Not surprisingly, with the frenetic pace I’ve been keeping lately, I almost let Fresh Rag’s 100th post slip past me without much fanfare. Because I didn’t know it was the 100th post, it wasn’t a particularly special post, but I’m still happy that it happened, albeit surprised it came around so quickly.
Fresh Rag is a little over a month old now, but even in that short time, I’ve learned quite a bit about the site as well as myself. I started the site as a vehicle toward other goals, like an online gallery to sell the works of other artists, and eventually host some special curated events. Those are both still goals, but as I consider the future of Fresh Rag, I need to think a bit bigger.
Content is King
Since starting the ongoing Unique Paper series, I’ve discovered something while interacting with all the different artists and designers: They are ecstatic about having somebody other than themselves talk about their work, even if that somebody is a small, upstart blog. The featurettes on each individual are easily consumable pieces for readers, and the artists love being featured, but they’re not going to be the driving force of Fresh Rag in the future.
Feature posts will continue to be the main subject for the time being, but they don’t attract the masses like long-form content—posts with more information and substance. Whenever I post pieces that are more substantial in content and point of view, more people visit, interact and share. Since my goal is to get Fresh Rag into the eyes of more readers, sharing is essential, so I’ll be posting more long-form content on a regular basis, maybe 2 or 3 times a week.
One thing that the Unique Paper series brought to light is I need to be even more selective with who I feature. I made a commitment to talk about all of the paper artists showcased at Unique LA, but in complete fairness, there have been some that don’t quite fit what we’re going for here. It’s not that they’re bad, just not the style I want to showcase. I’m following through with my commitment for this show, but when we do these series in the future, I’m going to vet the featured artists a little more.
We’re All in This Together
As well as me bringing your work here, I’ll also be doing my part to come to some of you. I plan on attending as many shows that I can, starting locally first, and working my way out to other shows as things progress. To grow a network, you have to be a networker. Time to shake a lot of hands, take a lot of photos and make some new long-lasting relationships.
One thing I want to create here, but not 100% sure how it will come about yet, is a community. I want this to be a place where people congregate, maybe to hang out with artists, learn techniques, discover new work and even create impromptu gatherings or published collaborations. I have no clue how to get there from here, but that’s the goal and I’m pushing forward, for the benefit of everyone involved.
Of course, I’ll need your help because without you, there is no community. If anyone here has any thoughts about what we should be talking about and sharing, I encourage you to share, either with the group, or hit me up directly by email: submissions[at]freshrag[dot]com.. I may not necessarily go with your ideas, but I freely encourage you to share them because it may inspire other opportunities, for which you’ll be given full credit.
Gotta Pay the Bills
For the moment, Fresh Rag doesn’t cost much to run, but if it is to be the resource I eventually want it to become, funding will be necessary. Aside from being a space for curation and facilitation, I plan on running Fresh Rag as a business. I will eventually create some quality, limited-edition products to sell, maybe some wearables, but that’s a little bit down the road.
If you’ve been on the site to read some of the posts, you’ve likely seen the few banners in the sidebar. Currently, those are donated spaces to some of the homies who helped me get to this place. I originally intended those spots to be advertising, but the more I read about traditional banner ads, the less I feel good about charging money for the spaces unless I can provide some real return on investment. Instead, those banners will become links within the site to key feature articles on those artists.
Banner ads are out for now, but I do have other sources of revenue planned, for which you can read Fresh Rag’s full disclosure, but I solemnly promise to make this site completely worthwhile and will not whore it out for the sake of a dollar bill. However, I do want to make this a fully operational entity that generates income, but only because its what I want to do full time. The more revenue generated, the more Fresh Rag can grow. The more it grows, the quicker I can provide a better platform with more resources for everyone.
Nothing would please me more than to be so successful I have to leave the day job so I could dedicate my life to facilitating the work of others here. The more I work on Fresh Rag, the more I realize I’ve tapped into something I really want to do for the long term. It gives me great pleasure to share another artist’s work, and the only thing that would be better than hearing them gush over being showcased is them telling me they sold something because of this site. That is my immediate definition of success.
I know this is a ton of information to ingest, but I think it’s important to share everything with you, and I encourage all of you to let me know how you feel about it. Share your thoughts in the comments below so we can start a conversation. I’m all ears.