Friday, January 10, 2014
Every week I get Etsy emails and I very rarely have time to sit down and really read everything that is highlighted and linked to other pages. This morning, I got one and there was a link to Branding 101.
Back in the late 90's I had a brief career that ended badly with Jansport. It was a small but rapidly growing company then and they were brand driven like nobody's business. If I only learned one thing while at that company, besides ignoring lawyers, it was brand marketing.
In 2011, I set out to do just that, brand myself. And it worked. I was a busy busy girl in 2012. Constant emails from galleries and shows and customers and my business took off, sales were great. I busted my ass marketing myself and it paid off. I also nearly had a brain aneurysm trying to keep up with it all and make authentic work. So, I took a break from the marketing and the making. And guess what? A slow 2013..... no galleries called, no shows opened up to me, hellllooooo, anybody out there remember meeee?!?!? What? If I don't shout out to the world, nobody's gonna buy anything? WTF?! Does this mean the only way I am going to successfully sell my work is if I bust my ass every single day to promote it? UGH! Do I want this?!?!
Now here we are, a brand spanking new year, a clean slate, a new beginning, new ideas. What to do with that? I am slowly unfolding myself from my cocoon. Old work that hasn't sold, for reasons I can't figure out, is coming back from galleries (look for a clearance sale soon!). Show applications are sitting in my email folders. Do I go back down that road? If I applied for the shows I have applications for right now, I would be sending out a total of about $800 in show fees already. God almighty, how are artists supposed to ever make any money?! I let the galleries do the work for me last year, and sales were ok, not great. I sold 12 barns in my studio in one week in December vs. one barn in one year at one particular gallery. So what does that tell me?
This branding article has me thinking. If I want to continue making the work I make, and I think I do, how will I do it? I've tried a lot of different things, some worked some didn't. Galleries sort of work, my Etsy shop works when I put in the time, the studio tour works, but that is one month out of the year. Some shows work, some don't, but some of them cost a lot of money and many depend on the weather, which sucked last year. My blog works. I'm sure facebook would work, but I detest it.......pass. Being invited to exhibitions is always nice and my work often sells, but they only ask for a few pieces and it's only worth it basically for the exposure and a little ego stroking. I'm not set up to keep up a store front, although I think that would really work for me, I am good at selling, at least when I'm in a good mood, ha! I'll tell you what really really worked. A newspaper article about me. Now, if I could get magazines and newspapers to only write about me every day, I would buy all of us a trip to Richard Branson's private island for a vacation!
So....... Defining my brand..... (from the etsy article). I'm going to work on this a bit today and blog a bit about this exercise. I think it will be good for me. Stay tuned if you are interested in what I come up with!