Author Archives: Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

About Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

Pioneer, provider, artist, brewer, peony addict, trail runner, currently helping large organizations transform.

Selling on Ebay vs Facebook Marketplace

IMG_2586A former colleague of mine recently encouraged me to apply for a role at eBay. She’s very happy there and has a highly attenuated sense of cultural fit so I trust her judgement. I decided to experiment with selling on Ebay as a way of exploring the company.

While I used to buy and sell camera equipment on Ebay it had been awhile. To get reacquainted I listed a purse on Ebay and a bag on Facebook Marketplace (FBM) to also understand one of the competitors.

Here are a few things that I learned from these experiments first from the buyer’s point of view and then from the seller’s.

BUYERS

Standard of Comparison: Ebay vs Amazon

First time eBay buyers aren’t comparing today’s eBay experience with prior experience on the platform. Buyers today will more likely compare the eBay buying experience to Amazon’s. The buying process may hold surprises for them. For example, there’s no “pick up site”. Buyers have to have packages delivered to their front door step. Also, unless the seller chooses to offer free and expedited shipping there’s no free 2-day shipping like you get with Prime.

SELLERS

Listing is super easy with a smart phone. Just take pictures, write a keyword rich title and description, select the shipping service you want to offer, set your price and you’re off! eBay has a step-by-step guide.

The guide is text only. The lack of video quite surprised me. A helpful concierge persona or person in conjunction with text would have made the learning experience much more fun. Maybe eBay chose text only because of the difficulty of choosing a person(a) that all users would identify with and because video content is more difficult to update.

eBay’s platform is available via a browser and a mobile app. While I experienced some messaging sync issues between the two platforms, overall I found them easy to use. It was definitely nice to get mobile notifications and be able to respond quickly.

Pictures: Take lots. Select intentionally.

In each platform you can use nine or more photos to help set the buyer’s expectation about the condition of the item, particularly if pre-owned. I took 15 photos and used seven showing wide view, medium view of individual features and close-ups of areas of wear and indicators of brand authenticity. While pictures are worth a thousand words, a 90 second video overview could really help.

Item Description: eBay autofill / FBM manual

eBay will autopopulate detailed specs for your item based on previously sold similar items. This saves you time and increases accuracy through crowdsourcing. You can update any of the details you wish. FBM does not offer this feature.

Pricing: eBay pricing recommendation engine/ FBM current listing comparisons

eBay will show you what similar items sold for and will give you a recommended selling price. On eBay you can select different pricing models.

  • An auction means the item will go to the highest bidder. You can specify the number of days the auction is going to be open up to seven days.
  • A “buy-it-now” price model is used in conjunction with an auction model. The price is usually higher than the starting price for the auction. If a buyer wants to pay this higher price, the auction will end.
  • And there are fixed price listings where the price is the price. Negotiation happens within the Ebay platform via messages.

FBM has no history review or recommendation engine although you can look at the prices of other similar items currently for sale. FBM has fixed price listings and easy communication for negotiation via Messenger.

Fees: Ebay/Paypal 13% / FBM 0%

eBay charges an insertion fee to “insert”  or list the item in a category like “bags and purses” and a final value fee. The final value fee is 10% * (sale price + shipping) up to $50. If you get a track record of “item not as described” you pay an extra 4% in final value fees added on top. For my experiment, the insertion fee was free and the final value fee was $4.33. (*Your first 50 listings as a personal seller are free of insertion fees.)

Also, Paypal charges 3% fees on the transaction or 3% * (sale price + shipping). For my experiment, Paypal fees were ~$1.29

Bottom line, you’re looking at 13% of (the selling price + the shipping cost) in fees.

FBM charges no fees. However, exchanging payment for the item with the buyer may require meeting in person.

Shipping: eBay partners with USPS and FedEx

If you chose USPS as your shipper of choice for a listing you get

  • a discount from regular USPS rates
  • automatically calculated shipping cost
  • a shipping label to print at home
  • the tracking number is automatically populated and hyperlinked in your view making it easy for you and the buyer to trace progress.

Competitive Landscape: Lots of options with different service levels. Also lots of overlap in the products available on competing platforms.

Local: While FBM, Craigslist and the traditional garage sale compete for the local market, eBay also has a listings filter for “local pickup only”.

Used/New: eBay, Amazon, FBM and Craigslist list offer a marketplace for used and new items.

Specialized: There are specialized marketplaces for used and new designer label clothes like Thred UpThe RealReal and Rebagg and for electronics like  GlydeSwappa, Gazelle,  uSell and Decluttr. I have not tried any of these.

