As soon as I started announcing the re-launch of Urban Merit, I started getting messages and e-mails. The first was from an awesome artist I know, who has started doing jewelry since I left the city.
"So I have been doing a jewelry and accessory line for over a year now and I want to start really marketing. I have only been doing face to face sales so far. Want a client? What can you do for me? How much $ for how long?"
Knowing she was still doing low-volume "face-to-face" sales, and probably had a shoestring budget, I told her I would work for free, but only as a series of blog entries, so I could demonstrate a simple marketing plan for an emerging artist. I began by asking her five quick questions to find out more about her business.
1: Do you have a website? (no)
2: Do you etsy? (no)
3: Do you have a dedicated facebook page for your works? (no)
4: If you were to try to sell me, a friend 170 miles away, some jewelery, how would you do it, right now? (That is the question!)
5: What is your company called? (Mechanical Carnival)
She explained that she had business cards and packaging, but that all sales so far have been face to face.
And thus, we begin.
First off, MC, get thee on consignment! It is surprisingly easy to hit a few boutiques with creative packaging and a business card to get your stuff on the shelves. Once you have it on the shelves you have a destination for marketing. "Available at Hipster Outfitters, The Mermaid Store and Walmart!" rather than, "Find MC at the bar, she'll have great earrings!" Next time you get business cards made, think about designing them to double as both a card and a label. This will increase brand recognition, encourage repeat customers and possibly save money.
Secondly, get on consignment at a few websites. Sites such as Etsy.com and wholesalecrafts.com are boons to the independent artist as they allow sales of you items with very little overhead. Paying additional fees allow you to be highlighted on front pages and in magazines, but for the start-up, these are often superfluous expenses, rather the start-up artist should focus on selling to their own network, utilizing existing networks such a facebook, myspace or blogs. Facebook's thumbnails for links make this very useful!
Next, become a social networker, be it on facebook, myspace, blogspot or whichever the network you find yourself haunting! Either set up a page or a dedicated profile (I recommend the later, for reasons I'll explore in a later blog) to hype your materials, and spend at least twenty to thirty minutes a day adding strangers! Hold contests giving away pieces to identify your best promoters, and build your network. You first goal should be 1000 friends, or likes. It may take a while, but it is easy to do with perseverance.Remember, STRANGERS! Adding you interested friends should take an hour or two, building a network a fresh eyes is your ground work.
The next step, which I will discuss tomorrow, is extending that consignment market to other cities using direct mail campaigns. (At which point, you'll have sold enough to warrant hiring me for a media kit, MC!)