How One Wild Idea Radically Shifted My Art Business
[00:00:00] Well, hello. Hello artists. Welcome back to Unfold with Kellee Wynne. We're continuing with our series, the artist in the business. And when I say artist, I mean this one right here, this artist and her business and the experience I've been through the ups and downs, the roller coasters, the challenges and my dogged persistence to make it work. But I figured if I continue to share with you all the behind-the-scenes, all the things that I've failed at and succeeded at it'll help you make some decisions too for where you wanna go with your art business. Look, it's not an easy road. It's worth it. Absolutely worth it, but it's not an easy road and I wanna help build some confidence on this journey.
[00:00:45] Maybe you're seeing what I talk about and saying, oh yeah, I've been there. I understand that I've had the same experience or maybe you have something completely opposite that you've tried some of the things I've done and you've stumbled upon the perfect chemistry for your art business, the things that I couldn't make work, maybe you've made work. But no matter what your journey is on, there's some still some universal truths.
[00:01:10] And I love to just keep imparting that upon. My audience, my friends, my colleagues here that are listening to me on unfold and making sure that we stay sane in this crazy journey that we're on and, and share the truth so that, you know, we can protect each other. We can support each other. We can collaborate with each other and, and when we can build a bigger community of support and honesty and transparency in this online journey because you know, what more do we have?
[00:01:43] Anyhow, today's story is gonna pick up where we left off from last week's episode when I was giving you all the secrets about behind-the-scenes of the gallery life, at least from my point of view and the years that I worked as a curator.
[00:01:57] So if you haven't heard that episode, go back, take a listen. Some of the things that. Talk about, is kind of a hard pill to swallow, which is, it's not as lucrative as you think. And that might also give you a real good clue as to why I'm here now with the online space, with my business, with art education, with coaching, with creative programs, with the summit, the things that I love and I'm passionate about now, I had to fail so many things before to get to this point, but how did I get here is the question and I wanna go much earlier than 2017 because Color Crush Creative began in 2017. But my online journey started way before that. In fact, I could probably even trace back to my earliest desires to create some sort of social media following, collaborations, exposure, or maybe fame from being online all the way back to my scrapbooking days.
[00:03:02] So back in the 2000s as we were all just coming online regularly now I was really into scrapbooking. In fact, if you recall, I've mentioned I've been published in scrapbooking magazines. I did trade work for scrapbooking companies. I've won awards in scrapbooking. However, I always got paid in scrapbooking supplies.
[00:03:23] And so I knew that my deepest desire was to come back to art-making for myself. But during those years I learned a lot. I learned a lot about presentation. I learned a lot about showing up online in forums, socializing with people all over the world, how to take really good photos of my work so that I could put them online.
[00:03:43] There was something about that experience. Um, all of the scrapbooking forums I was really into Studio Calico and the art and the scrapbooking supplies that they would provide there really lent to a lot of creativity while I was a young mom with kids at my feet and, and not a lot of time spare for creativity.
[00:04:06] But from that, I also learned a lot of social etiquette. I understood more about how to communicate, how to show up and make a presence. I really appreciate those years that I spent in the forums and sharing my work and dedicated to that passion, because it led me to the next phase, which was blogging and Facebook, you know, remember our, our earliest days with social media started well.
[00:04:32] Okay. I'll be honest, it started with My Space, but that didn't really get going the way Facebook got going. And from Facebook, I found an outlet for my blog. I quickly realized it was a lot more than just storytelling about my life with monkeys, which was my children. At the time I was talking about it was creativity.
[00:04:52] It was my journey back to painting. It was about the decision that aha moment in 2008 that I said, I will come back to painting. I will come back to art. And so I shared that journey and I began things like Friday Happy Hour if you recall. I even brought that back on my Instagram, where every Friday I was talking about why it was the best week ever.