 

 

Wrestling In Between

Bride_Panorama1_forweb

Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2018

I just finished this drawing today. The figure on the left mounted in some sort of carriage came first and easily. From there I created additional sections and kept them related to one another. The whole thing took about 12-15 hours over two months.

It occurred to me that film is a color and in the case of black and white film that color is mostly black. So I have black from Sumi ink, from Micron ink, from other pens and from film. I used Jelly Roll white to draw on the film and invert the black on white application used in the rest of the drawing.

A repeat of strong parallel lines undergirds the whole and provides a sense of background and depth.The reds counteracts that depth, bringing what is red forward even when it is receding, wrestling with and flattening the planes of space. Also, the reds throughout and repeated patterns unify the contrasts of which there are many: black and white, curved and straight, patterned and organic, human or animal, order and chaos.

This sense of straddling the boundaries between distinctions, of depth and flatness, of human and pattern, fluid and static is a push and pull, a deft hold. It reminds me of Dr. Dolittle’s pushmi-pullyu, a gazelle/unicorn cross with one head at each end of its body.

This in between state is a doorway, a liminal space. Liminal spaces are the time and space hallways in between the no longer and the not yet. As an example, the Israelites were in between no longer being slaves in Egypt and not yet being conquerors of Canaan for 40 years.

It is this very middle ground that I am navigating. In April, after eleven years working for the same company, my role was moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to North Carolina. That path was not the trajectory for my life and I found myself with the amazing gift of the time and necessity to explore the space in between the no longer and the not yet.

In our own Egypts, the message marking the juncture is usually fairly clear. Someone or something is no longer there. If we define ourselves by the thing that has come to an end, we have a gap, a hole to fill, a new part of our selves to construct. Every one of these destructions is an opportunity to turn to the One who made us and to chose a new foundation.

But the hard work of in between is uncomfortable for most of us. We want to be here or there but not in between. The most common refrain is, “Are we there yet?” Disappointment mounts when expectations about the speed of travel to the destination isn’t as fast as our expectations.

Donald Judd wrote,”The idea of a rectangle exists only as an idea, which is easy for rectangles and difficult for most ideas.”*

We need to hold on to and cherish the idea of the in between space in part because it means there was an end and we believe there will be a beginning. And because in that space we can do some work on our self definition and foundations that isn’t conducive to the condition of having arrived.

That in between space is where we can fight for a blessing like Jacob fought the angel of the Lord for a blessing. He received a blessing, and a limp. What would it be like not to have your value defined by your role/income/spouse/education/children/location? That’s worth fighting for. Even if it gives you a limp for a lifetime.

*Some Aspects of Color in General and Red and Black in Particular, Donald Judd, Mohawk Maker Quarterly, Issue 14, Lead and Serve p 84, reprinted from Artforum, Summer 1994, 70-78, 110-113.)

Book #20: Mini-Accordion Photo Book

It arrived! My 20th book in mini accordion format manufactured by Mpix. Here are some baby pics:

 

Thanks go to Steve Ballinger for sharing his mini accordion book and manufacturer with the Lyceum Portland photography salon last month. I was intrigued!

If you like the book format, here are a few more posts you may find useful:

 

 

It’s All About the Book

I love making photo books. I have hand-made two books of alternative process photography that have appeared in juried shows and one chapbook of poems and self-published 11 books and one magazine. My work has been included by publishers of three books and one magazine. And I have my first accordion file book on the way.

That’s a grand total of 20 books or magazines. I am clearly crazy about photo books.

Five of those books have been made from images I took while traveling. Photo books are a perfect format for travel photos because consuming the book form mirrors the travel experience.

Event

Looking at a photo book is an event with a time and date certain just like your trip.

Physical

Turning the pages of a photo book is a very physical experience because to look at it you must hold it in your hands and turn the page with your fingers. Likewise, your trip was very physical because your body had to go somewhere. There is no virtual travel.

Intimate

Looking at a photo book is intimate. Unlike looking at a photo on the wall, you hold a book within your personal space. What you remember and record from your trip is very personal too. No two sets of travel photos are exactly alike. Your point of view shows up in every frame.

Pace

You control the pace as the reader. For the most part, you control the pace of your travels, what you do on which day and in what order.

Connection

There’s a continued relationship with the content that makes friends. When friends talk about an upcoming or former trip to say Greece, you can share your book, as a way to share the experience.

Multiples

Unlike painting as a medium, where there is one, photography naturally enables multiple copies of the same image. So does the book.

Travel photos in a book are not a bound portfolio. The selection of photos is different because the purpose of the book is different. We chose photos that would not go in the portfolio because a photo book is story driven. We chose photos to support a narrative, maybe about the place you visited, and maybe not. Maybe the story is much more about who you are and what you notice than it is about where you went.

