My Newest Thoughts on Pinbacks, and a Little About Niche Markets

<img src="Photobucket” alt=”one bitchy thing” />
I used to sell gag lines to a greeting card company, but they rejected more than they purchased-and I tired of working so hard for so little so I stopped. Fast forward a decade and a half, ETSY comes on the scene and now I’m the copy editor. This means I can dream up, design and publish my funny lines in pinback and magnet form to see what will tickle someone’s funny bone and hopefully make me a sale.

I prefer this method over the latter as it’s worth not being beholden to a faceless committee in some other state that send back rejection notes like: “We’d like to see more like this line,” but they didn’t buy that gag line, so WTF? And I’ve seen some of my best lines stolen after submitting to a company. So let’s hear it for the internet, it’s dumped the entrepreneurship opportunity right into our own laps, we can bypass slow approval-nods from third parties, and go direct to the consumer ourselves.

Incidentally, I believe small business entrepreneurship will help heal our economy as too many CEO’s have ruined it. I don’t mean to alienate or stereotype, but hey, I watch the news.

However, there are days when I think all witty retorts I dreamed up have dried up. Then something happens, my funny-bone Muse points something out, and voila- more magnets and pinbacks for my Etsy shop are born. “The Muse” takes inspiration from an image, a particular passion, a conversation–(see below “Skype” button), or hear-say-work-related incident–any of you work for the reckless one-percent with protected job security? Say “Aye!”

I charge a little more for my magnets and buttons because they’re manufactured by a third-party. My hope is with enough sales I can buy a button making machine to bring production in-house so I can lower the cost that could favorably impact sales. Luckily my work’s found favor with people who are willing to shell out more for one of my snarky little gems. Thank you wonderful patrons! This fact has taught me not to undervalue what I have to offer and that there are people who get what I’m commenting about, feel the same way, and realize snarky tongue-in-cheek-humor is damn therapeutic.

But I can never second guess what customers will gravitate to. Some of my funniest buttons lay dormant for a while, I get depressed figure I missed the mark and wasted money having so many manufactured, only to have a rash of sales down the road. My Arsenic button is one such animal, and it’s mighty popular among the Canadians,hmmm.
<img src="Photobucket” alt=”Skype” />

The Buttons you see on this post are my most recent. The Skype one came from a sister-to-sister conversation. Sister, who excitedly suggested we could “Skype” one another, and I shot off an email stating I would have to lose ten pounds first–(if not twenty).

My goal with this button/magnet business is to hopefully build it up to a sustainable level read: So I can leave the day job (yes I’m grateful I have one but. . .) and work out of my studio full-time-(my decades long dream). I like making people laugh, I love to write and design, and this product allows me to hit more than one niche market that I’m passionate about: wine enthusiasts, mystery book lovers, holidays, mermaids to name a few. Etsy constantly impresses their artists and artisans to stick with a niche market and to make sure that niche is a passion.

As I work toward my goal, and you all work towards yours. I leave you with this thought, my husband got downsized out of his fourth corporate job when I met him. He’s an engineer. As one gets older the marketplace narrows. Well, he got on eBay in ’97, was successful at selling off his sports and coin collection. I said (wife-expert) “Why not take a walk on the wild side? Find something you’re passionate about and build a business around it on ebay?” Eleven years later he’s still doing

So go find your niche and help heal this economy, our country needs you.

©2012 Copy, button/magnet designs Suzanne Urban All Rights Reserved.


About suzanneurban

ABOUT MOI: I was born in San Francisco, California to highly intelligent parents, and my sister is pretty darn smart too. It's unclear if I inherited the smart genes. I graduated with a B.A. in Art from Marymount College Over a couple of decades, I illustrated and designed for newspapers, greeting card companies, in corporate graphic departments and publishing empires. I reside with my antique dealer husband and two house rabbits in a the third oldest home in Connecticut–(honest!-no ghosts-bummer). My husband will be joining ETSY with his own shop called: "VintageUrban" soon. ARTIST STATEMENT: I seek to amuse. When I come up with something more profound I'll put it in here. KUDOS: Over the years my work in various forms has been published in: NYTimes, DollWorld, Contemporary Doll Collector, Doll Castle News, SCBWI magazine, Color! magazine, Jane Green's Down to Earth Blog, Doll World, Scholastics, Westport Magazine, Mail Me Art, and more. In 2007 I was invited to do something for the State Capitol's Holiday Tree by Governor Rell. I chose to needle felt a bear ornament rather than hang from the tree myself. I named him "Nutmeg" as Connecticut is the "Nutmeg" state. ASSOCIATIONS: I'm the founder of or Original Doll Artisans of Connecticut-we're on Facebook. I'm also a member of SCBWI-Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Licensing- my designs are finding favor with licensing clients my work will soon be seen on needlepoint canvases and gourmet ice cream labels. That's about it. Amusingly yours, Suzanne Search Engine Submission - AddMe
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2 Responses to My Newest Thoughts on Pinbacks, and a Little About Niche Markets

  1. Susan F says:

    Well you sure crack ME up! And what I love is that your snarky, snide, sarcastic, bitchy stuff “winks” at the notion of being all those things, and are not at all mean-spirited at heart. At all! That’s why they’re so delightful to me.

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