Tab A in Slot B: Getting my Shop Together

So as of yesterday, I now have full inventory of all 25 notecards. It took about a month longer than I thought it would.

Anything that could go wrong, pretty much did, but ended up being a small ripple on the larger pond. And all of this kerfuffle is really just up-front disorder and static that goes with any new undertaking never tried before. Nothing ventured…

What I have learned so far is that just because people have been enthusiastic about the cards in person does not mean they will find them online and scoop them off the digital shelves like the Black Friday rush at WallyWorld.

Build it, and they will yawn.

So with all this stock, I am going to have to take initiative to find a buying market other than the Etsy storefront. I am going to have to prepare x number of each card set for shelves in local stores that I keep restocked on a recurring basis.

Where I’ll ask for space and how many vendors I’ll be willing to keep supplied is something I have not sorted out yet.

And here’s the crunch: retail sales is NOT going to be easy money or much of it per unit sales. And high volume is beyond the capacity of my thumbs, who are both on disability.

Selling wholesale to stores takes a bite out of the small margin per card.

Each “unit” requires an awful lot of touches from the time I get cards from the printer to the time I send them off in the mail or leave them at the Country Store.

I can see the tedium factor skyrocketing rapidly. I can see turf wars between one side insists he needs a lot of seemingly disordered surface area and the other who values “all that junk off the table” no matter why it’s there.

All of this is to say that today is the real beginning of this undertaking. I’d love to be successful in bringing in a bit to supplement my meager Social Security check. But how much busywork, how many touches, how many hours a week would represent more “success” than I’m willing to give to this “great idea” I had a few months back?

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Shop Talking

I want a place to have conversations (theoretically) with folks who are interested in nature photography, landscapes, sense of place, writing, and aesthetics AND are trying to put their arts, crafts and other goods in the hands of responsive and appreciative customers.

So that’s what this string of posts will be about.

I may have it such that these posts find their way onto Facebook and other visible places, since my blog is moving farther and farther out of the main flow of conversation. And that’s okay. It’s quiet here.

But if I want to stay out of debt, I need to show a profit.

On the one hand, I hate being commercial. On the other, nothing gives me more joy than having my words or images touch another human.

Like the rest of life, selling one’s art is a mixed bag, isn’t it?

About The Light: About the Photographer

This is from the ABOUT page at my Etsy Store. I like the fact that this site for commerce does not neglect to let the artists and craft folks share their personal story: the WHY and the WHO of their creativity. The WHAT will hopefully sell itself.

I got my first camera, a Minolta, in 1970–the same month I got married and started grad school at Auburn University. As a recent convert to field botany, I needed a way to share what I saw in the wild.

Forty years and a half-dozen cameras later, I’ve shared my image collection widely with audiences in the Floyd County, Virginia area where I live (near Roanoke and Blacksburg.)

I’ve displayed photos regularly on my original blog site, Fragments from Floyd, that started in May 2002 and gets fresh photos and “grampa tales” a few times a week, even now.

I’ve “become a writer” these past dozen years, with radio essays, regular newspaper columns and two books, plus the blah-blah blogging. I have discovered that I enjoy “composition” of language in a similar way that I enjoy composing the lit object in the camera’s frame.

But I’ll always be partial to the stories that pictures tell–my pictures and my stories, but when you look at what I saw through the lens, you experience the exact same image frozen in time, captured now on card stock. Photography is a most intimate and shared creative work.

And so for the first time in this Etsy store–not that I have not been asked over the years to do it sooner–I can offer my visions of nature and local landscapes in this most personal exchange of beauty. Those who receive these cards will appreciate how much you care.

And in sharing the photography, you’re sharing where I’m from: Goose Creek–the source waters of the south fork of the Roanoke River. Goose Creek is home, and I named my store that way because it is intimately attached to and comes out of this place.

My intention is to slowly add other items to the store–photographic desktop and screen saver image packages, image-illustrated essays and stories, and maybe even some spoken-word readings from Slow Road Home and What We Hold In Our Hands.