If you like making photo books, here are some other posts that will interest you:

 

 

 

Making Peace

Some interesting things have been going on in my life lately and how I feel about them has been a struggle. I decided to start drawing again. I didn’t intend to work through things through drawing but it became obvious that I am. In each drawing I’m creating and reconciling differences. There’s enough tension to create interest and there’s enough harmony to create some sort of visual balance. While I started in a place that’s pretty on the nose, in each drawing what I was working on evolved. I’d like to share that with you.

02_Hartnett-Henderson_Jennifer_Cluster

Cluster by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2018

In the first drawing above, I used only one shape, a triangle, and did everything else to create differentness. I varied the color, size, pattern, orientation and context of each triangle. In the next piece (below), I moved toward a landscape with a wall disrupting it. None of this was conscious at the time. I followed the question of what happens if I do this? and this? and this?

01_Hartnett-Henderson_Jennifer_Tension

Tension by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2018

Throughout the work I actively engaged the question, “How can I make each piece work together as a whole and keep each piece vibrant?”

Tidy_Panorama1_Edited for blog

Tidy by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2018

Inked shapes lend a physicality to just glimpsed internal questions about the contrasting edges in life.

Flowy Zen Combined Flat for blog

Flowy by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2018

By the fifth drawing, I used haphazard shapes contrasted with pattern to create characters and a sense of a world environment.

StoryWorld_Merged_for_blog

Storyworld by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2018

While working on this series, I stumbled upon this verse: “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” Proverbs 20:24 While I’m trying to work out how on my own, and control of one’s path is such a value in our culture, God is saying, that’s not the story of your life. Have faith, trust me. I will arrange the pieces of your life into a beautiful whole.

Original work: Sumi ink and Micron pen on 11″ x 14″ Strathmore Bristol paper.

Shop the collection on RedBubble.

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In case you’re curious about how this work relates to other similar work, pattern drawing is not new. It has a long history. Just think of Chinese dish patterns and Muslim geometric patterns on architecture. Fast forward through centuries and more recent developments include Neopoprealism and Zentangles.

Russian-born artist Nadia Russ coined Neo-Pop Realism in 2003 for the patterns she started drawing in 1989. Russ’s method requires that the pattern drawings be done from a subconscious state of mind.

Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas trademarked a similar method of pattern drawing as Zentangle in 2003. Zentangles are limited to certain patterns drawn on 3.5” rectangles in order to enter a meditative state. I took a Zentangle class a few years ago and have kept coming back to the practice. My most ambitious project to date is a 4’ x 6’ canvas of zentangles drawn with a Sharpie. This series also deviates from the rules of both movements in size, method and source of patterns.

Modern day illustrator Stefan Bucher pioneered the method that I used of creating organic shapes from Sumi ink on a toothbrush and compressed air in his series Daily Monster.

Design Your Own Artist Residency

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Fabrication by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2018

As he laid out his photographs on the table for the group to critique, Jimmy (not his real name) said, “This is the work that I created at the XYZ Residency on the coast.” Normally, I would be jealous. Of the time, the space and the opportunity.

Artist Residency

Artist residency programs give artists the opportunity to live and work outside of their usual environments to reflect, research, experiment with new materials or processes and / or make work. A residency lasts for a set period of time. It’s a formal affair. Artists fill out an application and submit a curriculum vitae, motivation for the residency and often a project proposal for a residency that is typically six months to years out.

But today, I was different.  Residency programs are earned and require advance planning, and I wasn’t in a position at the moment to do that. If I wanted the opportunity to focus more intently on my purpose and craft as an artist, I’d have to be creative. I knew I was going to be in Portland for seven days solo. I’d have focused set of responsibilities but with that I would also have some free time.

The Math

It’s true that some free time carved out isn’t the same as a residency. But I could turn that time into something. I had 7 days or 168 hours. Out of that I needed to subtract:

  • hours for sleep (56)
  • working out (14)
  • eating (21)
  • other responsibilities such as job hunting and house management (28)
  • social engagements (3) and
  • personal maintenance (7)
  • spiritual practice (7)

That left 35 hours. I could carve out a work week within a week! What could I accomplish?

