College Professor Turns Entrepreneur In Search Of Encore Career
(EMAILWIRE.COM, July 29, 2015 ) Kirkland, WA -- Transforming a hobby into a second career is a well-worn retirement path. After teaching communication courses for 30 years at a small college on the east-side of Seattle, Collage artist GJ Gillespie dreamed of an arts related encore career. Producing more than 400 paintings, displayed on web pages, earned him awards and 16 art shows near his home and even Vancouver, Canada.
At a business alumni dinner honoring MBA graduates, Gillespie sat with the speaker, a former student, John Quick of Seattle Research Labs, who sells physical products on Amazon. Quick introduced Gillespie to a mastermind community that teaches entrepreneurs how to navigate the Amazon world. Gillespie enrolled in an eight-week online marketing class taught by successful business owners who explained steps of starting a scaleable online business. He learned how to create his own brand, source products from suppliers, and then let Amazon handle all shipping.
He brainstormed possible art products, including frames, acrylic paint and colored pencils. Finally he selected artist sketchbooks as a promising market niche. For example, one brand of sketchbook ranks 47 in Amazon's art category out of 50,000 products. In June 2015 he launched Leda Art Supply, naming the new business after the Greek myth about the mother of Helen of Troy the most beautiful woman in the world.
Researching stationary suppliers in the US, the UK, Canada, India and China, Gillespie chose a manufacturer in Shanghai to produce his product. He reasoned that a sketchbook business was a good choice since he and his wife have filled hundreds of art journals on their travels over the years. He knew what he liked about sketchpads and set out to include features he imagined would appeal to other artists as well.
A single prototype sample of the sketchbook was mailed to him from the manufacturer for usability testing. Satisfied with the design, Gillespie ordered 500 sketchbooks which eventually made their way to Amazon Fulfillment Centers for distribution. The fledgling enterprize took flight in July when books went on sale, drawing a steady increase in customers.
About Leda Art Supply of Kirkland
Leda Art Supply of Kirkland is dedicated to helping artists make the world a more beautiful place. It provides Sketchbooks for Artists through Amazon.
Leda Art Supply of Kirkland
GJ Gillespie, Creative Director
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