Corona aside, there are a couple of other ‘S’ words I could use to describe the surprises I have been tackling so far this year, but this is not the place for complaining! I am actually grateful for the provocation to re-think ‘Libby Page Paintings’ and my boutique concept, ‘Libby Page Living‘. However, to keep you in the loop, here are some of the challenges I’ve been facing and the decisions they have led to.

Shipping: Corona has pushed up the prices of shipments to the US and southern hemisphere by up to 50€, Brexit has nearly doubled shipping costs to the UK. I don’t mind charging 30€ to ensure the safe passage of a limited edition print, but it seems a bit steep to ask clients to part with that sum when the item they are purchasing costs less!

Shops & Sales Tax: In Germany, there are advantages to being an artist, we can apply to pay less social charges (considerably higher than in France!) and we can charge a reduced VAT rate, 7% instead of 19%. However, if you are seen to be selling too many items that are not considered to be art, then these privileges are taken away. Of course, I could simply set up another business, separating ‘Libby Page Paintings’ from ‘Libby Page Living‘ but that takes considerable time out of the studio, I’d need to employ someone and ensure that the ‘Libby Page Living‘ brand is turning over enough to cover their salary.

Satre: Cue Existential Crisis. Don’t worry, I love it when we are forced to take a deeper look into the WHYs of the things we do daily on autopilot. I’ve been caught up in the HOWs and it is good to stop and check what I really want to be doing. If “Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself” then, do I really want to build a retail brand or focus my artwork? Can I do both? Is there a third option?

Sign/Sing: I am mulling these options over with a big cup of tea and there is a little text attached to the tea bag. It instructs me to “Singt mit dem Herzen” Sing with my heart. I smile at the timely reminder. What makes my heart sing about the cushions and things is the joy that they bring people; I often hear stories of how they have really lifted up someone’s living space, one customer’s guests even took the cushions away with them when they left! What does not make my heart sing so much is constantly keeping my eye on stock levels, cycling to the post office in the rain balancing parcels on my bike and waiting and waiting for things to arrive safely.

Solution: I am going to wind down the boutique and let my little heart sing in the studio.

Sad? Don’t be! Once a year, to coincide with my annual exhibition in France, I will create a limited selection of new cushion cover designs, cards and of course, the calendars to keep supplying my faithful annual supporters. I can’t let you down! This way, I can focus on the studio for most of the year and just have a seasonal splash in the secret boutique. Once the stock is gone, it’s gone and I can get back to painting. Remember how to find the secret door? (At the bottom of any page on my site, click on the @ symbol, this is the secret doorway into Libby Page Living.)

Sentiments: I’d be interested to know if you have any strong thoughts about this, do feel free to get in touch or leave a comment below.

See you! Libby 🙂