The PikaPackage Project: Times are a’changin

Hi everyone,

As I write this I have come to realize that I can’t really decide alone about a certain topic that has been on my mind for the past few weeks.

Remember that I sent out a call to participate for the June PikaPackage — for limited edition art? And here’s the thing: I have contacted NO ONE AT ALL because of a few issues that have been lingering in my mind. I’m terribly sorry to those who have written, but have not received a reply — trust me when I say that I still have all your emails and I am frozen. And this is because I am at a crossroads with the PikaPackage Project. Why the change? Well, I’ll tell you what’s been swirling in my mind so that you can help me make a better decision.

Let’s start with why I would need to change the format of the PikaPackage Project:

  1. There is about a 2% chance that your package might get lost in the mail. Now this is the very reason I’m hesitant to ask you to send your precious limited editions. I am heartbroken when I have to tell someone that their package may be lost.
  2. Organizing the PPP is very time-consuming.
  3. I can’t organize it frequently enough to garner the attention it deserves.
  4. The economy makes buying packages a little more difficult, even for regular buyers.
  5. I have come to the point where I would like to explore my own work as well, so I would need to free up some of my time to pursue this.

And here’s what makes the PikaPackage popular:

  1. People love the concept.
  2. Artists like the swaps.
  3. Everyone likes reading and discovering new artists.
  4. It’s exciting to get surprise stuff in the mail.
  5. The free zine. ‘Nuff said.

+++++ BUT ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

After thinking about it hard, I’ve decided that for this to be sustainable, something needs to be changed. I’ve come up with a solution based on the previous feedback I’ve received from the survey:

  1. People are interested in more regular projects that feature artists.
  2. A lot of artists don’t mind making limited edition art for Pikaland’s projects
  3. People want a more affordable way to support artists
  4. People want to see new artists
  5. People want to be able to pick which art they like

So I’ve come up with this alternative:

  1. We feature a number of artists in an online gallery format, with each artist submitting one original artwork. There will be a short bio + interview page + a few images of their works in individual pages. This is good for artists who would like to announce new works, or to sell their limited edition items made for the project — feel free to offer special discounts, etc on your page.
  2. The gallery is geared towards illustration/art based goods ONLY for better focus.
  3. There will be a small fee for listing in the gallery, which I have computed will save costs for the artists in the long run (I have not determined the amount as of yet though!) Ads on the front page of the blog are fully optional, and will be offered on discount for participants.
  4. I will put up monthly ad spaces for sale — but only in limited numbers. The ones who opt for the gallery placement will be able to put in theirs too at a discounted price.
  5. Artists don’t have to send me anything — so no packages can get lost. (phew!)
  6. There will still be a giveaway for each round, but this time I won’t be sending out the items to the winners. Participating artists will be the one who send their artwork to the lucky person.

Pros of this new method:

  1. No packages lost during sending (either to me or me to you)
  2. More frequent posting/updates of new works — a more attentive readership base for artists
  3. Faster turnaround for artists who likes coming out with new work
  4. Narrowing the scope to fewer artists per round will garner more attention per artist.
  5. Buyers get to pick which ones they like best to add to their collection.
  6. More time for me to experiment with illustration again, yay!

… and the cons:

  1. Artists don’t get a pikapackage in return. Dang.

I’d like to think that Pikaland is a community-based place where we can bounce ideas and opinions off each other, so I’d like to hear what you think. This place is as much yours as it is mine, and I like to keep it that way. Take a poll on the left, or comment below to share your opinion. If you’d rather talk to me directly (or bring up anything and prefer it to be more private), email me at amy{AT}pikaland.com.

Any thoughts you would like to share with me on this would help me tremendously, thank you!

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44 thoughts on “The PikaPackage Project: Times are a’changin

  1. Amy you have done so much! It’s hard to be put on this fence – but it happens to everyone. You’ve thought about this hard – and this is a wonderful solution. And yes, it is important you also take care of your own creative needs ;)

  2. I agree letting people pick the art they want is a better way to go, even if you don’t get a packet in return, you can focus on the ones you like. Also, I like the faster turn-around time. I think it is the best way to go. You deserve time for yourself, too. Don’t short yourself. I love Pikaland, and am on board with whatever you decide. Thanks Amy.

