alumni business profile

Wendy Hazen Designs

Wendy Hazen '70
Wendy Hazen Designs
P.O. Box 835
New Castle, NH 03854
(866) 227-8170
wendyhazen@comcast.net
Alumni Discount: 5% on any order

What is your business?
Wendy Hazen Designs, a publishing firm of my art work.

What are the most popular items you sell?
Definitely the portfolio and postcard calendars. Note and gift cards are very popular at the shows, but not so much on the Web site. The theme gift bags, Cape Cod and Maine, are new this year and people seem to really like them.

How long have you had your business?
The real question is how long has my business had me; since June of 2000. I was turning 50 in July, and I decided that I would teach myself watercolors. I had been drawing and painting with oils and acrylics since I was about 10, so it wasn't a huge stretch. Once I got started, I thought my paintings would make a great portfolio and postcard calendar. I contacted my friend, artist Nikki Schumann, who had originally done the first layout for the now very popular portfolio and postcard calendars. She said that it was perfect timing because after 22 years she was ready to explore some other art avenues.

How has the Internet changed your business model?
In my original business plan I was willing to give the show circuit five years, thinking that the Web site would do most of the work by year five, but life happens. So at five years I reevaluated and continued packing, unpacking, setting up and driving. I did the show circuit for nine years, but within the last five years my Internet sales have increased tremendously. So much so that I felt comfortable finally stopping the art and craft show circuit. What I understand from other artisans is that my timing was perfect.

What has surprised you the most about your business?
The loyalty of my customers. We are like a huge family. Calendar season arrives and I hear about the new babies, someone fighting cancer, a person out of a job but wanting me to know they love the calendar!

How do you decide on themes for your calendars?
I am drawn to water and architecture. Those seem to be running themes. I don't necessarily paint a whole scene. I like to take a portion of a boat, landscape, windows in a building, or a screen door and really enhance the detail. I also like to think what each month means to me and what my customers have told me.

What are some trends that you notice?
People will ask me to paint the most popular things of the moment. For instance, flip flops on the sand, which I haven't done. Business is always good from September to January.

What do you think the future holds?
I think the uniqueness of the calendar will always intrigue people. And I believe the set of new paintings each year is what has people coming back year after year. Now, my note and gift cards are experiencing a decline in interest because of e-mail and e-cards. So I am trying to gather information on e-cards. And I'm encouraging people to mat and frame note or gift cards!

Any advice for today's art majors or budding entrepreneurs?
That saying, do what you love and something spectacular will happen — it's true. You discover that you are more clever than you knew. That thinking outside the box is great fun and seems to open even more “boxes” of solutions or ideas. And this is the final bit of advice: Take time to laugh; it's the music of the soul.