I think, you know what I'm trying to get at.

NR To start it all off. I think, like you said that I start in the videos in 2020 when I found Tik Tok, you know, of course, like everyone did, and I think the pandemic scrolled. That's what we did. And we were like, This is so fun. I don't know. I didn't know what I was doing, but I started then.

NR And at that time I had a studio in my house and which I don't anymore. So that's good. But I, I started making the videos on Tik Tok and then they started to catch on. And then I moved over because then Instagram started with the videos because they were like, Tik Tok is like where it's at. And so they had to make the videos.

NR And the videos do really well because again, someone can see the their piece being made, which is so fun for me to make the video and it's like the whole other creative process with it. And then they can have that video forever of their piece that they they bought or, you know, they can see it forever and it's just lives forever in the Internet world and, and then you can, you know.

NR Yeah. So I sell a lot from that. I kind of try to post every single day. That's like what the algorithm says is it's good. And I never really try that, just kind of like I was like, I have so many ideas, I have so many videos I just got to post. I don't want to post too much, you know?

NR So the everyday thing worked for me and yeah, so I definitely get the, the views from social media like to my website to make a sale.

CA So if you were to kind of I guess, describe a typical schedule for you in the studio, like what hours are you working on preparing a video? What hours are you working on working on paintings and filming that? Is it like going to happen regularly? Like I always like dedicating 8 to 9 a.m. to posting videos, I'm dedicating 3 to 4 p.m. to editing videos.

CA Is it that structured or is it just kind of like as the needs arrive.

NR While I'm at the studio during the week? Usually I'm at my other job on the weekends, so I have a designated time at studio, which is really helped me focus like having that time outside of my house here at the studio. I'm like, I'm here. I'm focused, you know, I have only a certain amount of time, so that makes me even more like, I want to get here.

NR I'm like crazy. My energy is like wild. When I get here, I'm like making stuff as soon as I walk in the door. Same thing with the So the the social media just like, fits in to my creative schedule. So I do I'm not like a like I'm and I do shipping and everything too when I'm here. So I'm like do everything all by myself.

NR So I do the my website right my shipping out, my orders and everything. All here, all within, I don't know, 4 hours maybe. So I'm like, I don't know where I get the energy, but like, when I'm here, I'm like, it's something to do with my creative energy. It just like, gets me. I'm just nonstop. So I'm not the type of person to take a day like, I'm just going to do this in one day.

NR I it's too that's too structured for me. I have to do like 15 things at one time, pretty much like I make myself like crazy. That's just how I like to work. And then when I'm usually off, sometimes I am doing social media stuff at home, you know, all my off hours. But most of the time I try to like if I'm not here, then I'm not really doing it.

NR So it it keeps the balance for me.

CA that's, that's really interesting. Yeah, I guess. I've been working from home as an artist for years, so I don't really have the ability to shut off. And I do rely on my wife to tell me to shut off.

NR Yeah.

CA And so, like, you know, before we were together, I would be work until like 2 a.m. and be like, my God, what's going on? And so I am jealous of that. And that also kind of reminds me of something I heard from another artist. I spoke to an early episode, Mark Williams. He mentioned that he appreciates the drive into the studio because he uses that as an opportunity to basically plan out his day.

CA Yeah, that sort of like that's kind of the benefit of having a studio in your regard too, right? So can you tell me a bit about your process of moving out of your house into a studio space?

NR Well, I was super, super lucky to get this space. It my you know, I have family members that were able to work the space for me to have it and to afford it. And of course, because in our area, it's, you know, getting a space is like so rare.

CA That's a topic that we bring up a lot on this podcast.

NR It is it is so true. And I thank the gods every day that I have the space that I can go to that's outside of my house. I, I liked my space in my house, but I have two children as well. And having my work there, it was just it just got to the point it was good at the in the beginning because I didn't even have that before that I had a porch studio where I was like sitting outside sweating and you know, so that was, you know, the next step up.

NR And I love that little corner in my office room or our office room and and then when I moved in here, it just was like, you know, everything exploded. You know, I just started making a lot more art and and then just having this structure of going here these certain hours this week. It just helped my process for some reason.

NR And then having that time off, it was good for me as well to sort of decompress because I can burn myself out really easily with working way too much. So just again, I'm balanced, you know, It's like that's what I try. And you you got to have it.

