Innovating Through Artistry

Contestant #7 Ann Rea

In Art, The Entrepreneurial Artist Competition on January 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm

© Ann Rea. All rights reserved and enforced. Absolutely no reproduction of any kind permitted.
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my story
For seven years I didn’t paint or draw anything. I worked at a variety of anxiety producing corporate jobs until I meet two stage-four breast cancer survivors. I realized then that life is too short to avoid pursuing my dream.

It is no accident that collectors comment that my paintings make them feel happy and calm. I started painting again as an active mediation to alleviate anxiety, a concern about the future. Painting the subject of light as color in a moment allowed me to “savor the colors of a moment ™”.

At the end of 2003, I quit my job, sold my house and moved to the beach in San Francisco. With the encouragement of renowned painters Wayne Thiebaud (an American Art Icon) I was finally determined to make a living as a painter and to pursue my dream.

I am reviving the tradition of the French Impressionists, with a contemporary point of view. Winemakers take me on a tour of their vineyards where I plant my easel. Then I paint the colors of the vineyards as they change with the seasons, creating authentic and timeless pieces reflecting the unique beauty of each vineyard. I sell the wineries the reproductions and accessories to retail or to offer as special promotional gifts. In return, they host me at their wine tasting events where I sell the originals to a target rich market.

The collectible status of my work is quickly increasing. My talent is commended by Wayne Thiebaud (an American Art icon). I have collectors across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Since 2007, my paintings, and my business, have been featured nationally on “Fine Living”, and in “Fortune” and “The Wine Enthusiast” magazines. And most recently my business was profiled in the book “Carreer Renegade”, by Jonathon Fields, and published by Random House.

my business
How did I avoid the myth of the “staving artist” and swim with the savage sharks of the art market? I went swimming somewhere else. I invented a new market, one where I could thrive. I built a business that offers value that did not exist before. I created a Blue Ocean Strategy* before I knew that there was a name for it. A Blue Ocean strategy creates value in a market space that did not exist before, making the competition irrelevant.

I established Studio Ann Rea as a sole proprietorship in January of 2004 to overcome the limits of the traditional marketing of art and to create opportunities by controlling the sale and the distribution of my art and to leverage my intellectual property. In 2007, I established Ann Rea Incorporated, an S Corp, as a profitable vehicle for my artistic career and as a business with an expanding catalog of products featuring my images. These products offer more passive forms of revenue.

From these “field studies” I paint in the vineyards I create custom merchandise featuring the paintings of the winery’s vineyards, including: fine art prints, stationary, and accessories. The winery may offer this merchandise as promotional gifts or retail it and double their investment. In return, they host me at their wine tasting events where I sell the originals to a target rich market, wine enthusiasts are collecting personalities.

The unique benefit to the winery is that they gain a permanent presence in the hearts and homes of their customers and they have an opportunity to double their investment.


In 2009, I will be expanding my company’s sales to other markets, including: more fine home décor and gift retailers, private collectors, private commissions, and interior designers.

my lessons
The “current state of the economy” is not the primary reason for a sales decline in 2008. The decline was caused by two major clients failing to meet their legal obligations to assist in the sales of the original paintings of their vineyards at their events. My company failed to respond with consistent marketing efforts to replace the lost sales.

When I refocused my marketing efforts in December 2008, I sold a record of 15 original oils to private collectors.

Four big and hard lessons that I have learned and actions I have and will take:

1. I must maintain consistent and measurable marketing efforts. I have learned that “marketing must be as regular as breathing”.**
· I have begun working with a Harvard graduate marketing consultant at the Oakland SBDC to complete and implement a measureable and consistent marketing effort.

2. I now realize that in order to thrive I must diversify my income streams so that my eggs are in not all in one basket.
· I am targeting wineries and interior designers and private collectors at affluent events.

3. I must have clearly defined contractual agreements with a means of accountability and teeth to enforce the terms.
· All of my contracts are under review by a business and copyright attorney.

4. I can only be so successful operating alone, I’m going to need a sales force to grow and experienced business advisors or mentors to help guide me.
· I am interviewing an experienced wine country merchandise rep next week.
· I have discovered the world of virtual assistants.

company vision
The vision for Ann Rea, Inc. is to firmly establish itself as the brand of tasteful wine country art and accessories while cultivating satisfying and profitable business relationships and alliances. This system will be repeated with other iconic landscapes, such as: wetlands, parks, seasides, and private gardens.

The goal is to leverage my intellectual property by building a brand that hosts a tasteful catalog of fine art merchandise and books. These products provide a source of more passive income, publishing.

The goal is to maintain simplicity and as little overhead as is possible by expanding on-line sales using affiliate marketing, social networking, and PR.

*Blue Ocean Strategy by Kim and Mauborgne

**Gorilla Marketing, by Leveinson.

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  1. Thanks Lisa and Ann Rea for the article. This ROCKS!

  2. Hi Amy
    I like your painting,and would like to thank you for your comment on my work,and your husband for giving a listen..
    Stan

  3. This is an awesome article! As an emerging artist / entrepreneur, this is invaluable information. I appreciate the sharing of success! May all boats float abundantly!

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