51 Winburn Way

It’s Friday night and I’m feeling good about where things are at. I can’t believe I haven’t written since Oct 28th. A lot has been going on. I’ve been setting up in front of the planning building – 51 Winburn Way. I LOVE IT! I want it to be my new spot forever. Level, big, high traffic space. So awesome.

Business has been good in other ways too. Online sales have been decent too. I’ve probably shippe about 40 orders in the last month. I’m keeping up with them the best I can. Using a far away lab is problematic. It takes forever to get orders.

Things have been lookin up.

Geeze, it’ s been too long.

I’ve been pretty happy with calendar sales. In so many ways, I’m glad I did them. Of course, selling them is great, but I love the goodwill gesture of handing them to people I want to acknowledge too. I just gave them to the staff at Ashland Creek Cafe. I buy coffee there every weekend while at the market. They are kind, smiley faces and make the start of my work day that much better.

Since my last blog, I’ve had a $1000 weekend at the market, followed by a $2000, and just now, a $600 weekend. I’ll take it. I need to really start planning for holiday sales.

Ups and downs

Since my last blog, I’ve had a great trip to Klamath with coyotes, Great Basin Rattlesnakes, big bucks and a Striped Racer! Things were looking up. Then came a horrible weekend at the Lithia Artisan’s Market. $350. Tuesday, calendars arrived, I shipped several orders (almost all caught up on that). Today it was a family of Black Bears. Grateful, worried about business, happy, sad, sore throat from smoke. WTF.


I ordered calendars today… Mid September is pretty early for me. I made two sales today and the market is open this weekend. I also designed and ordered a flyer for people who order online. Not a bad day, but somehow I feel like I could have done so much more.

Etsy: I’m up 98 sales, I’ve also gotten some killer feedback! I did one new listing too.

“Dan elster was on top of this order in spite of the wild fires in his area – it was well packaged and shipped in a timely fashion. The print was exactly as advertised. It was a gift and the recipient was thrilled.”

Trying to Rally

It was tough getting motivated to do the Etsy, social media, online stuff today. Not because it’ s hard to do, because it’s hard to believe it can work. Then, while stacking Pro Panels in the garage I get two web orders and two Etsy orders in an hour, while stacking Pro Panels in the garage. I’m not sure I’ve ever made 4 sales in a day online, outside of the holiday season. It felt good, really good. I have this vision that someday the market and shows will be better than ever and I will have built up a big online business during Covid and have the best of both worlds going at the same time. . I just have to keep going. I think a big problem is not having clear direction in the morning. I was excited to get a quote from a new printing company, but they told me they wanted to do my order digitally, which would rule out AQ coating. In the email, she wrote “is that a deal breaker?”. It is. I love AQ. Bummer, but I would say CDS hasn’t done me wrong yet. I don’t know.

Etsy listing of the day.

Pretty soon, I’m going to make this blog a little more public. Take care.

A lot has changed, that is for sure.

1/2 of the Rogue Valley has burnt down since my last post. I’d tell you the details, but I’ve told them too many times now. We almost lost our house. The pond burned, almost to the ground. Horrific smoke. Good friends and 1300 people have lost their homes. Etc. Is that what hell feels like?

When I opened this page, I the first thing I saw was “Market Showing Signs of Life!” Well, that was short lived. Fuck. Crazy enough, I’m hoping to do the market this weekend. It is still my biggest source of sales and until I change that, you will find me there most weekends.

The Market Showing life!

Best weekend of the year for me at the artisan’s market. I was really starting to wonder. Lots of new tourists in town, sold 5 books, 2 out of the three new acrylics, and a bunch of smaller prints. Hell yeah. My new vision for Elster Photography is a greatly built up online business and for the market and other shows to come screaming back in 2021. A deer stopped by my booth, but it did not pee, so I have that going for me too.

Not Bad

I did an email newsletter today, which always feels like a big accomplishment. I tend to make a bigger deal of creating emails than I should. It’s not that difficult. I think I need to start making shorter emails, but sending them more frequently. Today’s email felt a little long, but overall, good. You can see it Here: https://conta.cc/3lM8Nod . I have almost 600 recipients. I always worry about sending too many emails out, but cares? If people aren’t interested in what I’m doing, they won’t read it. BFD.

My “Big Labor Day Sale” on Etsy starts today. We shall see what happens. Etsy suggested I do a sale, so I said OK. LOL. 20% off now through the 7th. But that isn’t the most exciting Etsy news of the day. The cash register sound went off on my phone this afternoon – indicating an Etsy sale. A 16×20 matted bobcat photo to someone in Tuscon Arizona. $85 isn’t a large amount, but it’s yet another indicator that my work is starting to be seen outside of my region. Encouraging.

I have a lot more to say, but no time to say it. My daughter and I are home alone and we are going to watch “The Outsiders” for the second time. She’s sitting here waiting on me. Maybe I’ll hear the cash register go off during the movie.



Back at it

Back from a few days of camping. I never even got the camera out, just spent time with family and friends. This morning, I caught up on shipping a few lingering orders. Right now, I have a clean slate as far as shipping – feels good! I also delivered a wholesale order – love that. I think I need to resume acquiring (or at least attempting to aquire) new wholesale accounts. I stopped when Covid started – I didn’t want to bother any small business owners with taking on new products like my book or card lines. BUT, maybe they’re looking for new products.

I got an Etsy order for a single greeting card from someone in Ohio. Six whole dollars! You would be surprised how happy it made me. To me it represents my work is reaching new audiences outside Ashland, Portland, San Fran, etc. That’s what needs to happen – on a much bigger scale.  It’s my third small “random” card order from a far away place.  I never thought I’d sell individual cards online, but I never thought my entire business and our entire economy would almost shut down completely either.

Today i ordered cards from several different Etsy sites. While there plenty of cool greeting card creators on Etsy, I really want to see how experienced Etsy shop owners package cards efficiently and cheaply. One of the cards is ratherdirty & funny – I look forward to giving to my wife. Here it is:   kinky dinosaurs

Later today, I have 3 Acrylic photographs showing up and thinking I might try my first ever Facebook live video.

Talk tomorrow!


Today was more about being a dad and husband, than a business owner. I did whip the laptop out at Les Schwab and list 2 cards on Etsy. I donated $54 to http://www.badgerrun.org/ Then I came home and made an announcement on FB and IG. I feel good about it.  I’m thinking big. – The photos are of one of the Big Picture cards and the business card sized insert.