CA So it's kind of a and I'm kind of all over the place with this. But let's go back to your experiences on social media. Why did you stay transitioned from Tik Tok to Instagram?

NR I don't I don't really remember why that defining moment happened. I think I was just like, Instagram has rules now, so I should probably just take my Tik tok and put it over there. But as we I have learned, the social media is don't like that. So the algorithm doesn't like that. The

CA I didn't know that.

NR Yeah. So you'll get that watermark on your video and I'm, I only I mean I'm very not a tech.

CA I see. So you're creating the videos within one of the platform and then exporting that moving it together so you're not creating it separately, like in Cap Cut or Adobe Premiere or something like that.

NR And that's another thing I've heard is that the apps actually want you to be in their app creating the video within their app. So I kind of just did it because I'm really not, you know, I don't know how to edit videos and shoot them. I don't have an I. You do everything on my phone. You know, I'm really super basic, but it's whatever works for me, you know, like so yeah.

CA So you switch from Tik Tok to Instagram just because you liked what was going on on the Instagram reels and said, you know, I'm gonna try focusing over here.

NR Yes. So yeah, that's what I meant to say, is that then as I moved over to Instagram, I was like, Well, they have the same thing over here. Let me, you know, my videos aren't doing really well. Let me try and go into their app and see if it's different and see what I can do. And then as I've started to grow on Instagram, I think like the sales aspect on Instagram is much better for me.

NR I've neglected Tik Tok now because I'm like a11 pony. What is it, one horse pony or something? One trick pony. Yeah, yeah. I can't do like a bunch of social media is at once. It's it that's really hard. That's hard. So I feel like I've.

CA Heard that it's better to focus on one rather than kind of strain yourself out trying to do all of them.

NR Yeah, that's what I think. I can't do that. I mean, I try so that's why I've switched over. And I think because of sales this way I kind of stay on Instagram side and I think it's a little more serious as far as art goes. Like people want to see more art on Instagram Tiktok's Funny, you know, I mean, I love the funny videos on it, but I don't think there's a lot of like, people don't stay for a longer video too.

NR So like if your videos like, you know, 14 seconds, they're going to swipe on you. So you have to, you know, Instagram, they stay a little longer. Yeah.

CA interesting. So what is the, I guess, time duration that you usually going for with those videos?

NR Because I feel like I've gotten to a place where it doesn't really matter. Usually shorter videos do better if they're like more money than fast and magic. My my son calls them magic videos too, where you like, you'll see a blank painting and then it's like, Done. You know, it's like magic to people. They're like, wow. So those do really well.

NR But yeah, I don't I don't really like I don't really pay attention anymore. I just feel like if, this is too long, I'll shorten a little clip. So yeah, I don't really, I don't really stick to a formula though.

CA So one thing that I've learned from just kind of lightly playing with the tick tock is the tick tock. I'm definitely more of a consumer of tick tock than a creator, but I've noticed that if you put out into the word world of the tick tock world something conversational, people will want to engage with that conversation. While I feel Instagram is more of a passive activity for the viewers where it's just like you said, it's a place to view art, to consume art, to see art.

CA Now, I know with Instagram you can link it to products. Are you doing that with reels? Is that possible?

NR That is possible. I haven't seen that tick tock shop kind of thing is a new thing. I guess I'm a little behind on that. I don't. I don't do that. I just people go to my shop so they know where the links are. No, I haven't. I haven't really. I did. It's it's a little confusing, so I just sort of.

NR Yeah, I get that.

CA I just know it exists. And the fact that it exists scares me because it's one more thing that I'm supposed to do, but I'm not.

NR I know.

CA So how are people reaching you? So someone sees your video, they want your shirt. How are they letting you know that?

NR Yeah, I get a lot of emails for for custom shirts, which is cool because that means that they're actually looking for my contact, you know, and they're serious about, you know, getting some art, you know, DMS and I have, which is really cool and which I think is really special, is that I have my repeat customers, like my actual collectors that keep coming back and like, I just love them so much.

NR I mean, that just means so much to me because that means that you, you know, you're, you're here for, for the work, you know? So yeah, I think and then I get a lot of DMS, I guess, you know. Sure.

CA So with the, the people who do buy from you, are you saving their email address and putting them in, in the emailing list so that you can reach out to them independently of any of these social media platforms?