[00:05:14] And what I was grateful for, I talked about how I was making art and what my goals and dreams were and how I was gonna get. I think this was a catalyst for me, a turning point for understanding the rhythm of online and how to share my story. And it wasn't long from there that I started creating Facebook groups.
[00:05:37] So you can see this is a long history coming in from the two thousand and into the early teens, creating Facebook groups where I can bring people together and encourage their creativity. I've always been a cheerleader. In fact, I'm an anagram seven, which is the campaigner, the person who wants to bring people along for the adventure.
[00:05:58] I'm always looking to see where is the next big spark and how can I spread that to everybody? That's just been my personality since childhood. And so being able to create Facebook groups and bring people along on that journey. Was just a natural byproduct of who I am and how I like to show up in this world.
[00:06:19] It was from those groups from creating you're gonna, you're gonna laugh at this from creating the 100 artworks challenge. Yes, I did. I created the 100 artworks challenge. I had no clue what the 100-day project was none, but I knew of from my experience and from what my great uncle had taught me that the only way that you were gonna get good at making art was to make a hundred paintings and then make a thousand.
[00:06:46] So I started with the 100 artwork challenge. I did it for myself and I encouraged others in my Facebook group. I kid you not things just come out from the muse is in this world and they impart on whomever they will listen. And in this case I listened but I didn't, I wasn't the one who made it the worldwide phenomenon that it is today.
[00:07:07] However, I did spark some joy in the few people who were there in that Facebook group. And by few, I actually, I mean, I think I had two or 300 people who were in that Facebook group and they were very active and it was a lot of fun to encourage them. Well, the group kinda waned and wandered as I was off on my big curating expeditions and working on building the gallery that way.
[00:07:33] Oh, while still maintaining this relevancy online and building up a small social media following on Instagram once to be, you know, 2014, I think I came online to Instagram and continuing to push what I knew and how I was gonna be able to show up for others and encourage them to make more art.
[00:07:55] All right. So that's the long story of how I got to 2017, April 19th, specifically. And it's a very important day. Because that was the day that Color Crush Creative was born. And in my heart, that's really, when I fully came online in my presence to, to really be the leader in the industry and create something that was going to be my legacy.
[00:08:20] I don't think I knew exactly that's what was happening. But in hindsight, I can say that I really pinpoint the day where everything changed for me. Well, what happened was I was in my little Facebook group and I'm like trying to figure out how to revive it and get people excited about making art. And I asked, what do you need right now?
[00:08:39] What would help you with your artwork? And one artist said I'm stuck in a color rut. I keep using the same color palettes all the time. How am I supposed to come up with new ideas? What can we do? And I said, just give me an hour, maybe two, and I'll be back. Cuz I have an idea, boom, my best projects always come the quickest and when I don't overthink it and I just do it and I just did it.
[00:09:08] And in that evening was born Color Crush Creative. And the full idea came to realization, which was every week I would create a new color palette. I would use images of other people's artwork, I would use non-work images and I would pull together beautiful palettes and curate them and share them online and encourage other people to make art or craft projects or photography or, or whatever they wanted to make using those colors as their inspiration.
[00:09:41] Right. The business side of me thought now, how can I make this a growing thing for my business? Even if I'm not monetizing this at the moment. And I hatched the plan that I would release the pallet on Fridays to my mailing list. So everybody who was on my mailing list would get the pallet early and have the whole weekend to work on it so that I could share it on my Instagram account, Color Crush Creative, and on Mondays, I would post the pallet publicly, but everyone had already been working on it through the whole weekend because they were on mailing list. And they got that pallet early plus tips and tricks and advice about art and supplies and color theory and whatever fun things in my color for your inbox. And it was a huge success in all honesty, people flock to get on my email list. And they participated relentlessly for the entire year, as I showed up week after week after week with a new palette and asking for nothing in return, but maybe your name on my mailing list.
