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Parallel Desktops Workflow

Restore from backup – bringing a Mac back with Time Capsule

My brother called and told me my mom was in the hospital. At 80 her health has been declining pretty rapidly so I immediately booked a flight to California, planning to spend a week there to help my brother with both her and my father. Needless to say I had a lot on my mind as I rushed to the airport in the wee hours of a Tuesday morning last week.

Back at home my wife’s MacBook sat at her desk, left on overnight like she often did so that when she woke up in the morning a quick shake of the mouse would brighten the screen and allow her to check e-mail. From what I can tell in the hourly backup logs, at roughly the same time my aircraft lifted off the runway the 120GB hard disk in her MacBook crashed.

When I checked in with my wife that night to update her on my mom’s status, she told me that her MacBook was dead.

Me: “Dead?”

Allison: “It’s just got a gray screen. I’ve tried restarting it and that’s all that comes up.”

Of course, this has to happen when the only techie in the family leaves on a weeklong trip.

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ArtWorks Featured Profiles

Profile: Kristen Stein on Roots and Inspiration

What mediums have you worked in and which is your favorite?

I am a contemporary artist working primarily with acrylics on canvas.  I occasionally dabble in pastels and oils. I love working in mixed media and often add gritty, grainy textures to my paint. I’ve also created paintings using layers of newspaper, paper towels, tissues, string, dried flowers, leaves and more to add extra texture and dimension to the painting. I sometimes work on wood, but generally use stretched canvas.  I’m in the process of learning silk-screening and hope to ‘pull’ my own prints.  I have also worked in digital painting and creating images as scalable vector graphics.

 

How did you get started?

I have been creating art for friends and as gifts for several decades, but I started selling my artwork as a business about 10 years. It began as a part-time passion while I was working on my dissertation in Economics at the University of Virginia. I still use a lot of my economics background on the business side of my art career, but my creative side won out and I starting selling my artwork full-time in early 2000. I am not formally trained in art. I took one class in high-school and one elective class in college. I recall several of the projects that I made in these two classes and I know that they have fueled my passion to continue to learn and grow as an artist.

Who has influenced/inspired your art work?

Friends, family and other artists have all played an integral role in influencing my artistic visions and enthusiasm for ‘all things art’. My parents are both incredibly talented and I know that they have directly influenced my love for the arts.  More recently, I’ve met several new artists online through various social networks and I’m enjoying learning how to use the new venues to expand the reach of my art to new audiences. I’ve also recently approached other artists and photographers to work on collaborative projects. It’s a fun way for artists to share their talents and create an image that embodies their various interests or styles. That’s how the “Spirit of Autumn Fire” image (with Lyse Marion) came about.  As for master artists, I love the works of Picasso, Gris, Matisse, Frank Lloyd Wright, Rothko, Dali among many others.

 

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Profile: Kristen Stein on Marketing

Tell us about your marketing journey. How did you start?

My online marketing journey started in 1999 using a personal website and the auction site eBay.  I sold on eBay for several years and then started cross-listing items on alternative auction sites and various online venues. Most recently, I created online stores at Etsy and on 1000Markets . I have designs at Cafepress and I have images uploaded at ImageKind and ArtistRising that offer giclee and canvas prints of some of my work.

In addition to selling online, I also sell directly from my studio and at various local art/craft shows. I also have several pieces in local galleries, shops and restaurants. A few designs are sold at Art.com and AllPosters.com as well.

Do you use Social media online alone or do you combine it with off-line efforts?

I use Facebook and Twitter to keep connected with my buyers and new fans of my work. I tie these in with my online blog and current art listings. I love the quick access that Twitter and Facebook provides to individuals who share similar interests and passions.

What has been the reaction to your making your work available in non-traditional ways, like mugs, jewelry etc?

I have recently made my artwork available in more non-traditional forms like ceramic tiles and handcrafted jewelry.  I enjoy offering these smaller versions of the artwork, especially at local art/craft shows as they are easier for folks to purchase and carry with them.  I believe that having a wide-range of prices in your inventory allows buyers to work within their budget.  I’m not sure they these new items have directly affected the sales of my regular prints and originals, but I would imagine that it brings new buyers who might otherwise not see my work. Plus, I enjoy being able to offer more wearable and versatile ways to display my artwork.

Where do most of your sales come from?

The majority of my sales come from eBay, etsy and from local art/craft shows.  I would love to be able to branch out and create a wholesale business for my images. This is something that I am considering as a business expansion in 2009.