I am really excited at last to reach beyond the local audience with my words and images, and I hope you find in them some resonance with your own sense of belonging, of beauty, of gratitude for this wonderful life we too often take for granted.

Goose Creek Goods Open Its Tiny Digital Doors

This will be old-business for the 104 kind folks who LIKED the Goose Creek Goods page on Facebook since Saturday.

But since there is not anything like a complete overlap between Fragments readers and Facebook friends, I’ll run the risk of boring some and informing others.

I am happy to report that since last Thursday, the Etsy storefront I am calling  Goose Creek Goods  has been successfully established and the first orders will ship today!

If you stop by the FB page, do browse around (not much there yet of course) and add your LIKE to stay informed as things are added to the site.

And in case you haven’t a clue what I am offering as first products in the digital storefront, I’ve also set up a page (TAB up top) called  FredsNoteCards .

Each of the five Blue Ridge Photo Note Card sets contains five edge-to-edge photo cards of local landscapes or features. Envelopes of course included.

FredsNoteCards here at Fragments from Floyd shows you a slider of each set (Country Roads, Autumn, Floyd, Blue Ridge Parkway and Goose Creek). Also after each set is a button to click to take you directly to the Etsy page where you can make a purchase.

I look forward, now that the storefront details have been hammered out, to making my books and some new digital products and probably some color enlargements available there too.

Frankly, it’s been somewhat of a bumpy road and Ann would say GRUMPY-bumpy. Delays. Misdirections. Tail-of-the-elephant befuddlement. Sheer dumb ignorance. At times I’ve been less than content with where things were. I don’t hide that very well. I’m better now. Watch Fred smile.

So please, if you have not already, either go to or bookmark Goose Creek Goods. You need these cards and you need them now! For…

Why You Really NEED These Note Cards
▶ For writing those obligatory Thank You notes
▶ For birthdays and special events
▶ To say Missing you wish you were here
▶ For sharing your Blue Ridge Home with distant friends
▶ For matting and framing (more on that soon)
▶ For trading with your friends! Own all FIVE sets!

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What’s in Store–the Busyness of Bizness

I think I know what Wile E. Coyote feels like out there in mid-air just past the edge of the precipice.

But I’m not looking down. Not yet. I’ve committed myself now. And old Wile would agree it’s not the falling that’s so bad but the landing. We’ll worry about that another day.

I have ordered shipping boxes, Clearbags and envelopes for the Photo-Notecards. I will be replenishing low or missing stock within a week. (I recently discovered that five bundles of 50 cards were relieved from my stock box that I took to a couple of events this fall).

I have set up (on hold) storefronts via Ecwid template on WordPress and via Etsy. People are knocking at the door via Ecwid at least, with 40-50 visits a day, which would represent at least a few sales if the store was open.

Alas, my arms and legs are churning in empty space, having gone beyond the limits of solid ground beneath me. Now what?

I am having to think through the actual DOING of the deed, which means, among other things, having a designated inviolate PLACE to organize and process and prepare for shipping. My six foot folding plastic display table in the ANNex is my only option. ANN is not going to like that. Disapproval is my second skin.

And maybe even a greater concern going forward: the record-keeping for taxes, inventory tracking and fulfillment will be far more elaborate than the simple cobbled Google spreadsheet that has sufficed for the past few years of direct sales for books and cards.

There is no shortage of advice, free downloads and for-sale Etsy management software (Excel spreadsheets mostly I guess).

I have just begun to dig down into all that, and would be most grateful if anyone can speak from experience towards a method or tool a novice shop-keeper might use right out of the box.

So I’m just flapping my skinny arms in the air trying to stay aloft long enough to find a grip on the other side of this divide. I would really like–eventually when a system is in place–for this to be enjoyable.

I really do think the note cards will find a receptive audience beyond the hyper-local exposure they’ve gotten to date. Time will tell. Even so, it is quite possible you might see that little puff of dust at the bottom of the canyon how that tells the story ends, even while I hope and am working fervently to avoid the pitfalls that lead there!

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