[00:10:44] Many of you who are listening, probably remember those days and got on the mailing list and participated in Color Crush Creative. But I would say that this was a huge jumping point for my business to grow online. It created authority. That I was the color queen. You still think of color you probably still think of Kellee and Color Crush Creative. It created a community, was a wonderful community of people who were very enthusiastic and participating and a built in sharing mechanism because every time that they posted their artwork, they knew they had a chance of being shared on my Instagram feed. So they would tag Color Crush Creative. They'd use the hashtags. They'd talk about it. They'd encourage other friends to join. And the account grow quite rapidly.
[00:11:32] It was also at this time that I knew that I wanted to start teaching online because I had started teaching in person as well. I'd been doing workshops for a whole year. I had been teaching. All of the different types of art that I was making from seascapes to florals, um, and other kinds of projects that were loads of fun to do.
[00:11:54] And I had a lot of questions coming in all the time. How do I make these colors? Where did you get these colors? Are you buying individual tubes? But I was using a digital palette, meaning that I was color picking out of the images. I didn't actually know how to make those colors. I could probably color match, but who wants to buy 400 tubes of paint to try and match the palettes perfectly.
[00:12:18] And from there, that's where my color theory method, my alternative color theory method came to being, which is how to mix just about any color that you see. using just three colors of paints plus white, and that would be primary magenta, primary cyan and primary yellow plus white of course, and my favorite brand using golden paints.
[00:12:43] However, there are lots of other brands out there that you can use and buy those primary colors now. And so my color theory was born and out of that came my first ever online offer Color My Life, which you can still get to this day for only $37 color. Color My Life was 14 days of color of mixed media projects of learning all about the things that you can do with paint and your supplies and mark making and mix media and put it all together.
[00:13:15] Either choice, either a little fun book or as I wanted to do was make an entire color wall. And I'm talking kind of wistfully about this because it was an exciting time for me to invent something completely new. I wasn't copying what other people were doing. I, I knew and understood the, that online courses were a thing and that they were popular and they were viable.
[00:13:41] And I just came up with the most exciting ideas and it's been nonstop, exciting ideas since then, in all honesty, if I can imagine it, I can create it. If I think outside of the box, I come up with things like Virtual Art Summit or timeless art course or traveling. And bringing that back into the studio.
[00:14:01] It's just like, it was the perfect mix, Color Crush Creative was such a beautiful push into that realm of online. And so from it, True Colors was born and this was the first mistake that I made. Haha. You knew there was a twist to this story. True Colors was my membership, which was super fun and very successful from the get go.
[00:14:28] I had 75 people sign up on the very first day open doors, which I think was a pretty big success. I'd been building up to it by having the Color My Life project, and opening the doors to my membership with guest artists. Color palettes and mixing every single month. And here was the mistake. I think I should have given it a different name because now things got a little bit confusing.
[00:14:53] What do you mean you have palettes from Color Crush Creative, but what is true colors? How is that different and how are they the same? And I got a lot of people saying I don't get it. I'm, I'm kind of confused as to what you're offering. So I wanna just point out my first mistake was not honing in on what I was already using and doing name wise with my Color Crush Creative brand.
[00:15:19] I was, convoluting my message. This was probably the first challenge I came upon with starting my online business and opening up the doors to make money was the consistency was lost there. The message was lost and my clarity was lost by not continuing on with the thing that I had already built that was successful and well known.
[00:15:41] And that was Color Crush Creative. And the mistake I made after that was to actually take the name, Color Crush Creative of the Instagram account and change it to the True Colors Art Program. I changed the Instagram handle and I nearly lost it all. All that beautiful lush feeling. That playfulness and joy of Color Crush Creative.
[00:16:05] And I'm not saying True colors Art Program's bad. It's just, well, one, it doesn't have quite the energy that Color Crush Creative has. And two, it wasn't as well known or established. And I watched my Instagram following there tank quite quickly, once I changed the name, but I persevered, I had my True Colors Art Program, and I was pretty proud of this baby.