 

Kristen Stein tile tryptych

 

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Marketing Monday: The Art of Being a Beacon

 

marketing mondat good stuff weekly the art of being a beacon

split_rock

Last week we talked about the importance of knowing who is likely to buy your work and  what it is your work does for them that makes them want it. The importance of really getting down and working out something that reflects both you and your work, helps you by giving you a strong understanding of your market and the beginning of a real tool to help you both stay focused and remain flexible in changing times.

The other main purpose of knowing your Who and What is the foundation it gives you when you actually start finding those folks who are gaga over your work. It is like having your own crib sheet handy at all times. Today we’re going to cover this in more depth  as we talk about how you let people know you’ve the stuff they are looking for how you can be a beacon guiding their search.

So what does this have to do with the price of beer on Sunday? Well, it is the all important key stone to expanding your Who & What into a way of describing the problems you solve and who you solve them for. This what we call “Marketing Sytax” a concept made popular by Robert Middleton and Mark Silver. The concept consists of boiling down all of the information you have gathered thus far about your buyers, their problems and how you help them.

Have a message

Identify the problem your buyers face, you described this in your What descriptions.

“I help young couples who are looking for unique locally handmade tableware”
Or “I help families who want to memorialize the key events in their lives but don’t want the standard portrait style.”

Here’s the key and important part of this…a problem oriented statement whether it stays in your brain or you use it answer questions about your work will, 99.9% of the time if worded right lead the person you are talking to to ask a “how do you do that” kind of question. And that is where the  the solution based followup comes in.

Focus on benefits when you followup so the statement above would look like this when benefits are added:

“I help young couples who are looking for unique locally handmade tableware. My pots are designed to make you smile when you dine and be great conversation starters when you entertain.”

“I help families who want to memorialize the key events in their lives but don’t want the standard portrait style. We create visual conversations of your families important events by  capture you as you are and building a story of the event. By building a memory book   families will always be able  to relive the event through the conversations the memories stir”

As you can see this is a whole lot more thought provoking and curiosity generating than the simple Who and What and that is the goal…you want to engage people so they eventually identify or not identify as a member of your fan club. You can expand the statements above for use through out a conversation by including stories of how your work helped someone, or the effect your work had on their lives. For example, your painting might have just the right feel to a neglected room that it is now a favorite. Or your pots may have create such a fun entertaining experience that the couple bought a custom table set.

Hang with them

This stuff is important when you are out mixing with with potential fans, it you identify you as the one and only person who can solve their problem. I t does this by giving you a way to engage them as the nice person you are instead of the way that used car sales man in the polyester ‘70s vintage suite can’t even imagine.

Now that you are fully armed with the best tools you can start to really hone in on finding the best places the hang and hang with them. So what might these places be? Everybody likes to hang out with people who they identify with. Brainstorm all the places you think these potential fans might hang out for example:

On the internet

Forums
A  jeweler who has identified young professional women could look for on-line forums where these women hang out. They  could be everything from Mommy oriented forums to professional societies or clubs. Painters and potters identifying homeowners interested in redecorating might hang out in home improvement or decorating forums.

Blogs
There are a lot of specialty blogs out there that might match up with your fan base or be aimed at helping them but don’t do so for what you have to offer. Finding those blogs and commenting on posts relevant to the problem you solve will go a long way towards driving potential fans your way and help establish you as the nice creative person you are.

Your blog
Set up your blog in ways that let people learn about how you can solve their problems. For example, don’t just limit yourself to describing and showing your process show how your work can be used. So if you are a fiber artist and your work can be used for walls or table tops write about and post photos that show how your work can be used to solve decorating problems.

decorating_ex

Off-line

Teach a class
This may not appeal to all but it does work for finding potential fans and buyers. Most folks taking classes at art centers aren’t there to learn how to compete with you they just want to do something creative. Teaching them how to do that and including how they could use the work your are teaching them create will help them identify with you or at least spread the word to their friends.

Talk to groups
Talking to groups is not an easy thing, in fact I hate it, and it does work pretty much in the same way as teaching does because you are actually teaching folks about both your medium and your work and how your unique has helped others resolve their problems. So you might talk to ASID (association of interior designers) if you are a potter, painter, photographer or any type of artist producing work that can be used to improve the environments of home or office.