NR Yeah, I am slowly putting that together because you know, I want to offer, you know, other specials. And like there's another thing too that I wanted to do is these subscriptions. It's just a lot. So I'm just I'm a newbie and I'm just, you know, I also just want to make art. So, yeah.

CA No know, I get that. I get that. But I like being artists nowadays. You can't just make art. You got to also be a marketer, You got to be an influencer. You got to you got to do everything.

NR And I'm sweating a little bit. Yeah, it's a lot.

CA So what would you say is the next immediate plan? Like, what's the next thing you plan on implementing in the next, I guess before the end of the year?

NR the next. I'm a terrible planner. That's probably my thing. I, I don't know if I have a plan yet for the rest of this year. For my business plan?

CA Yeah. Like, is there, like, the next. I mean, you mentioned a few things that you're going to be doing, like doing email marketing to people, doing some type of, like, incentive to get them involved in something before it happens. I was wondering if you had any, like concrete examples of like, well, I'm going to start a monthly newsletter or something.

CA I was running what like what was the next change you're going to implement or improvement, I guess definitely.

NR Because I you know, I get scared because I'm like, well, if social media was gone, you know how when people find me. So that is definitely a huge goal of mine is to kind of somehow branch off of that to people and try and reach people that way and just people in my community. Like I want to branch out a little bit more in my community.

NR I want to have an open studio and kind of meet people and but yeah, I think I think all.

CA It takes is one Elon Musk to destroy an entire social media platform.

NR To be nobody, you know, like that. So it's such a hard thing for me because I'm so not an influencer or like a, you know, whatever social media thing is, I'm really truly an artist and I'm just using that tool as as it should be used. I mean, I can reach people. I think it's so positive for artists nowadays.

NR Plus, you know, with COVID and everything, we can travel, we can meet people. So many people have seen my artwork all around the world. How would I ever get to reach people and meet people that way? So I think it's very valuable tool to use.

CA So the way I see it, the most valuable thing you can get out of your customer is that email address. Because like we said, that if any of these surveys or platforms go down, if any of these social media platforms go down, you still have the ability to get in their inbox and not just being in their inbox is a good thing.

CA But the fact that you're in the inbox of someone who liked your art enough to give you money means that they are way more likely to do it again. So some of the things that some of the artists we've had I've had on have done is like Mark Williams once again, for example, and Vanessa Lovick, who's been on the podcast too.

CA They will kind of use it as an opportunity to give previews of art that's going to be showing somewhere and give them the opportunity to buy it before the public can see it. So that's one thing that's helpful. Another person we've had on the podcast too before Madam Barry, she does a lot of twitch streaming, so I know you do a lot of your post edited content.

CA Do you do any like live stuff of you painting?

NR Yeah, that's another piece. I don't, you know, because I also maybe want to branch to YouTube as well so I can create longer, more instructional, more involved videos. But yeah, the live I've been, I've done live stuff before. I, I've done a live shirt on. I've done live painting on TikTok and Instagram as well. I, I get really nervous about that.

NR It's weird. Yeah. It's a weird thing to do is creating I'm I'm not like I'm I don't I don't know I think that it's just such a personal thing is creating and and when you are live and it's like it's a lot of pressure. Yeah I think it's I mean I see people go to like going live all the time and making money that way.

NR So it's yeah, I haven't, I've got a friend I got.

CA A friend from college who does screen printing live on Twitch and by the end of it all of his prints have been sold. So, like, I'm jealous of that kind of home shopping network style setup.

NR Yeah. that's so. Yeah, that is really interesting. I mean, there's a niche for everything and I think that's cool.

CA I think you'll probably need like an assistant to do that. Well, to kind of react to all the comments.

NR Yeah. Yeah.

CA So tell me a bit about the open studio that you're going to be, I guess, revealing in December or be working on soon. Tell me about that.

NR Yeah, my studio, what I was saying is that I have a amazing studio space in Gulfport, Gulfport, Florida, which is like just a really super small, artsy town. I love it because St Pete has, you know, it just feels a lot more homey. And but my space is right across the street from this beautiful park. I have amazing view right now.

NR So we've had a couple open studios. I don't think we've done one this year. I share my studio with my sister. That's why I keep saying we I, my sister also is an artist and we chose studio, so we are planning on doing one in December and we have a little set up outside. We have food and it's just a fun little art gathering, you know, to meet people.