 Goals

In a bright yellow notebook, I penned 3 main goals:

  1. Develop a better understanding of the photography community in Portland
  2. Create a new artist statement that was better than the one automagically generated by artybollocks.com
  3. Produce new work

Activities

How did I go about all this? To develop a better understanding of the deep photography community in Portland, I:

  • Enjoyed looking at photographers’ work at Camera Work, Blue Sky (especially the Pacific Northwest Photographers Drawers), and Vernissage as well as other media at other galleries (Disjecta, Carnation, Augen, Land, Froelick, Elizabeth Jones Art Gallery)
  • Met fellow photogs in a monthly photo group critique
  • Met more fellow photogs at the one-year anniversary of the Portland Darkroom (rising from the ashes of Newspace) including one of the founders
  • Plumbed the depths of the film and camera experts at local gem Blue Moon Camera and Machine
  • listened to an interview of a local photographer and publisher
  • enjoyed thoroughly reading a book by a local photographer whom I had enjoyed meeting

To create a better artist statement for me than artybollocks.com was able to generate, I researched to remind myself what should be included, looked at and reflected on my own work over the past 20 years, read over 100 artist statements, and looked at photographers’ work. I wrote more about the process here.

Lastly to produce new work, I took a multi-step process to revive my now discontinued Contax 645 medium format camera, found Kodak Portra 120 roll film and a place that will develop it (the aforementioned Blue Moon Camera and Machine) and focused us on a new subject, the place where I stayed. The first two rolls were terrible. I have more hope for the 3rd now in development. I’ll share more soon. I experimented also with combining film with zentangles. Those results coming soon too.

Key Takeaways

The opportunity I designed to evaluate my work with methodical and sustained focus was a real gift. Time with friends was a welcome and joyful elixir. My key takeaways were:

  • The photography community in Portland is vibrant and multi-faceted. Each artist I met was working to manifest his or her highest work for a given body and topic.
  • You may not be able to have it all, but you sure can have more.
  • Designing your own residency is completely possible. If you time bound your design, artistic pursuits can be balanced with work and family. For example, there are 24-hour comic contests where comic book artists get together for 24 hours to see if they can make one 24-page comic. That’s doable with work and family.

At the very end, I decided to call this The Tesseract Art and Design Residency because the benefits from the time will feed my work at TAD.

Artist Statement Develoment

.albumtempA few days ago I set out to see if I could write a better artist statement than one randomly generated. I read over 100 artist statements and a few main themes emerged as driving forces:

  1. ritual remembrance of an influential family member
  2. truth and beauty
  3. a significant illness usually of the artist
  4. social change in response to outrage
  5. exploration of interests, for example in flora

The more common theme is “must”. Many artists expressed some feeling that they must create. And that response, while gratifying, was not the driving force. Amen to that.

So here’s my terrible first draft.  Please give me your comments and feedback and help me make it better! Thank you!

My day time super powers are to create ways of doing new things for the first time and to organize people, processes and information to create more peace. (My useless superpower is being able to sing the lyrics of songs from the 70s and 80s with little prompting.) My night time and weekend superpower is creating art.

As an artist, I create to make peace between things that are framed as opposites. I also create to surface and express emotions without words by turning things over with my mind’s hands without looking at it with my mind’s eye.

Media / Process

I loved drawing and painting in grade school and I kept my drawings safe between hay bales in a tin shed that doubled as my entomology lab where I watched caterpillars turn into chrysalis and emerge butterflies.

Later, I loved photography and desiring to hone my craft I earned an MFA in Digital Media. I continue to learn other disciplines because the challenge brings me energy and fun. For example, I have worked in: sculpture, jewelry, painting (acrylic, oils, pastels), drawing (ink, pencil, thread) collage, assemblage, installation (audio, robotics), books (handmade, self-published) and photography (film, digital, mobile, alternative process).

Subjects

There are a few broad themes that I return to over 20 years across different media:

  • I love faces. Which is funny because I am an introvert.
  • I lost much of my eyesight by the time I was 8 years old. Without my contacts in, many of my closeup photos reflect how I see.
  • I love flowers, trails, botanicals.
  • And there’s everything else.

Tradition / Influences

My influences are a jumble across disciplines and time.

  • Photography – Teachers Dan Burkholder, Brian Taylor, and Joel Slayton. Famous artists Josef Sudek, Frederick Evans, Karl Blossfeld
  • Drawing – Lynda Barry, Mike Rhode, Ed Emberely, Eva Lotta Lam, Kris Hargis, and teachers Lisa Congdon and Kate Bingaman-Burt
  • Portraits – Alice Neel, Lucien Freud, Roualt and teacher Jane Davenport

Value Add

How am I different? I am not so sure I am. I can tell you though that:

  • I am in general delighted by the world and attempt to convey some of that.
  • I am intrigued and delighted by the discovery and expression of what makes each person a unique and individual personality.
  • I cross the lines between disciplines in the spirit of exploring what works and what’s fun.

You can find out what I’m currently doing by following me on Instagram @JHartnettHender.