    Shawna

  3. I completely understand and I think this sounds like a good solution. I think what you have done is fantastic with the whole Pika Project concept and the community you have created, its only natural that something will have to change in order to grow.
    I couldn’t be happier to hear that you will be able to do more of your gorgeous illustrations – which is super important because you stuff is fab and the world needs more of it!
    I feel honored to have taken part in one of the projects and wish you all the best with whatever you decide.
    Amy x

  4. I say yay!

    The original approach is lovely but did seem very time demanding – and the new direction sounds like a good idea – I agree with Ashely – at least on a trial basis.

    I’m sorry not to have participated earlier – would have loved a Pickapackage souvenir.

    Viva Pikaland
    :)

  5. All you have done so far, it was incredible value for all of us Amy. So THANKS SO MUCH, and go ahead with your own illustrations!!! (That are awesome…)

  6. It’s kinda sad that you gotta hold off PPP but I support you all the way to pursue your own interest as well.
    The alternative approach is great too. Maybe you can held a free/minimal fees download artwork from the artist based on the theme or concept.
    All the best to you!

  7. Sounds great. I honestly don’t know how you managed to do it all before. You’ve clearly thought this through a gazillion different ways. Kudos to you for keeping the PP going. Right on.
    Kathy
    wellerwishes.com

  8. Have you also considered selling the site to someone who might be able to continue to maintain it alongside you? But, you should definitely do what will be most successful for your own livelihood and happiness.

  9. ditto on the previous comments. your art comes first and the project can evolve according to your needs. i love the introduction to other artists through the site, and this means that can continue. it’s worth a try, right?

  10. If doing something just online would give you peace of mind as well as more time for art, I think you should go that direction.

    What if the featured artists were able to choose the number of pieces they were offering (either several of one type of edition, or single pieces of several different types) & the artist shipped them to the buyer directly from their own location?

    I do like the idea of being able to feature more artists/have a faster turn-around time for groups of featured artists… as long as it doesn’t turn into too much website work for you and your time isn’t eaten up that way!

    Best of luck with whatever direction you take!

  11. I completely understand what you’re saying. I think a lot of people will be sad to see the Pikapackage go, but you need to focus on your own work right now, and that’s something we all can relate to.

    Also, the new idea sounds great as well. And if the ‘no package in return’-thing is the only negative aspect of it, why not make sure that the featured artist sends the last featured artist a sample as well?

    Good luck and I am sure we will all benefit from you focusing on your own, lovely, illustrations and showing them to us on your blog. :-)

  12. hi amy, i’m sorry this has been stressing you out, the most important thing is that you enjoy it, since it is your project. and you get time to do your own work. so…i think it’s a good idea. i also like cloudery’s idea of being able to have a few pieces up or just one. it might make it more varied too. good luck with it!

  13. hello! i think you’ve done absolutely fantastic with the whole pikapackage idea and i cannot imagine how much time you’ve devoted to this, just for the benefit of both art-lovers and artists worldwide. So whatever your choice is, just know we’ll always be behind you! I love pikaland!

  14. go for it! although we’ve all benefited from your hardwork, you are the guiding hand behind the pika project. i can’t wait to see how it evolves.

  15. Yeah sounds like a great idea – you gotta do whats best for you and if more time for yourself is what you need then do it! I’m definitely up for the new changes :) x

  16. The idea does have merits, but… it sounds an awful like a collective blog where the writer features artists, links to their shop, plugs discounts and special offers, etc. In short, what you’re doing now, only browsers buy the artwork directly from you like on exclusive gallery sites . Or am I wrong?
    There’s nothing wrong with that, mind you, and it does seem to work both for the featured artists and the readers, who all get to enjoy looking into an eclectic curated collection. The important thing is to stress the community feeling that the pikapackage project had, so as not to deter new artists from submitting.

  17. I think there is only one way to see whether it will work or not and that is to give it a go…. it sounds good to me, and good if it frees up time for your own creative needs.