[00:16:30] And I was really proud of being able to finally make money, be profitable as an art business. After all those years of curating and bringing home $400 in a month after having worked, I don't know, 120 hours. It was really quite ridiculous to have busted my ass for nothing for so long, or maybe it was quite wise of me because it meant that I learned everything I needed to know to be able to be successful online and how to show up regularly and consistently.
[00:17:00] And I did that for true colors. Nonstop from 2018 when I launched it till the big 2020. And we all know how hard 2020 was , let's be honest. That was the year that changed everything for everyone in so many ways, the pandemic shut everything down and everyone was online all of a sudden.
[00:17:22] And the truth is I was poised and ready. I had the platform. I had the voice, I had the resources, I had, the connections I showed up and I really kept showing up. And I kept showing up and I did everything I could to serve, which I am very proud of, but I also realized I left no boundaries for myself. I did paintathons. I created extra content for my membership.
[00:17:50] I did the Virtual Art Summit. That was my very first year of the Virtual Art Summit. And I also had this shift happening in me where I wanted more. I wanted to be able to go deeper. I wanted to talk more to the established artist. I wanted to be able to pull something out of everybody and get them to really create from a place of authenticity.
[00:18:12] And my message had not matched my vision, which you will find as you listen to Unfold with Kellee Wynne as the months and years go on and we discuss how important it is that your message and your vision match in order to have a successful business. That disconnect was actually making it harder for me to bring people into the membership and retain them. And it was making it harder for me to know what to say and know what to do and know how to show up. And it kind of got messy at this point. It got messy. And I'm okay with that. Because again, each little curve along the way is teaching me something else is teaching me how to show up online.
[00:18:52] It's teaching me what I like and what I don't like, all that content and all that work that I had done. And I hit a wall. A wall so hard at the end of the summer of 2020, all the work we had done to support everyone else through the pandemic. I had done nothing to support myself. I worked tirelessly and relentlessly 60, 70 hours a week without stop. And without the kind of outlets that we normally had, which was socialization, because everything was online and we weren't going out.
[00:19:26] And I knew that there was something bigger that I was meant to do, and I had a vision for it, but it wasn't completely clear. However, I knew it wasn't for moving forward with True Colors with my membership. And so I apologize for all of you who were members of true colors and it came as a big surprise, but for many of you, it wasn't.
[00:19:51] I shut down in September of 2020 and closed the doors of my membership. We can discuss the pros and cons of membership another day and the virtues of courses and the virtue of being online and sharing your talent. I'm not saying a, membership's a bad idea. I'm just saying, I don't think I did it right for me. And I don't think I set the right healthy boundaries for success for my business, but damn did I learn a lot? I learned a lot about what to do, what not to do, how to make videos, how to have a platform, all the tech and technology, all the marketing and sales, everything those first two years taught me, kept me growing year after year, since then.
[00:20:37] So what happened to Color Crush Creative is the question at this point. What happened to that beautiful brand that I had switched the Instagram account and I retired the Color Crush Creative, and it sat there. Dormant website had been bought. The palettes, had been made the blog posts were there, the guest, and it was all just sitting there quietly. Unassumingly wondering. Hello, Kellee. When are you going to visit me again? And Kellee had big ideas. That's me thinking big for , 2021 every year. I think bigger and better, but every year I keep coming up against my own resistance.
[00:21:14] And I will say, this is one of the biggest problems artists have entrepreneurs have, uh, big dreamers have is the resistance, the resistance of doing what you want and making progress with. And stopping yourself for fear something might go wrong for fear of making the wrong decision or the right decision. Then finding yourself right in the same spot, again, creating something that wasn't working for you. And the way that you move in this world.
[00:21:44] Creating a business means that we need to create something around the lifestyle we wanna live. And I kept getting stunted by that fear, that resistance that I was gonna create something that wasn't sustainable again. And I did not want. Ever have to shut down a project that I was doing right in the middle of it and leave my customers stranded. Well, I'll be honest.
