A Delicate Language
Frank Rudolph Paul (1884 – 1963)
October Birthday News
October Birthday NewsEMG News
by Ellen Million
Fifteen years is a long time... and in October, Ellen Million Graphics celebrates its fifteenth anniversary. In a market where most new businesses don't make it to two years, that's some impressive stuff, that is, and our fifteenth year is going to bring some amazing new changes.
First, allow me some nostalgia! I started this business in 1993, with the business license countersigned by my father because I was only 17. I had $80, some penpals, a few ideas, and really big dreams. In the beginning, it was only stationery, five of my own designs, poorly xeroxed onto grey-flecked paper.
Dragon was one of those first designs!
Over the next few years, I added artists who came asking if I could print their work, too, and new products, like cards and postcards. In 1999, I opened the first version of the webpage (oh, for the love of heaven, do not go look it up at the waybackmachine, I beg you!). I added the print services, and the hardcopy catalog grew from one single-sided page to over 30 before I discontinued them in favor of the more easily updated webpage.
With all this, I somehow also managed to get a degree in engineering, meet the love of my life, marry him, and build a house. Most of this time, I've had a dayjob, and I could not have done it without so many of the people who have helped me along the way.
In particular, warm and lifelong thanks to: Holly and Heather Wedo, Jennie Seay, Giovanna Adams, Jennifer Broschinsky, Megan Myers, Tiziano Baracchi, Saber McConnell, Jenny Heidewald, Janet Chui, Cris Griffin, Ron Swartzendruber, my parents, my husband Jake, and all of my friends, artists, customers and supporters. You are wonderful, and I would not have made it this far without you (and all the other people I've neglected to list because I'm blonde)!
Even with their help, it has been getting harder and harder to keep up with the volume of orders and submissions that I get, and last month, I made a tremendous decision: I am going to scale back my personal shop to prints-only and move most of the actual production out of state. This is for several reasons:
1. I was going nuts. There's one of me here, and I have had to all but abandon my own artwork to balance my business, my job and my personal life. No art makes Ellen go crazy.
2. I found someone I could trust, who had the same attention to detail and insistence on quality that I had, who, unlike me, was looking to expand their production and had local help, suppliers and space. Enter Tor Amundson, and Monoceros Media. We'd been talking for a few months about expanding my drop-shipping print service line using his services, and when I realized I needed to scale back my workload, I asked if he would be interested in picking it up. To my joy, he said yes, as my alternate option was to close the giftshop.
3. This allows EMG to actually grow. I have been the holdup at EMG for years now - turning away big jobs and declining work because I know I couldn't do it right. That isn't fair to me, to my artists, or to customers. I am unbelievably excited by the idea of the time this will free up for me, and the knowledge that I have the resources of a shop that can expand to include employees.
This change will not be immediate. I will be working through my stock, and as I run out of supplies to fill orders, those orders will be drop-shipped for me through Monoceros Media. I will be monitoring the quality very closely, and invite my customers to do the same. Tor knows he's got picky shoes to fill, and I'm confident of his ability to do so! I will keep the basic printing equipment, and will continue to fill Portrait Adoptions.
What does that mean for you as artists and customers? The changes you see should all be for the better. Your orders should be filled faster, as MM is considerably more centrally located, and will be able to dedicate their time to order fulfillment. I will still be handling all webpage updates, customer service and artist wrangling. Without having to also fill orders, your service on all of those points should be faster and better!
I'm terribly excited and relieved by this change, even though it is an enormous leap of faith to let someone else do what I have done for fifteen years.
What else does October bring? If you've read this far, you're in for a treat! I think that JRR Tolkein's hobbits had the right idea about giving gifts for their birthdays, so I've got some FREE birthday treats for you for the month of October. Check out the Birthday Specials page for all the goodies.
*raises glass* Here's to another fifteen years of taking the starving out of artists!
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