Write
Quite often magazines are on the look out for articles that address problems and issues you may be intimately familiar with. It doesn’t hurt approaching them with a problem/solution based article like how hand made work is better than stuff bought at K-Mart.

Draw a map

Once have stirred interest you need to help these folks find your stuff AND buy it. No, I’m not talking about being a pest I’m talking about making the paths to buying your stuff obvious and easy find and follow. So here are some simple ways to do that:

E-mail
put all of your contact information on your e-mail signature and include your statement we just talked about. Include links to your web site/blog, facebook, twitter etc.

Your biz card
First don’t print your own business cards unless you don’t want folks to really take your serious. Design the card to have two sides one that gives your basic contact information the other that has your problem/solution statement on it.

Selling on-line
Design the page that shows only the work a customer is interested in to also show other items they might like, check out the way Amazon does this. Don’t give your customers to many options at one time generally anything more than three wil tend to freeze their brain causing them to wander of in a trance. Finally, put a clear call to action on your sales page like “buy now” or “click to purchase” or “learn more”. Your call to action should only give them two ways to go… buy or don’t buy.

Become visible

The point of all of this is to light yourself up in such a way as to be a beacon for all those  with a problem you solve better than anyone else. You don’t have to spend a lot if any money to do this here are some easy ways to get your marketing message out there.

Videos & photos
Put photos on your blog that illustrate how you solve the problems your fans face. You can turn those photos into slide shows and post them on your blog whenever you talk about that particular problem. You can also create a Youtube channel and link the videos on your blog to that channel. Flickr is a great place to show your work especially if you use their photostream which can be easily embedded into your blog. To see what this looks like check our featured artists.

Business card
Make it fun and make it reflect not only you but also the problem you solve.

Web site
In this day and age a web site is imperative and it needs to reflect you and who you work with. If you are thinking of using some freebee lame set up don’t even bother because you’ll waist your time. Blogs are the best format for getting and growing your visibility,  there are a lot of options available. Remember… a blog is just a web site that has more flexibility  and ease of use on your end than a static web site.

Images of work courtesy of Kristen Stein and Jane Campbell

 

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Jane Campbell talks about Marketing

 

JC_featured_artist

il_430xN-5Tell us about your marketing journey How did you start?

Wow it has been a “journey”! Just a few years ago, which seems like only months, I had no idea what a blog was, -html, a widget, etc… It has been quite a learning experience. A whole world I never knew existed. Where as I once worked 9 to 5, I now work sometimes 10 to 14 hours a day. I love it so I doesn’t feel like I work that long. Usually it’s only when the family starts hollering that I quit for the day.

When did you discover that you needed to market?

I quickly realized that marketing is more than 1/2 of the job. To make money, to do il_430xN-6this as a business you have to treat it like a business and put yourself out there. This was very difficult for me at first. I’m basically a shy private person. I also discovered that people don’t just want a piece of your art, they want a little piece of you too, they want to know who you are, where this art came from. Art is a little piece of ourselves so we have to share ourselves as well.

Do you have a marketing plan or strategy ?

I’m still learning. I like selling online. It’s the largest audience. I have met people all over the world and my art is now in several different countries.
il_430xN-3I have been privileged & honored to be in several galleries in the Sacramento area. This is a great boost in moral, helps with marketing and I love the interaction with other artists & meeting the public, however, it seems to me that the audience in a gallery is limited, therefore sales are limited, but it is essential to be a part of the gallery experience.

Do you use Social media online alone or do you combine it with off-line efforts?

Mostly online medias but I do belong to the Swell Sister Society which is a wonderful group of Sacramento women artists. We inspire & encourage one another, do gallery shows together, keep each other up to date on what’s happening in the art scene. I love being a senior member in this group and it gets me out of my studio and keeps me from being a total recluse!

What has been the reaction to your making your work available in non-traditional ways, like mugs, jewelry etc?il_430xN-2

I’m proud to say I currently have my art being sold on jewelry that is in 2 Downtown Disney galleries in Florida; Pop Gallery & Hoipoloi. I also have a Cafepress site. I have had several sales but not enough to “cash out” the proceeds.

Where do most of your sales come from?

