2018 Will Be a VERY Busy Year at Kat Mariaca Studio - and Beyond

January 10, 2018

2018 Will Be a VERY Busy Year at Kat Mariaca Studio - and Beyond

It has been a while since I've posted here on the Kat Mariaca Studio blog. Mostly because I was swamped over the holidays, but also because Amazon reached out to me in August with a great offer to collaborate with them on their Merch by Amazon print on demand platform.

Sometime in 2016, Amazon began allowing designers, artists and illustrators to create t-shirt designs which they, Merch, would print to order. At some point I must have applied for the program (though I don't remember doing so) because in mid-August Amazon emailed me and gave me 30 days to accept their offer or they'd move on to another designer.

I accepted. 

The main benefit of working with Merch is that the designers come up with designs, upload them, along with a brief description of each, to the platform, and then move onto their other day-to-day business. Amazon then does the marketing, takes the orders, prints the shirts, packages them and ships them out. They also handle any customer concerns.

Pretty neat, right?

So I signed up and spent a couple of months learning the rules, figuring out which designs sell best, establishing a brand, and enjoying the opportunity. 

But now I'm back. Not that I'm not still collaborating with Amazon - I am - but now that I understand how to run that side of my business efficiently, I am back here at the Studio.

So, what else is new in 2018? A lot.

I quickly figured out that I really enjoy the Merch platform and the opportunities it offers, but I was a bit disappointed by Amazon's upload rule of just allowing you to upload two new designs per day. At that rate, it will take a looooooooong time to earn a decent income. Besides, I have more than 200 designs in queue.

Not one to wait around, I decided to re-open my Amazon stores - and to open a new one - so that I could upload my own brands as quickly as I like. I had stopped selling on Amazon more than a year ago because I found the software unwieldy and confusing. But now that I'd experienced the quick success of Merch, I decided to take the time to learn.

To handle the print on demand side of business, I opened a sister company, Island Dog T-Shirt Company. I did not want to confuse my Kat Mariaca Studio customers who are loyal and wonderful and who enjoy the 3 brands I offer here (Postal Notes Greetings, Let's Pretend, and Sage Street Greetings) by piling on new product lines.

I am still feeling my way through brand creation for Island Dog T-Shirt Company - and selling some Kat Mariaca Studio products through that sister site (here is an example of a tote bag) - but it's been a lot of fun, is happily growing, and offers me another creative outlet.

Best Mom Ever Tote on Kat Mariaca Studio

In addition to Island Dog T-Shirt Company, I've opened up another two websites. While these are blogs more than shops, I opened them with the express intent of growing two separate audiences for two separate book series I am working on.

Print on Demand Empire is a nascent blog where I share tips for breaking into the print on demand business. The audience for that site is designers, people who want a home-based business, and people looking to earn a secondary income. By the end of the year, I plan to release the first book in the series about the opportunities in that business.

The second blog I started (the site is up but I have yet to complete the first post, which is on my agenda for tomorrow), is called Lucky on Purpose. The premise behind that blog is that I don't believe in luck. Instead, I believe that what we call "luck" is really awareness meeting opportunity. I believe that we create our own "luck" and that it is a law of nature that anyone - and everyone - can and should tap into. Kind of like the Law of Attraction, but with intent.

In other news, I am working on a new book with the amazing Karen Stivali, a dear friend and prolific romance author. The book, which does not yet have a working title (that I'm willing to refer to yet as it may end up being THE title) is for writers. More on that later.

I am working on a number of other books which I plan to have drafted out by mid year. One is dog-related (because they are the best beings in the universe - just saying). The second is a follow-up to The Complication of Sisters titled Conversations with My Sister, and the third is a bit darker. OK, it's a lot darker. It is a book of illustrated short stories, along the lines of Edward Gorey (Goreyesque?), titled Global Warming and Other Near Disasters. Here is a sample, titled "Last Song":

Last Song from Global Warming and Other Near Disasters by Katherine Mariaca-Sullivan

And in still other news (I told you I've been busy), this morning I mailed out a first draft manuscript for a book series I've written, which is loosely based on my book, The Complication of Sisters. Last year I met the lovely Rage Kindelsperger, Editorial Director at The Quarto Group at the 2017 National Stationery Show, where we discussed the possibility of turning one of my card collections into a gift book series. 

What I sent to Rage today isn't that. What I sent to her today is the first draft of the first book in a series of nine gift books. I am hopeful she likes it and wants the series for Quarto because, a) I liked her, b) it feels kind of synchronistic that she stopped by to talk opportunities with me just as I was finalizing my outlines for the series, and, c) I'd rather be creating than shopping my manuscripts around.

So now you know why I haven't posted in this blog space since August. What have you been up to?


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