Hi Carol! Thanks for joining us this week! Tell us about yourself.
My name is Carol Bruno and I live in a tiny town near the Jersey Shore named Little Silver. I am the owner of Yankeegirl Art and The Girlfriends. My husband's name is Chick (short for Charles) We have 2 dogs, a Golden Retriever named Madison and a mixed breed who we rescued named Bernie. We also have many koi and goldfish in our backyard pond and a rescue cat named Annie. As you can guess I am a big rescued animal advocate!
How did you get started in your handmade business?
After many years wishing I could paint in watercolors I decided to start taking lessons from a wonderful teacher in our town. After a lot of years of hard work to improve my painting I listed a painting on eBay just for fun and guess what?? It sold after a bidding war! Yankeegirl Art was born! I have always taken photographs for fun and for reference photos for my paintings but many people said I should be selling them too so I have since incorporated them into my shop.
What are your hopes and aspirations for your store and where do you see yourself going from here?
That's a good question! I would love to continue on the track I have been on but of course to increase my sales and recognition. I was contacted by Sur La Table at one point to possibly start a licensing partnership with them but because of circumstances with the company that is still up in the air. That would be something I would love to do in the future.
Have you ever experienced any major accomplishments or recognition?
The Sur La Table thing really was a huge deal and even if it doesn't come to fruition it was a huge compliment!
What are three tools in your work space that you could not live without?
Without paint, brushes and paper there would be no watercolor paintings!
Have you ever experienced a craft disaster? What happened?
No true disasters really except ruining a painting that I thought was going to be great!
How much do you social network? Can you link us to your personal social media pages so we can follow you?
I use social media a lot! Sometimes I think to myself that I need to get off of Facebook but then realize that at least half of the time I was networking! I also use Twitter and Pinterest to spread the word about Yankeegirl Art. My business page on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yankeegirl-Art/162102136904?ref=hl
How important is marketing for your small business and what has been the most effective for you?
Marketing is extremely important! That's what so great about selling online! Posting links to your shop or a specific listing is huge. I can't tell you the amount of sales I've made through Facebook. I love to have people follow me through the stages of a painting I'm working on and occasionally by the time I'm finished, someone has fallen in love with it enough to purchase it. Love that! I'm often asked the "trick" to selling online. It's marketing! If someone thinks they can just open up a shop online and expect to have it be successful they are wrong. It takes a lot of getting yourself out there.
What item in your shop is your favorite item or your top seller?
It's hard to give you a best seller because most of my items are original one of a kind watercolor paintings. Once I have sold a painting I do sell prints of some of them. This one is new but I have already sold a lot of them.
What are your 2 favorite items from other shops on The CraftStar, with links?
My two favorite items on The CraftStar are from Insert Creative Pun and Island Girl Expression.