Most of my sales are online sales either from Ebay or Etsy. I have recently joined new online venues such as Blue Canvas & Artfire but do not have originals or print for sale there yet.

jane campbell on marketingil_430xN

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Marketing Monday: 6 must know things for pricing

 

marketing monday good stuff weekly

Know what your costs are

This is very simple and yet a lot of folks disregard it because they think it entails a lot of left brain machinations. I’m here to tell ya if that was the case I’d never ever address it…because while I grew up as the tail end of the slide rule generation I’m lucky to add 2+2 and get four if I have to do it in my head. Thankfully, I don’t have to any more due to the advent of those funky things we called Goesintas ( as two goes into four or calculators).

While it may seem obvious that your prices must at the very least cover your costs and if you intend to support yourself with your work the price must also include something extra to help you move out of your van. This process is called knowing your “Cost of Doing Business”. In its smallest form it amounts to adding up all the things you need to spend money on that

  • Cover the costs of the stuff you need to have to make your stuff… in other words supplies, expenses like costs associated with firing a kiln load of pots.
  • Let you move out of your van, like PROFIT.

    To do it the short way, just add up your studio related expenses to get a base number that will show you the least amount you need to make to keep your credit card bill down and your studio working. That’s your Cost of Doing Business.

    If you then subtract that from the income you receive you will have the minimum you need to at least break even.

    However, I would suggest an easier way that would give a good idea as to what you need to make to cover all your costs while factoring in a desired profit (for moving out of the van). There are a couple of tools available that I have used in my photography business.

    • NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) Cost of doing business calculator which is an online tool.
    • ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) Cost of doing business calculator which does the same thing as the NPPA one only in more detail and as an Excel file. It is also designed to let you determine your annual income
      You can download it here: cdb_calc_06
    • Art Worth Calculator

    Know what you need to keep you in your studio

    Ok…now you know how much it costs to make your stuff and to at least keep you from either living in your studio or out of your van. It is probably safe to say that you’d really like to have living arrangements that at least gave you a kitchen and your own bathroom, so now you have to figure out what you need to make to get those tow important things. It is called profit and amounts to income that isn’t eaten up by other costs.

    This part is more art than science and subject more to your own preferences than anything else. I generally, list out the things I need… like paying myself, upgrading computer etc. And then prioritize them by their order of importance and NOT by their cost because cost can lead me down a rabbit hole. Once I’ve done that, I add what I call contingency which can be anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent to get the profit I need to make. The details of pricing individual products will be covered later.

    retro_buyersKnow your market and its buying habits

    Before you attempt to set pricing strategies you gotta know they have a chance of working with your market. So spend some time now reviewing your perfect buyer profile and both your market demographic and psychographic descriptions. What causes them to buy? What type of stuff do they buy? How do you really fit into their buying habits?

    Know what you are really selling

    Instead of describing what we make in a way that would put even the most ADD among us to sleep in seconds, we are going to look at how to REALLY describe what we make and when to use that description. For now just starting thinking of your stuff the way a chef might describe a sensuously luxurious meal.

    Know which three types of buyers you attract

    There are generally three types of buyers and it is important to know where yours fall. Knowing where your buyers fall will be key to your ability to price and sell without discounting. The three types are:

    • Those who willingly pay full price for your stuff because they know and trust and they know the value of your work.
    • Those who shop for cheap stuff because they really can’t afford much let alone your premium prices but they do recognize your value.
    • Those who are hunters, always pursuing the lost price possible as a trophy without regard to quality. These folks proudly brag about how they “saved” five cents on a whatzit despite using up $10.00 of gas hunting and bagging the prey.

      Knowing this information can help you with your pricing strategies by helping you understand what triggers their desire for your stuff.

      Know your market position

      Go back again and check your business model as well as your USP and make sure you are clear on how you are positioned in the market. Does pricing play a major role in your market position. So if you are positioning yourself as a true artiste aiming at the luxury market low pricing may hurt you. Your pricing must be consistent with your position.

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      Marketing Monday: Getting Focused

      The Problem

      Most people identify themselves by a label when they are asked what they do or even when they think of themselves in terms of their work. So you might identify yourself as an artist or, I might think of myself as a photographer, well as you see, sticking a label on us doesn’t really help us attract qualified buyers. It also doesn’t help us develop and use a finely focused vision of who we really serve and what we really do. We just continue skipping around in la-la land whistling a happy tune, unaware that we are going in circles.

