(PRWEB) February 13, 2014
Always a fan of the unique and handmade, Jessica Meulendyke (from Milwaukee, WI) has scoured stores, both online and off, for the perfect gifts, but it was frustrating seeing the same pieces over and over. So, she and her husband, John, created Uphill Art as a way to help amateur artists to grow their businesses and gain exposure.
"I love finding the perfect gift for the perfect event," Jessica says. "But not everyone wants the same stamped jewelry or identical owl painting (though I am a huge fan of owls and constantly wear my stamped necklace!). It got me thinking about how some artists make it and others don't despite having quality, unique pieces. It's all about knowing the right way to get in front of potential customers and every little bit of help helps."
John and Jessica run two - weekly preliminary contests in a variety of mediums - everything from photography and painting to knitting and jewelry making. This preliminary week is open to any artist in the field; then these entries are cut down to the Final 5. The pieces from these Final 5 are entered into the Uphill Art Store for three weeks. The artist who sells the most in their three weeks wins the contest, 90% of their profits from the store, and a place in the Hall of Winners (2nd place wins 80%, etc.).
Jessica adds, "So far the response from artists has been amazing. They just appreciate that others enjoy their work. There are so many amazing artists out there trying to sell these awesome gifts, but they get lost in the masses. I love etsy, but most of the time we don't get past the first page or two, and that's a shame because there are great items further in!"
Beyond the contests, John and Jessica are accumulating articles and teaching pieces for the artists to continue to grow their businesses after the contest. Though they both do a decent amount of writing themselves, they want to use what's already out there (and promote other great small business leaders, too).
"I think what really sets Uphill Art apart is the artists," John explains. "Sure, you can find great gifts through other sites, but these artists are really pulling together to help each other out. And that's going to help everyone far more than we can with a little contest."
Bonus point: Uphill Art is committed to donating 10% of all profit to nonprofits. The winning artist of each contest gets to decide where the money goes.