NR I've met a lot of people through the studio and it's cool to meet people in person, you know, too. And then just, you know, selling work from the studio. So, yeah, I'm kind of like in the downtown Gulfport area. So it has its they have their own art walk as well. So we've been sort of a part of that sometimes too.

NR So yeah, I'm excited for that. I just get organized.

CA So you're Open Studios going to be it's the same studio that you've been at before. You just going to be doing as a more of a public gathering situation. Is that going to be tied into the Gulfport Art walk?

NR I am trying to do too, because I work on weekends, I work at Salon on weekends, so I have to really schedule it around that. So if it doesn't tie in, it's usually close to it, you know? But yeah, my schedule is super tight, so making it work on a weekend has been always hard. So as far as dates go, I will put that on my social media of course, One week.

NR Okay.

CA Okay. So you don't have a set date yet for that, but it is something you plan on doing more regularly, I guess.

NR Yes, we want to we want to I mean, I would love to have a store like an actual storefront someday, like to where I can actually have my pieces in and my my apparel as well. So but it's just fun to invite people in your creative space. I've had a I've had studios in downtown Saint Pete back maybe ten years ago.

NR I had a studio at the art lofts and it was just so fun to be around like, you know, a group creative setting like and just like seeing other people's studios and having people come in and like, there's just that, that energy. When you, when people see it, you're like, wow, yeah, it is kind of cool, you know?

NR So that's what we want to try and do. Yeah, okay.

CA I mean, I like that you're receiving that energy from being in a studio space, kind of like the personal struggle I have with whether or not I need the validation of being in a gallery. I also, like part of me wants to have a studio so that I can compartmentalized my creativity and my planning in a space that separate from my living space.

CA But the downside to that is I just I only feel efficient when I'm at this desk. So I mean, all the stuff I do is digital too. So like if I do watercolors, I feel like I can do my water coloring anywhere, but it's just a matter of being efficient. Yeah.

NR Yeah, Yeah.

CA So can you tell me a bit about, like, your history with paying rent for spaces? You mentioned you were downtown for a bit and then now you're in Gulfport. Like, is there a because I know one of the themes of Saint Petersburg and I guess Florida in general is artists find cheap areas, they start studios, the area gets popular, developers tear everything down and make expensive condos.

CA Has that kind of affected your move and your gallery locate or your studio locations?

NR Yeah. So my my first ever studio space was at the art lofts, like a real studio space. And it was a great opportunity to to be there. And it again, it was a while ago now probably about ten years, I want to say almost ten years. And I'm sharing with another artist because of plus of course, too. At that time I wasn't really making anything from art.

NR I just really like to do it. So I was sharing with her and the rent went up and she she was a mom as well. And she was like, you know, I got to go. And I was like, well, I, I guess I'm going to go to this. I can't take on the whole thing. And it was sort of changing and I kind of was ready to sort of move on.

NR So as the rent went up, I went out and I can't even imagine what it is now. I've looked around at other studios for space because I was like, I wanted to to get a studio at the factory at one point. And it just it just wasn't it wasn't feasible for me at all. I was again, blessed enough to have an extra room in my house to then create that space.

NR There and and then have the space which my family is just the most supportive, wonderful people. And my dad owns the space and gives me a really awesome deal. So that's how I'm able to afford it. But yeah, it's it's hard to have an extra space outside of your house to create. And for me, that's so important for my creative process because I'm really, really messy and I just, I don't like my house like that though, because I'm very neat and tidy at home.

NR But then when I get to my studio, it's just it's different. So yeah, that's my journey of the art studio realm and I hope, like I'm kind of outgrowing the space. So, you know, I we'll see what happens down the road with it. Just kind of like moved when it was time. So we'll see. I've been in here like two years, I think almost two years.

NR Okay.

CA So do you have any advice for say, I mean, you mentioned this was something you've done, too, but artists who maybe can't afford a space on their own, so then they want to share with someone else. Do you have any advice on being an artist, sharing a space with another artist?

NR yeah. Just make sure I, I guess going into it that you're you're with the right person. I typically don't really. I've been lucky that I've always had opposite schedules with the artists that I've been sharing with. So that just for me is a little bit better, although I like the community aspect of it, but what I'm actually creating and it's kind of nice to sort of put a pot, you know, put my headphones in and or blast loud music and, you know, and just not talk.

NR But I think just finding the right person, I've been really lucky. My sister, amazing. You know, she's my sister. So, you know, you can't go wrong with that. But I would be careful of it. But my sister. Well.