      What we really need is another tool in our kit that we can pull out when we need it. Well, that tool is the Who and What or the Who and Do What. The tool is not an elevator speech, YUK, nor is it a sales pitch. Instead, it is a way of  knowing who really wants our work what they look like etc. and what it is about our stuff that makes them want it or what problem  we solve. Basically, it tightens down the focus of our Perfect customer profile and our offer so we can know it instantly and more importantly have it become part of the core of our business. Knowing these two important things helps us:

      • Stay focused on our intents and in turn helps the right prospects find us.
      • Know how better market and merchandise our work.

        And there’s the label problem…

        So what’s the big deal with calling yourself an artist or me calling myself a photographer? Isn’t that what we are? Well yes and no. There are three major problems with labels.

        First

        A label puts the attention on you and what you do and takes it away from your buyers, because you aren’t just an artist and I’m not just a photographer. As a result we are left with describing ourselves in terms of our process which more often than not leaves whoever is trying to follow us with a blank glassy eyed stare.  You in turn are left wondering what just happened to you message. What did just happen was you lost that potential buyer because she could tell you were more engrossed in describing your process than you were in getting to know her.

        The other thing that tends to happen more often than not is the label gets misinterpreted. So suddenly you find you’re self being asked if you do caricatures causing to delve into a major discourse about how you are a painter not an entertainer for birthday parties, all this just leads you further down the rabbit hole of talking about yourself.

        Second

        A label can get you all tongue tied because you know you are more than just that label and yet when you are asked what you do go off on a litany of process descriptions. Even worse, you can suffer from a severe onset of brain fart and start talking in tongues which is not helpful to either you or her. So again, she walks way, not knowing what exactly you do and more importantly if you are the secret to solving her problems.

        Third

        This one is pretty important in that it can really  limit you and your business in being able to respond quickly to market changes…like now. If you are known as an artist or as a painter it will be harder for you to reposition yourself, because, you are known only that way. So if I were to describe myself as a wedding photographer I would have to pretty much re-invent myself in order to move into another market or style.

        Now, it is important to understand that you are not the only one having difficulty with this and, changing it will not necessarily happen over night. That is were the knowing how to use the Who and What comes in handy because, when successfully used it will not only cure a headache, upset stomach,  etc. It will also help you increase sales, know better how to display your work and in general make your life a lot more enjoyable.

        Who is the Who?

        Guess what, unless you’re a some kind of super hero, you can’t help everyone and even more if you try to bethe_who_add everything to all, you’ll end up being a little bit to a few…that’s not real satisfying for anybody. And it really doesn’t help the right people find you or you to know how to let them know you’re available. So you need to FOCUS and that is what knowing who your market is does for you. It is basically breaking down all those characteristics of your perfect buyer and applying them to a group of people.

        So…your Who is made up of:

        • demographic or statistical info like age,gender etc.
        • psychographic info like the values and opinions that cause them to self identify.

          Basically  your who is the  folks who would walk blocks to buy your work through snow,sleet, rain or heat.

          Other things you need to know about identifying your Who folks, is that people globally,  tend to be attracted to things, causes,, issues etc. based primarily on how much they identify with those things, causes or issues. This is generally not a problem, because you are also likely to be drawn to those folks who closely identify with the things important to you. You may not have a complete match and, there will likely be some overlap, which will go along way to building trust. Additionally, you build trust by sharing terminology and language characteristics that help you hear what the folks making up your Who are saying.

          Finally, the very act of naming the group of folks who identify most with you and your stuff makes a bazillion times easier for them to identify with you because they see that you authentically represent them.

          Then there’s the What

          sunburn3Now you know and can name the group of folks who most identify with your work and what it represents. Now you  need to take a look at exactly what the what is!!!!  Contrary to popular wisdom you don’t just make orange pots, or purty paintings…somewhere in the zapping neurons of your brain you have a fundamental driving concept, or thing you want those orange pots or purty paintings to do. Unbeknownst to you consciously you are making those things in response to some problem you see, some issue that is important to you.

          The what is all about getting down and defining that problem or issue your work is aimed at resolving. This is important, because, as we have learned earlier, people care most about finding solutions. So knowing the problems and issues faced by those who want your work helps you make your solution more visible. And it goes even further, because when you recognize their problems you are also telling them they and their needs are important.

          The problem is more important than the solution because potential buyers will pretty much always see you in relation to their problems and how close you come to being the one who solves their problem. Because only when they see that you are the answer to solving their problem will they stop window shopping and move into buying mode.

          The Lesson and the point

          Let’s look at both now in terms of how they help you and your business.

