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Artist Spotlight: Karen Ahuja

Artist Spotlight: Karen Ahuja

Karen Ahuja - Karen Ahuja Studio, Fayetteville, AR

Karen Ahuja has a graphic design degree and a MBA. This combination allows her to be creative, yet she understands the need for business processes and delivering her products the buyer. It is important to understand why she creates and what drives her creative energy. Below is her artist statement.

“I believe that we are all creative beings. We are born with the ability to build, communicate and impact our world. I interpret the world around me in a visual medium because it allows me to create a narrative and translate my understanding of my environment and experiences in a way that connects others to my world. I primarily paint with acrylics and mixed media because water is such an important ingredient in the painting formula. Water is a powerful agent for change when it is allowed to move the paint, dilute the intensity, and mix new unique colors. Painting with acrylics allows me to layer quickly building the narrative of my piece. I have found excitement in playing in the area between the abstract and impressionistic styles. This allows me to pull things in and out of focus in my paintings. I don’t choose a certain type of subject matter. Instead, my subject matter is chosen by the story I am trying to tell. I want the viewer to connect or empathize with the struggles and know that they are not alone in their own life challenges.”

Describe your work.
Karen Ahuja Studio produces original acrylic paintings with the option to purchase reproductions on a variety of products including cards, canvas, metal, ornaments and home décor. You can have Karen Ahuja Studio images printed on additional products by contacting Karen. Feel free to ask about unique product lines created for your store.

How did you get started in the crafts business?
Moving into the craft business was a natural process for Karen Ahuja Studio. Many of my original paintings sell, but other clients want the paintings too and are willing to have the image reproduced. When ordering reproductions, clients have flexibility in purchasing a piece that will fit the design space. I began exploring gift and home décor ideas so my clients had unique gift and décor that held special meaning for them. You can find unique items like clocks, bedding, shower curtains, phone cases and cards with Karen Ahuja Studio images.

How long have you been wholesaling?
I have been working with local companies to provide options for retailing original artwork and reproductions since 2015. In 2017, I began working with wholesale websites to provide the same services to gift shops and galleries who have both online shops and brick and mortar.
 
What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?
When starting up my IndieMe artist page, I wanted to let people know that I am here. Just like moving into a new neighborhood, I like to introduce myself to my neighbors by becoming active in the community. 1. I look for opportunities to share my information that has a low start-up cost. Using the free and low-cost tools like Artist Spotlight and Featured Artist allowed me advertise my artist page. Letting buyers know my goals and educating buyers about my products, makes it easier for clients to know what they are buying and what I am providing both professionally and artistically. 

2. I communicate with my clients that I am an artist with a MBA degree. That means that I am providing unique products and I understand the business needs of my clients. It is equally important to provide unique products, clear communication, personal service and delivering on agreed commitments. 

3. My retail and commission businesses drive the need for reproductions especially of the trending products. As my retail business grows so does the wholesaling business. I spend a majority of my marketing and sales efforts in pursuing the building of the Karen Ahuja Studio brand in the original and commission markets, so that it can drive a reproduction and gift market.

What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?
My primary goal is to continue creating new designs and images. Over 80% of my business is retail and commission. Offering reproductions with wholesale pricing is the newest part of my business and is the fastest growing segment.

How has IndieMe helped your business?
Indieme is providing an online marketplace where buyers and artists can interact in a safe place. As a new artist at Indieme, they have provided opportunities for me to share my product in print and online mediums. IndieMe is investing in Karen Ahuja Studio because we are part of the growing family of artists and buyers who need a place to meet. If I have questions, I feel confident that I will receive the support and information needed to grow my wholesale business. IndieMe gives me tips and advice on ways to find success for my business.

What advice do you have for new craft artists?
As artists, we tend to focus on creativity and beauty. Our product is the most important part of our art business. Remember that product is only one part of the equation. You must balance your time creating with the time you need to run your business. This includes setting time aside for planning, finances, marketing, client relations and product delivery. Some of these tasks can be outsourced or automated, so look for opportunities to reduce the time it takes to do the boring business stuff so you get back to the fun creative time.

What advice do you have for new craft galleries?
Get to know the artists who are providing your store with unique gift items. We often have additional products that may be perfect for you store, but may not be on our Indieme artist page. Check out our websites or retail sites to see products that may be tailored to fit your needs.

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