CA You haven't met my sister.

NR boy. Yeah. I'm lucky to have a really great one. And she she respects me and I respect her. And, you know, we can kind of keep it like that, but there's. I could see how it would be. It's like a roommate, you know? I could see how it would be, you know, if you're stepping on each other's toes.

NR And it could get a little messy. So I would prefer my own space if it was with anybody else than my sister. Probably. Yeah.

CA Well, this is the thing that I'm always constantly wondering for people who have art spaces, and I don't know if you'd have an answer for this yet, but like I know there is the, the community aspect as a benefit to having the studio space. You've mentioned that a few times. Do you know if there is a tangible benefit to being involved in an art walk?

CA Like you mentioned, you didn't sell much of the space in the art lofts when there was an art art walk. I guess you got a lot of visitors, but maybe you didn't get a lot of sales. Like, does that just become a nuisance, something that you feel you have to be involved in, even if it's not at all worth your time?

NR Well, I think I meant that I wasn't selling anything outside of it when I started at the art lofts. I mean, the art walks were super fun and I did sell at the art walk, you know, if I didn't have the art walk, I probably wouldn't have people. You know, I don't even think I had a website at that time.

NR I didn't use social media much at all, so I enjoyed the art walks and I did go every month. And, you know, we would have wine and, you know, hang out and meet people. And it was it was super fun. So I really I think that aspect of it was really important for me and I think for a lot of artists, I mean, they rely on the art walk and it is it's a big, big thing.

NR And I still go out. I love going to art, walking, you know, supporting artists. I'm always I'm all about that. I'm like buying everyone's art all the time. So I think that's that's the community that that I love to see.

CA So. So you would say as, as an artist, the art walk, the monthly artwork is definitely something that you it's worth being involved in.

NR It's worth it. Yeah, absolutely Worth involved. Yeah. Okay.

CA Well, let's, let's go back to your shirts. You had mentioned in the form you filled out before this that you want to get in into more shops. I know. I saw your shirts at the work. So how's that relationship been working for you?

NR I love them. I they were. They contacted me when they first opened their gallery and. And I had some paintings there. And then they saw my shirts and. And Matthew bought a shirt I think on my on my. In my shop, like online. And I sent it to him even before I met him. So they, he, they loved my work and yeah, they bought a bunch of shirts to put in their space.

NR So nice. Yeah. Yeah. I love, I love that. I love their, their space and their gallery. It's really cool. Their shop area.

CA They are great. I've I've had them on the podcast, they're wonderful and I've sold wholesale to them too. So when people are buying shirts in bulk like they did, did you give them a special wholesale rate to make up for the quantity?

NR Yes, I did. Okay. Yeah.

CA Great. Fantastic. Do you have any like stipulations on like what it would need to be sold as for a retail price, because I had suggested prices, but I made it up to them to charge whatever they want.

NR Yeah, I, Yeah, I did. We've done it both ways to where I put a bunch of shirts in there and we were going to do percentage but it just got just a little too much. So I was just like, Let's just do one wholesale price and then you sell them whatever you want. I typically sell mine anywhere from 110 to 140.

NR So yeah, those that's the price. Usually my shirts just depends on how long they take. So yeah.

CA So how many I guess what is your this might be tough to answer but like what is the stock you're usually sitting on waiting for things to be sold. Like how many items do you have lying around? How many do you feel like, I'm getting low, or when do you feel like I'm getting low? I need to make a whole bunch?

CA Or does everything kind of just sell as you put it up on Instagram?

NR Yeah, I used have a very big full rack of shirts and I was like, I don't know what I'm going to do. I have to have some sales going on and with we're selling in bulk. That really took it down. And then I probably have, you know, maybe four or five. I don't really have a lot in stock.

NR So as far as like having a shop, you know, that would have to be something I kind of figured out how to manage as far as what I post and what I keep for myself. But they sell pretty quickly. So I mean, I can't or can't like at all.

CA So yeah, well, I could tell you there's been a few times that I have sold a piece online and then went to go pack it and realize that I actually had already sold it and just never updated the website. So it's only.

NR Happened. Yes, Yes.

CA I mean, unless you use like our codes on everything, it's going to happen.

NR what's going to happen? I know. And I'm, I, I try not to let it happen because I've had those, like, freak out moments where I'm like, no, this is really bad. Like, I have to go and get it or make it. I've even remade them because I, you know, for whatever reason, lost it or sold it at an open studio and didn't mark it off my shop.