          The most important thing to take from this is that when folks are out hunting for solutions to their problem of the day, the only thing they are focused on is the problem and its solution. Everything they see is, seen in relation to that problem. So they don’t have time or patience to translate your wood fired technique into their solution nor can they translate your solution, as in “I make the best wood fired pots in the universe”, unless that solution obviously solves their particular problem.

          On the other hand  you will stand out to them because you know their problem intimately, and they know you can easily solve their problem because you understand it.

          The other point of learning here, is that your Who and What helps folks who are already true believers in your ability to solve their problems have a way to let others with similar problems know you are The One who can successfully solve their problem. So unless someone is expressly looking for the best wood fired pots in the universe they won’t see you as a solution. However, if that person is looking for unique table ware and particularly cream & sugar serving pieces and you offer just such items, which happen to be wood fired, you will be far more visible to her.

          In the end your Who and What may be like one of these:

          • I help young couples who want unique locally handmade tableware that will help make their entertaining and dining experience fun.
          • I help people who want unique locally handmade tableware that will help make their entertaining and dining experience fun.

           

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          TNT doesn’t like Mac users

          tnt_logo2I was sitting on the couch the other day and relaxing when my wife yelled to me from the other room:

          David! My Mac's not working!

          I love those highly specific descriptions of a problem. I asked for a little more clarity.

          I'm trying to watch a video and it's not working!

          I dragged myself off the couch and over to my wife's MacBook. She was on the TNT site and trying to watch an episode of Raising the Bar. She would click on "watch a full episode" and a blank screen would appear where the viewer normally would be.

          It was not immediately apparent what the problem was. A poorly installed codec? A broken web page? I rummaged around for a little while and found that the TNT support site stated that they didn't support Macs for viewing their shows. Why? Here's what the support site says:

           
          TNT.tv would like to apologize for not being able to accommodate Mac users.
          The issue is related to the Windows Media Player, specifically video with Digital Rights Management (DRM). This is because the WMP for the Mac is not supported directly by Microsoft . Our agreement with the studios that produce the shows stipulates that their content be protected (full episodes) from piracy with DRM software.
          Additionally, WMP is more universal than other platforms like QuickTime and Flash Video for distributing protected content.
           
          What they should have said was "We're really sorry that we didn't put a little Javascript up front to detect a Mac and indicate to you that we don't support your platform. No, we'd rather that you waste your time trying to figure out what the problem is first, then search through our support site to learn this little gem."
           
          I also love the statement that WMP is more universal than other platforms "like QuickTime and Flash". WMP is more universal than Flash Video?!? Um, no, it's not. According to Stat Owl, Flash content reaches 94.66% of internet viewers and Windows Media Player has a 73.9% market share (June '09 stats).
           
          That leaves over 21% of the population that can watch Flash based video unable to view TNT's content. That's over 65 million people in North America. Apparently TNT is all full up on market share and doesn't need access to that demographic.
           
          I didn't share all of this with my wife of course. I simply told her that she couldn't watch any TNT shows because their web site was broken. Sure, I could have loaded up Windows in a VM, fired up Internet Explorer and watched the video or maybe even found some solution to this little problem from a technical standpoint. In the end though I'd rather just mark TNT as a fail, write a rant about it and tell my wife to find something else to watch.

           

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          ArtWorks Featured

          Marketing Monday: The Offer

          Review

          The first two installments in this series we talked about the importance of knowing your Bizmodel and how the normal retail model doesn’t fit artsyfartsy bizs to well. We also described why they are different and why an artsyfartsy biz model needs to keep this specialness in mind when customizing their bizmodel.

          The offer

          The first part of the artsyfartsy bizmodel is the offer...basically what are you selling? And what are you selling it for? So you might think that this part of the model is pretty easypeasy

          You sell stuff you make to get $$$$$ right?

          Well there is a little more to it than that…so let’s take a look first what that simple thing does. See looking at your artsyfartsy bizmodel  as a way of selling your stuff to make dough for whatever reason breaks the all time do not ever break even if your life depends on it cardnal rule of selling artsyfartsy stuff. That rule is:

          Thou shalt not commoditize thy stuff!!!

          Of course you can but in the process burn out, hate your life, and head off to never-never land to escape the craziness of feeling like a factory. See when everything is all about getting dollars there is no time or energy to get to know who your buyers are and why they buy your stuff. In other words there is No Relationship. And guess what? Those swarms of buyers who are pushing and shoving each other to buy that dodad of yours will probably never buy another one because they are only interested in one thing…price, and maybe a momentary impulse to have your do-dad.