[00:22:06] They weren't completely stranded. I have now since then taken all of my content that I had created for True Colors, plus many other projects that I'd worked on in the short two years and I turned 'em all into courses instead of launching some big online course or project, like I had dreamed of doing, I chose to make 20 21, my year of finishing also, it was the year that my book launched. So if you don't know this, I have a book published by Corey books. I'm very proud of this book because it's all about the root of who I am.
[00:22:40] Mixed Media Color Studio, a Mixed Media Color Studio came out in 2021. I'd been working on it for two years through the pandemic. Oh yeah that's another reason I was burning out. Throw a book into that mix. There's so many things, so many different layers and nuances to building a business. And if you're not careful, you're gonna overload yourself. And in this case, that was one of the things that was like the straw on the camel's back.
[00:23:06] And here I was in 2021 thinking what happened to my dear Color Crush Creative and wouldn't, you know what? I was able to switch True Colors Art Program, Instagram handled back to Color Crush Creative. It was still there waiting for me as if it was destiny.
[00:23:23] So that catastrophic mistake. That could have been, has been recovered. And I say catastrophic mistake because Color Crush Creative is my baby. It is my happy place. It is the joy of what launched my whole online business. And I didn't wanna lose it. I didn't wanna lose that joy, but I also in 2021, as I was trying to recover it and bring it back, didn't know how to bring it to fruition.
[00:23:50] Again, like I did the first year that I had launched it. See, here's the. In the spring of 2021, I knew my book was gonna come out and I really wanted to double down on color. So I made it the whole summer of color and I started sharing all my newly rereleased art courses.
[00:24:10] Many of them are all about color, color, mixing, color theory. Painting an acrylic and mixed media, and then understanding and incorporating color in that. Uh, I love the courses that I've made. I'm really proud of the quality of them and the thoroughness of which I've developed them. And I was really excited about the book coming out. So I thought, why not launch the palettes again?
[00:24:35] And here's a funny thing about the story. What worked in 2017 did not work in 2021. Four years later and it's like, Nope. Been there, done that. Instagram's not working the way it used to. However, here we are with this account slowly reviving it, creating some color palettes, having a little bit of traction, but not really knowing my way yet knowing that there was still something else.
[00:25:01] And I was missing those pieces and unable to put them together. So my second start on Color Crush Creative, which was just last year fizzled out by the end of summer, it was one of those moments where I'm like, I'm still not sure where I'm going and how to get my footing. And knowing that I was about to take on new big projects, like my mastermind and this podcast, and hoping to switch the narrative from always teaching art courses, to being able to teach you how to build your amazing remarkable business was kind of stuck in a middle place. It was where do I go from here? How do I, how do I move forward from here? And, and again, there, it was a little trickle off where was Color Crush Creative going?
[00:25:56] And this year I was faced with a decision. Do I move forward with Color Crush Creative, or do I shut it down forever? And let it go. This little thing that I started that became a big thing and became a beautiful brand in and of itself, it wants to shine. And so this is my story of bring. Full circle back around and bringing Color Crush Creative back to the forefront again.
[00:26:23] And what I've done is taken all those juicy courses, all of the color, Color My Life, color mixing lab, seascape, escape, lush, LCAPs all the melange, all the virtual arts summit. And I've totally given it a fresh, happy makeover and brought. the fun and playfulness that is Color Crush Creative, and I've moved them all to their own platform with their own branding and their own voice.
[00:26:53] And I wanna tell you one of the main reasons I'm doing this, it's because of messaging. Like I just said that vision of what you want and your messaging needs to be clear. And I knew that the messaging of color crush creative was that of inspiring artists to make whether you are doing it for fun, you're a hobbyist, you're a beginner. You're, you're an entry level into the art world, or you've been making art for a long time and you just wanna be inspired having that voice to be able to speak for it. Can come through Color Crush Creative, and it has a place to grow and blossom. I see rainbows when I think of Color Crush Creative, I see parties and glitter and all that little fun joy that keeps us giddy like children still again, and our heart's a light.