  18. It sounds good Amy. One needs to be brave to make big changes and having not everyone agree is just the way it goes.

    I applaud you for having a sensible and maleable approach and I think you will find your followers and participants equally maleable. I’ve really enjoyed visiting Pikaland to explore the work of different artists. You clearly have a passion for illustration so I’m sure you will just keep building on your idea even if it appears to be changing it’s form. Receiving a Pikapackage was a nice touch but was not the main reason I participated. Who knows, maybe there will be another better time and place for a different incarnation of the Pikapackage!

    As a participant whose contribution did vanish – I say GO FOR IT!

  19. Well, it’s not a completely new concept, but I would participate considering that the cost would not be too great. And by the way, I’m a professional web and graphic designer so if you need any help putting the site together let me know. Maybe we can work out a trade in there for advertising and artist space.

  20. Well done to you for re-working it. Despite how well loved Pikapackage is (to both you and us), it is a credit to you that you’re willing to re-create it in a way that will help it ultimately survive.

    Thank-you for your tireless efforts!

  21. I think this sounds like a good solution! You have done a fantastic job with the whole Pika Project concept and with the growing community here, it’s only natural to make changes in order to grow. :)
    Yipee, it’s also nice to know that with this change, you have more time to also focus on your own work…that is also very important!
    Altho im don’t do any illustration/art, i can’t be any happier to be a part of this community. :) You have my full support! Love to you!

  22. Hello Amy! I second, and third the comments that it is completely understandable you needing more time to persue your own art.

    I think the benefit of the PP was the low cost for participants (apart from making the art itself!) and of course receiving a package in return.

    I wonder if you could merge some of these benefits with your new concept like…
    One artist has the fee waivered (for your new weekly or monthly gallery concept), but in return has to be the collection point for all the artists to send in a certain number of their works to.
    One pack from this collection is used as a promotional tool/giveaway to the public to inspire blog hits, people checking out links etc. The rest of the art is distributed to the artist’s themselves, so they get an extra bonus for being part of the gallery group.
    The rest runs as you described, with artists sending their work direct to customers etc.
    I wonder if this would work?

    But again, I really think you have done an amazing job for artists, and best of luck what ever direction you take your wonderful blog, I’m sure it will be great and well supported.

  23. the most important thing is YOUR feeling!
    any business will fail – sooner or later – when the mind behind it, suffers. And I think – sooner or later – you suffer if you can´t find the time for your own thing to do.
    So don´t think too much about the artists – YOU gave them the base to show – so you are the conductor, and now there is time for a new play – sometimes you have to shut doors to open new ones!
    good ahead and good luck!
    and of course I hope I will get the chance to participate – I am pretty sure THIS project will be as successful as the last and I would be very proud to be on it!
    kindest regards from austria
    dolores

  24. i think your ideas are wonderful amy…if you feel the “call” to pursue your own work, i encourage you to place that as your top priority. i’m looking forward to seeing what you produce, i’m sure it will be lovely.
    thanks for creating a supportive community for artists/illustrators and i’m confident with the changes you make, it will continue to grow.
    good luck!!

  25. I like the idea as well, although I absolutely loved my Pikapackage I received when I contributed. But I completely understand. Give it a go, I think it is a good idea.

  26. Hey Amy! Thank you for sending this out.

    As a zine publisher and freelancer who organized projects on a previously monthly basis, I can sympathize with how you feel. It is an incredible service that you have been doing and, though I am sad I did not get involved in time to be in one of the packages, I completely understand. It eats huge chunks of time away from your life and you start feeling stagnant with your own work.

    I will happily participate in whatever project you come up with as I love what you are doing. I think you should put some of that wonderful energy back into yourself too and respect whatever decision you make. Us creatives tend to burn bright and sometimes forget to refuel.

    The limited edition gallery sounds wonderful. Will it rotate monthly? Will those up on a previous month still be available? Making it affordable and discounted is a plus. I know I am not alone in being “trade rich money poor”. As a freelancer, my life and work is dependent on sporadic client checks so there is very little left for ad space; I’ve not had to pay for advertising thankfully in 23 years so I don’t have the budget for it.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your plans! :::huge hugs::: Let me know if I can help in any way.

    Love and blessings,
    Ria :)

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