          Do you see what’s happened? This easy as pie gimme the dough business model did a couple of things:

          • It put the focus of the sales process on price;
          • Your handcrafted thing into just a thing a commodity.

            So what’s the big whoop about that?

            Well, in fact, some majorly stuff that could keep you stuck as a human production machine.

            First and really important is  that when price is the primary consideration all you really think about is whether you are charging to much, it is very easy to under price your stuff because those swarms of buyers are only concerned about price so you’ll easily fall down that slippery slop of keeping your prices down which in turn make sure your profit ends up being peanuts. So when you do need to raise your prices you end up obsessing over every penny being the one that will drive everyone away and you into the street.

            Second and this is also very important to understand… The real buyers, the ones who will come back again and again won’t be showing their smiling faces any time soon, because they are more interested in finding the solution to their problems. They may buy your thing but only because they thought it was cute or whatever. Their attention and focus is on getting that one problem solved…that is their mission.

            Third, all this craziness can also lead to no marketing at all “because it costs money” or to becoming one of those salesmany types always telling your buyers how cheap your stuff is. Most artsyfartsy types I know would rather stick a fork in their eyes than give away free hot dogs in order to sell their stuff. So they quietly sneak back to their studio to continue on thei happy journey of denial.

            So what is the artsyfartsy biz offer?

            129_ask_show071208-copyWell at first glance it doesn’t look like much but if you take a second look it changes the standard bizmodel by adding a little heart, which makes sure that all eyes focus on more than just that do-dad. The artsyfartsy bizmodel starts the following chain of events for your buyer:

            • Her problem is happily solved
            • She is now a happy buyer
            • A happy buyer buys more of your stuff
            • She happily brings her friends to buy your stuff

              When your focus is on happy buyers by understanding what problem your stuff solves, who it works for and what it is that makes them happy you change as well. Your focus shifts from “getting” to delivering. Or, what do you really need to make sure you can deliver the goods to keep those buyers happy and make them want to tell every other person like them how wonderful you are.

              Now the money

              At this point you may be starting to see the light that dollars are most important when they are looked at from the point of view of delivering the results you want to deliver. Say you want to be the one who makes art that makes people think or takes them to another place. Being focused on making sure your stuff actually does make people think or does take them off to dreamland will make it a lot easier to

              • Keep the sales process tuned into the relationship part of the sale
              • Almost guarantee that eyes won’t be looking anything else like price or the corner of the kiln you stuck that pot.

                The magic of it all

                Yes, it is magical, when you as an artsyfartsy biz owner changes your point of view. It’s almost like you just got new glasses, because you can now start to see your business as an organic whole and just a bunch of weird pieces that you can’t figure out how to work. Pieces are just pieces they may each have something they can do but alone they can only do that one thing.  So the marketing piece only does the marketing and can’t do it all that well on its own, and if it is joined by the the delivery part ( the part that is focused on happy campers) the two can support each other,

                Now, you’ll be able to not only learn what problem your stuff solves you’ll also know how to make sure the folks with that problem know you are the one who can make them happy because you have the solution! Having the solution helps those newbies to your stuff be happy and tell others like them about how happy you made them.
                In the end you sell more stuff or higher end stuff not because of its price but instead because of the solution it offers, because of the results the folks who buy your stuff experience.

                Finally, you start to see that your artsyfartsy biz is not selling stuff, it is selling particular solutions to problems your vision has seen as important for a certain group of people. Because that do-dad is not just a do-dad it is the sum total of your vision, your values. Your experience and everything else you have run across in life that brought you to this point. Without any of that you wouldn’t be able to see the problem in need of solution, you would’t be able to see how you have the answer or who has that problem.

                 

                Related posts:

                1. Marketing Monday: The Artsyfatsy biz model What exactly is a business model and why is it…
                2. Marketing Monday: The Holy Grail Just so you can understand how this approach to sales…
                3. Marketing Monday: how to use the Y-Factor Have you ever wondered how you could steer more buyers…

                 


                 

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                ArtWorks Featured Profiles

                Profile: Kristen Stein, artist

                Kristen Stein is a Contemporary Artist living in the Philadelphia region of Pennsylvania. Kristen’s works are currently available on a variety of online venues, or through her websites StudioArtworks.com and KristensCreations.com. Kristen’s paintings are in public and private collections within Australia, Canada, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Japan, the United Kingdom, and throughout the continental United States.