NR So yeah, I hate that that.

CA Well square has a very easy to use like QR code system to track inventory. I've never messed with it, but I really should. I've got a thermal printer so I can print them super easily.

NR Yeah. Yeah.

CA So can you tell me a bit about what your packaging looks like when someone buys a shirt?

NR Yeah, I use all stain ball packaging. I try to not use any plastic. I don't you know, I'm. I'm all about the environment and not that way. So and then I always do everything is like handmade as well. I like that whole part of the I just want everything to be so authentic. So and I write a note, a note for my customer, personalize it, stickers card and yeah, just showing appreciation for for them, for.

CA Shipping them in a bag or a box. Yeah. Someone buys you.

NR Buyable? Yeah. I mean, depends on how many they buy, but yeah, it's a bag. Biodegradable bag that looks really cool. Are those.

CA Are those custom printed or is it.

NR Solid color. No, it's, it's a swirly kind of lots of color. I sort of try and I kind of get a lot of my supplies on Amazon, of course, but I try and keep that within my style. Okay.

CA I if you haven't heard of this company, I recommend you look up Paper Mart Tor.com. Okay. They specialize in like packaging materials and they have a very robust selection of recyclable stuff I've used them to get or sorry, not just recyclable, but like craft paper material like re site made from recycled materials. There it is.

NR Yeah.

CA Yeah. I've used them for like a lot of small, like wooden boxes or like jewelry boxes and things like that. They fun stuff to browse on their site.

NR Paper mart. yeah. I'll check that out.

CA All right. So you mentioned that you also do a note. What kind of things do you put on the note?

NR I say I hope you love wearing your shirt and thank you for supporting my small business because it means so much to me. Pretty much that. Yeah. And I give them a sticker, which I think is really cool. And then yeah, it means a lot to my to them. I know anytime anyone's posted it, they're like, well that's so nice that they, you know, she wrote to me because it takes time, you know, it takes time to individually write out like a whole paragraph, you know, within your, your package for each shirt.

NR So but I want to do that and I want to hand make everything write it. And it's important to me.

CA Well, I get that because you're also trying to make do whatever it takes to make that shirt not look printed because it is hand-painted, so handmade, you know, it just adds to that and further separates it from something that's mass produced.

NR Exactly. Yes.

CA So in regards to that, do you plan on doing like screen printed or dye sublimated or direct to garment printed shirts to kind of supplement that and grow out the brand at all?

NR Yeah, Yeah. I've I've done that in the past. I worked with a company that was local around state Pete and I did a run of shirts, but it's just yeah, I'm totally open. I'm totally open to that. It's would make my life a lot easier. I just said what I want to choose as far as my image goes.

NR So I'm changing my mind all the time. But yeah, I mean, I'm definitely open to doing that eventually so that I can get it out to more people and then, you know, have my painted shirts a little more on my site because they take a lot of time. So.

CA Well, I know I've called out Mark Williams a few times, but in our episode we talked a lot about having the direct to garment manufacturers connected to your website. So if someone buys a shirt, it then gets printed and shipped out to the customer.

NR So yeah.

CA It's a really nice workflow to have that set up. I've got that on my site and it's a delight to not have to carry thousands of sizes and get one image printed 100 times.

NR Yeah, I've heard that. And there's, there's been multiple companies that I've, I've, I'm like, my God, that makes so much more sense than trying to get, you know, you have like 15 extra smalls that nobody buys, you know, And you're like, this this is not good. So yeah, I know.

CA So I'm, I'm always browsing Alibaba for ideas on things I can get custom made. In the last conversation I had with Vanessa Levick, we were talking about how when someone buys a piece from her because she she's doing heavy paintings that are framed and when someone buys a piece from her, like she doesn't just give them the piece, she package it and wraps it up so that they can safely carry it to their car or what have you.

CA So that got me excited. And so I was browsing Alibaba this morning and I just got to working, waiting on a price quote for Silkscreened cotton tote bags large enough to hold my most common sizes. And I'm just excited about that. Having that branding because someone carrying that bag around would also count as marketing for you. I don't know.

CA I brought it up just now.

NR Yeah, I've painted some bags. Bags are good.

