Dec 29, 2008


In business it's important to know when the best time and place to reach your customers is, whether it's for advertising purposes or for actual sales. Artists for the most part are pretty good at this in my experience. Most artists gear up for December, for Mother's Day, etc. But I think it's also just as important to know the most important times NOT to reach your customers.

I had a great example of when not to. On Christmas Eve as I was getting the dinner cleaned up and pumpkin pie served when my phone rang. It was a telemarketer. Not only that, but a very rude one too. When I asked him to call back at a more appropriate time (I should of just hung up really, but my marketing background obliges me to be nice), he said no and wouldn't let me ask questions either. I finally handed the phone to my husband who after a huge argument hung up the phone. Not only would I not listen to this caller, I will NEVER do business with them: 1. for having the gull to call at the time and 2. for allowing such rude people to put me in a foul mood for Christmas Eve.

They are not the only intruders over the holidays, (and that's how I think of them as intruders when they do it at such inappropriate times), but my unsolicited email went through the roof too! Which is really sad for them since there will be so much of it, I'll just delete it as a block and not read any of it.

So when you're thinking of sending your customers a note, a newsletter, or anything, make sure it is when they are wanting to hear from you. You don't simply want to be 'deleted'.

Dec 18, 2008

Not Now I'm Busy

When opportunity comes knocking it's sometimes hard to say no, but sometimes it's exactly what you have to do. In the world of beach glass reds, yellows and oranges are very very hard to come by; and therefore very valuable and in demand. So it would seem the easy answer is to create these colours. And yes, some artists do just that, however, it's not beach or sea glass then, it's tumbled glass. And there is a market for that out there (there's a market for almost everything isn't there?) but it's not my market, or rather, my interest.

This is where I say no. I could make it, but I won't. The reason I work in beach glass is I like the hunt. I love the sound of the waves, the feel of the sand and rocks as I dig and the magical moment when I find a really cool piece. I would loose that if I simply used a tumbler.

In your business, if an opportunity knocks but it doesn't feel right what do you do? Do you answer the door or simply say "Not now, I'm busy doing what I love to do?"

Dec 15, 2008

More to show than sales

Well, now that my shows are done for 2008 I can reflect on how successful they were. Most artists simple look at sales and revenue. And to be fair, we do have to pay our bills so this justifiably the most important aspect of any show. However, it is not the only measure of success or importance.

Shows are a form of advertising. In fact, when I post my expenses I put the show registration fees under advertising. Even if my sales are low during the show, I usually get 3-5 custom orders following the show. And it's important to track these, which can be tricky as it may be a few months down the road. I also usually see increased enrollment in my Bead 'n' Bitch sessions or other workshops.

At the Gift Giving Show two weekends a go, another bonus to shows came to the surface that other vendors experienced and shared with me. Friendship and peer support. Many of the artists there were meeting for the first time, since them I have seen them become friends on Facebook, heard that they have gone for coffee and I'm sure many will keep in touch at future shows.

So when you're measuring the success of your shows - don't just look in your wallet.

Dec 4, 2008

What can you do?

Ok this entry maybe a little biased, but my last entry got me thinking more about the economy. And then our artist roundtable group talked about the impact (or not) the economy crisis is having on them personally. My answer? Buy local this Christmas. If we all decide together that we want our local economy to thrive and not dive (cute rhyme eh?) then we need to spend our money here and not over the Internet (I can't believe I'm saying that) and not over the border (unless you live there and that is your local economy). As artists we should always be promoting that we are the local option, but we also have to live it ourselves. So encourage your customers to buy from you because by doing so they are helping the local economy, but also this Christmas, do it yourself too.

And on that note, I'm off to start setting up the Fort for the Gift Giving Show. Hope to see you there - shopping locally...

Dec 1, 2008

Be an elf this christmas!

Since the economic turmoil began I've been thinking about what to write about it. Yes it's having an impact on everyone (and I'm sure even you), but do we really have to spend all of our energy in the doom and gloom that the media is highlighting for us?

I say no. Right now, more than ever, we are seeing the true Experience Economy. This phrase is borrowed from a book I'm reading called The Experiece Economy by B. Joseph Pine II. The basic jist of the book is that people will scrimp in some areas of their lives so they can buy luxury items in other areas. In a financial crisis this means that typically people will buy their consumables and what they can cheaply so they can make themselves feel better when they indulge in

But what does an elf have to do with this (the title of this entry is what I'm referring to)? Well, when people want luxury and pampering, they want luxury and pampering. Santa's elfs would never give a gift unwrapped or without a perfect ribbon and gift tag. And at the same time, those low cost consumbables would never come wrapped or with a fancy tag. So if you don't want to be considered a cheap alternative, make sure to think like an elf and make your art gifts a true indulgence. Let your customers solve their need to feel good by buying one of your one-of-kind, well-worth the cost pieces of art.