[00:27:44] And when I think of Color Crush Creative, and I think of the courses that I've created. And the way that I've presented the work online up until this point, I know without a doubt that the two belong together, it is the magic that should have been in 2017. When I first started with color palettes and knew it was gonna lead into teaching online and motivating online and encouraging and creating community, I knew that's where Color Crush Creative meant was meant to go.
[00:28:12] And somehow along the way, The path I lost it and brought it back and lost it again. And yet here it is still thriving. In fact, good news is, is even the domain color crush.com is now secured under the Color Crush Creative umbrella color crush home. Dot com color crush, kids.com who knows where color crush can really go.
[00:28:38] And that is the point I'm trying to make. I'm thinking big. I'm thinking for the future, I'm thinking about bringing other artists in under the brand and being able to highlight and share more of what you do when you create, when you show up, when you have something to offer, I want color crush creative to be the place that you think about collaboration.
[00:28:59] That you think about wanting to make art with, when you think about wanting to have something fun to do on a Sunday afternoon, that's just gonna fill your heart with prisms of color. Just can you feel the joy and the enthusiasm about it? And this is my vision for where I see color crush creative going.
[00:29:18] And why is that? Because Color Crush Creative can have its own voice. It has its own site. It has its own Instagram feed. It has its own energy. In all honesty, I'm hiring a team specifically to help me make it the very best that it can be so that the customer service is on par and everyone feels nurtured and loved when they come into the world of Color Crush Creative.
[00:29:40] And that way I can open up the pathway for Kellee Wynne Studios to speak under the Unfold with Kellee Wynne Podcast on her YouTube channel with her Catalyst Mastermind, encourage you about business, to coach you. So that you can make your own remarkable future of the things that you imagine and dream up and create for yourself.
[00:30:04] How's that? Does that make sense? When I said your vision and your messaging must match, that's what I'm doing here. That's why I'm separating out the two sides of me, my silly little playful, happy and joyful Color Crush Creative, and my passionate burning fire of Kellee Wynne Studios and the art business and marketing programs that I've been developing over the last six months.
[00:30:34] So here is my message to you when you have a beautiful idea that sparks go with it and trust your gut. That one day. April 19th, 2017. I had an idea that sparked, I felt it in my bones, in my gut, and maybe, maybe I got lost along the way, but it still was the best idea I ever had bringing Color Crush Creative into this world.
[00:31:02] And I am so thrilled to be holding onto it at this very moment. with my tender heart, hoping for it to be revived into the most beautiful fun place for you to be online when you think of making art, let those sparks happen and follow your instincts. Trust your intuition. You never know where it's gonna take you, but hopefully if it's done right, if it's done with love and integrity and passion, it's gonna bring you something that's just as joyful as color crush creative.
[00:31:34] All right. My dear friends and artists, all of you hoping to build your remarkable business, go and find me. Kelleewynnestudios.com/100, and you can get your PDF 100 ways to make money as an artist without selling your art because there are so many ways to think outside of the box. And I wanna help you think outside of the box, the way I did with color crush creative, the way I did with my online programs with virtual art summit and all the other really fun offerings that I have, that I'm bringing into fruition here in this world.
[00:32:09] And if you've enjoyed this podcast, Would you please share it? I would be so honored if you would share it with somebody else that you knew this would make a difference too. Share it on Instagram. Tag me at Kelly win studios. Remember that's K E L L E E WY N N E studios. And I'd be happy to share it in my feed, my stories. So join me next week. As we continue this series, the artist in the business, where I share all the behind-the-scenes secrets tips, tricks, and all of the juicy details of what it takes to be an entrepreneur. All right. To Lou, see you later. Bye.
If you'd like to listen to or learn more about the podcast visit https://www.maderemarkable.com/blog for our show notes and links to the main players.