CA So I wanted to ask you also, was there like a specific catalyst moment where you decided this is going to be something I'm going to devote more of my time to because there's like a legitimate business in here to explore?

NR was there a moment I think once my first video started to go really more viral, I guess they would say, and people liked it. And I was like, you know, you kind of just follow those little trails like where they wherever they lead, you. And that's that's sort of how I ended up here. And, you know, my dream was always to be an artist.

NR I said that from I think I was in third grade and I said, I want to be an artist. Like, they're like, Well, you can't do that. And I was like, Well, I don't know. And I kind of, you know, I didn't know what it looked like to to me to be an artist and be successful. And as I've grown and engaged, which is wonderful to like, actually know what that feels like to be an artist and successful.

NR It just means making what you love to make, whatever that is. I don't even care if you're an artist. I don't care if you make art or make, you know, music. It's the being to create and to create something that can bring you revenue is it's the sweet spot right there. I think. Yeah.

CA I know I was I've said this multiple times too. I know if I ever said in the podcast, but that moment that someone hands you cash for something you've made, it just fills you with joy because you're like, They like it enough because because money is a physical manifestation of somebody's time, and their time is limited by their life.

CA So I see it as that person just gave me 2 hours of their workday for this piece I made or whatever kind of thing that translates to. And that's just like, you're kind of like giving me a portion of your life. And I just I feel so thankful about that.

NR I know. I'm like, What? What? You know, you know, it's hard to accept it as an artist. And of course, now, you know, the pricing aspect of it and and making sure that your time is being paid for. I've given away countless amounts of money worth of my time, energy and talent, you know, And that's what we do as artists as well, until we grow and learn that, you know, that it's worth it's worth it.

NR And if you don't like my prices, then, you know, you can move on. But I, I think that like I'm a creator at heart. So I what I make is, you know, I'm a hairdresser as well. So like, I'm always making something for money and, you know, I yeah, I just think that it's something that like I've always done, but I've definitely given away too much of my art or time or whatever, just because I want to.

NR But I think as you grow, you definitely feel like I'm not going to do that anymore. Most people don't want to like, steal from you, but they will.

CA So how I guess, officially, are you organizing the income from your art business versus your income as a hairdresser? Do you have those fully separated? Are you incorporated or is it just kind of all coming together now?

NR All flows together. I've been lucky with my hairdressing job that they support me with my this work and that I can kind of choose my hours there. So yeah, it all, it all sort of flows together in the end. Well well do.

CA You have a plan to like make an LLC or form an LLC and then do separate banking and all that stuff.

NR Yeah. Eventually as, as I grow I sort of, I'm still like really new to a lot of the business aspect of, of everything. So as I learn that that's where I eventually want to go. Okay.

CA So is there anyone that you would say you have been modeling your art business after? I don't mean your art specifically, but someone who say, I like the way they're doing that, I'm going to try doing that.

NR Man. Just a lot of people on Instagram, I guess I follow a lot of artists and think that's where I've found a lot of inspiration from other artists and seen what they do and really been inspired by what they do as far as, you know, making it a business. And and of course on social media, like it looks like it's all fine, of course.

NR But yeah, I think that is probably where but I don't I don't know if anyone is doing really what I'm doing. I didn't even really mean to be where I am. It wasn't like I set out to make what I'm making successful, but I mean, that's where I ended up. So yeah.

CA So if you were to think about like, say, your art business income over the last year, what percentage would you say has been from the custom painted apparel versus traditional paintings on a canvas, how it's shown in a gallery?

NR I mean, the the T-shirts probably take, you know, are probably my most profitable income, I guess, piece. But I mean, I do get sales on my smaller paintings. It's easier to sell a smaller painting and to ship a smaller painting as well. I hate having to ship a larger painting. It's really it's very time consuming. I think there I think people like regular paintings.

NR Do.

CA Well, what percentage would you say is the painted apparel? What percentage of your income?

NR Of my income. it's probably art income, 70%. Okay. Yeah.

CA And so you've seen that go up over the last couple of years.

NR yeah. Yeah.

CA Okay. So do you feel like you need to nurture that and grow it more as a percentage, not as an individual number? Or do you want your traditional paintings to take up more of that pie chart?

NR Yeah, because I feel like I wouldn't have to do as much work to, you know, even if I were selling larger works, right, then I balance it out with with less work. So I think that's it because it is a lot of work. What I'm doing is I make each one I can do maybe two or three a day, but that's that's really pushing it.

