Two Red Trees: Interview + Inspiration
What is your store name and is there a story behind it?
Two Red Trees’ name comes from a wonderful story. Whilst I was studying for my Masters degree in Illustration I came across a picture book called The Red Tree by Shaun Tan. It’s a beautifully illustrated tale of great things happening when you least expect them – I loved the message of hope behind it and somehow it just felt right to pay homage to this wonderful little book.
What do you love most about what you do?
Mostly I love the matchmaking – connecting creative people with the buyers who love their products. I also love working with talented designers and makers and seeing the amazing creations they produce. Being an artist myself I know very well how hard it can be to get your work out there and what a rollercoaster being a creative can be. I was never very good at self-promotion but I love doing it for other people who I really believe in. I’ve built up some great relationships with the people I work with and it always put a big smile on my face when I see their items selling through the Two Red Trees.
What makes your store unique?
We’re unique in many ways. We try to find work that is not readily available elsewhere, this might be recent graduates or people that we’ve found down in Cornwall where I live who were only selling their work through local galleries.
Because our sellers have control of their own ‘shop’ areas within the site then the range of products is always kept fresh. I check and tweak the site on a daily basis so that things are always kept interesting. I am always adding new categories and finding new ways of displaying the products. I like to think that the site is a place people keep coming back to because they can’t quite resist checking out what’s new.
How do you select the items you sell?
Firstly I always try to look for things that I haven’t seen before, things with character and soul. Two Red Trees is about craftsmanship and quality. If that doesn’t come through then it’s not right for us.
I also look at photography. Bad photography lets the whole site down so it wouldn’t be fair to the other sellers to let them through the net. It’s also quite telling if someone hasn’t got good photos of their products, it suggests that they don’t take pride in what they do, and that’s off-putting.
Any tips for artists to get in stores?
Make the store’s decision easy. Don’t cut any corners. Give the decision makers all the info they need and then throw in something extra like a story behind how you make your pieces.
I really notice when people get back to me quickly and efficiently – I love it and it makes me want to work with them! If you are going to be sending out items that are ordered through a website that is not your own (drop shipping) then it’s important to show that you are organised otherwise you’ll have them in a panic that the orders aren’t going to be fulfilled.
For increasing sales in general, I’ve been working on a book that is due to be completed soon that offers creatives tips on how to earn a living from their hobbies. Please see getpaidforyourpassion.wordpress.com for more details.
What items in your shop are you loving right now?
Everything! I’m really proud of our current collection but if you really twisted my arm I’d say:
1) Topaz stone pendant by Kathryn Hague
2) Hand printed rustic hare cushion by Helkat Design
3) Buteo Silk Scarf by Nanukk
Any tips for following your dreams?
Don’t over-think things. You’ll never work it all out before you start and so just get going and work it out along the way! Even if you completely mess it up you’ll learn so much and do it better next time.
I read a lot and these are the books that I’ve found particularly inspirational:
The Red Tree by Shaun Tan
Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
Do you have a favorite quote?
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” Milton Berle
Editors Note: After Anna got in touch with me I wanted to learn more about her and her shop. I found the video above on her about page and it made me think of all of you! I hope you find the time to watch it, to be inspired and to be proud of what you do!Share on Facebook