NR So but as far as like, yeah, the artwork, I'd like to be selling bigger pieces because then I can feel like I can, you know, make a little bit more with less work.

CA You know, I get that. I get that. Do you feel that there is maybe like a ceiling on what you can charge for a painted painting, a T-shirt?

NR I mean, there's this one brand creamy studios on Instagram. I think that's their name. Sometimes when my head I, I don't really know how to say that they're names from Instagram but I they do painted airbrushed T-shirts and apparel as well. I love their style I love I love how they do do drops, you know, once a week of a bunch of shirts.

NR But I've seen their prices. And, you know, if you can get to a level that, you know, your name is, you know, it's like it's like a designer brand. And if it's hand-painted, it's another piece of art. I literally put it on a canvas and it's it's painted. So, yeah, I mean, I think I think as I grow, I can sort of raise the, the, the, the price there.

NR Okay.

CA So as as that is they're going to do you think there will be a point in which you decide to start raising your prices because honestly 110 feels very low for a hand-painted anything.

NR Yeah. And I feel like, you know, I don't know if it's my style. You know, as a old woman myself, I'm, you know, my style tends to my audience or my, you know, the people who buy my work or like my work and where it tend to be a little younger. I feel like is what I'm seeing is usually younger females.

NR And I tend to have a hard time, you know, raising it. And I don't know if that's my own like problem with that, you know, raising my prices and getting paid what I should. But yeah, I think I'm taking my time sort of working that in a bit. I've been lucky enough to take my time, you know, to not not jump in.

NR And everyone's raising their prices right now and, you know, can't I want it to be accessible to everybody of course. And yeah, but eventually, you know, I know that they deserve to be, you know, a little higher. So. But thank you. Well, I think.

CA I think it would make sense to coincide the price raising with some mass produced options, some direct to garment options, because then you're not alienating people who wanted to buy a piece, but now it's out of their price range and you're just instead, you're offering different avenues for people to carry your art. And if someone wants an original, that should cost a lot more because that's the dedicated love and attention you're giving to a piece that someone is getting.

CA And it makes sense that you would charge more. And you did mentioned designer brands, people like Ralph Laurence charging $2,000 for a T-shirt. So yeah.

NR Yeah. Why can't you.

CA Charge 200, you.

NR Know? Right, right, exactly. yeah. I mean, it's totally true. And, you know, I think is you always need a pep talk yourself to of course, you know, you get into your rhythm and it's comfortable and everything and yeah, that is that's true. The name, the name is everything. So I'm just waiting to get like to get my name somewhere.

NR And then, and then I can charge like $1,000 for a shirt. And then, then I'll be really happy, you know?

CA I see what you're saying, but I feel like your name is already there. But one thing that that like a bit of advice that I've been told multiple times and I basically refuse to follow, but I should is when you raise your price, you're not alienating your existing audience. You are introducing yourself to another audience, an audience that wasn't seeing you because they're not looking for things at that price range.

CA So it it really is just kind of like people of different income levels shop at different places. And yeah, it helps to think of it that way. I find.

NR Yeah, Yeah, I love that. That's totally true. Yeah.

CA So aside from the soon to be announced opening the open studio you have coming up in December, people can listeners can follow you at Nikita Rosalind dot com that's and I K.R.I.T. ar0sa like indeed.com you're also Nikita Rosalind dot bid card sorry Nikita Rosalind dot big cartel dot com on Instagram which is where you most shine seems is at Nikita Rosalind and you're also at an art studio 7 to 7 is that last one for you and your sister.

NR That is our, our studio Instagram. Yep. Okay, cool. Yeah.

CA Any last thoughts you want to share with the listeners before we sign off?

NR man, I, I just want to say that whatever you make, just make sure that you love doing it. I think creating just brings so much light into the world right now that is so dark and you do what you can do in your little bubble and yeah, you can share the light through this. And so thank you for thank you for having me on here.

NR It's really cool.

CA It was a beautiful final thoughts. Thank you so much, Nikita.

NR Thank you. Thank you.

Outro

Chain Assembly: Art for profit sake is recorded through Riverside FM, distributed through Spotify for podcasters, and edited on Adobe Audition. The music is provided by Old Romans. If you learned anything useful or found this podcast helpful, please rate and review us five stars. If you want to learn more about me or my art, head over to ChainAssembly.com.

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