                Her art was featured in a special 2002 calendar in tribute to September 11th. Her cubist work appeared in promotional logos for the Ferndale Fine Art Show and appeared on the cover of the Allied Social Science Association’s annual meetings. Her whimsical art appeared on the cover of the Bulldog Club of Greater Seattle’s 2002 Specialty Show.

                Her painting “The Birth of Venus 2002″ won first place in a themed contest held by the emerging artists group “ESR@”.

                Her painting “The Jazz Club” appeared on the American Economic Associations Annual Meetings in January 2008.

                Kristen is the author/illustrator of the “The Vegetarian Lion” and the author of “Kristen Stein Contemporary Paintings”. She is also the illustrator of “Stacey McDuver’s House”. Kristen’s work will appear at the Straube Art Center during the Winter Fine Art Show in January – February 2009.

                stein1Kristen Stein featured artist the artistscenter

                Online

                Etsy Online Shop
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                Artist Website

                Current Exhibitions in Pennsylvania:

                etc1-copy
                Comcast Center, Philadelphia
                Square Peg Artery, Philadelphia
                Mew Gallery, Philadelphia
                Curiousity Shoppe, Philadelphia
                Moderne Life Interiors, Jenkintown
                Catcha Break Café, Abington
                Zero Gravity Dance Studios, Elkins Park
                Picasso Restaurant, Media

                Upcoming :

                Heritage Art Gallery, June 2009(Ohio)
                Island Time Gallery, June 2009 (Ohio)
                Bambi Gallery , June 2009 (PA)
                Arts in the Park June 2009 (PA)
                Mendez Homes September 2009 (PA)

                 
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                ArtWorks Featured

                Christy DeKoning on vision, sales and advice

                 

                Featured interview artist logo

                tryptichWhat is your vision for your art?

                To create something uniquely beautiful that captures a moment in a person’s life.

                What do you see your working doing for those who buy it?

                It makes the buyers very happy to see their loved ones presented in a way that is entirely different than what they might expect from an oil artist or a photographer. To keep it simple, it makes people smile.

                What has been the reaction to  making your work available in non-traditional ways, like mugs, jewelry etc?

                I haven’t committed a lot of time to novelty items, but the feedback I’ve received about my glass tile pendants has been very positive.

                Where do most of your sales come from?

                Etsy, followed by ArtFire and Boundless Gallery, then local (I’m a member of an Artist cooperative gallery called ARTspace in Chatham)

                What are the most important lessons you have learned about being an artist and selling your work?

                Be confident in yourself and your work, and don’t underestimate the value of your time, effort, specific skillset and knowledge.

                dyptich

                What advice would you give to other artists?

                Never stop learning, and never miss an opportunity. If an opportunity is presented to you, take it, learn from it, and use it to grow. Then try to “give back” whenever possible – join user groups, forums, share your work through demonstrations, critique other’s work if you have the knowledge to be helpful, and above all, try to remain open to rejection. It happens to all of us, and we learn from it. That’s the hardest part – don’t give up if someone says no.

                dyptych2

                 

                Related posts:

                1. Robin Pedrero lessons & advice What are the most important lessons you have learned about…
                2. Christy DeKoning on Marketing Art One of the things Christy has in common with the…
                3. Robin Pedrero on vision and growth Desire and necessity are the catalysts in the evolution of…

                 


                 

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                Marketing Monday: The Artsyfatsy biz model

                 

                marketing monday banner

                What exactly is a business model and why is it important? In a nutshell your business model is how intend to do business, note the emphasis is on the DO as opposed to PLAN. Most small bizes don’t really need a written business plan, since a well developed model is much more pragmatic. Once you graduate to a bazillion employees and offices all over the universe then you might want to think about a Biz model, but for now…not so much. Generally a business model goes like this:

                The Vanilla Biz Model

                • The offer…what kind of stuff do you have to sell
                • Who are you trying to sell that stuff to
                • How do you let folks know you have the stuff they want and how do they get it
                • What kind of relationship do you want to have with folks who buy and or have your stuff
                • What do you need to do pull all of this off
                • Where’s the money going to come from and how is it going to get to your sweaty hands
                • How much is all this going to cost to pull off so you can move out your Aunt Martha’s basement.

                The ArtsyFartsy Biz needs

                Realistically the model needs to be customized for artsyfartsy bizs just a little to take our funkiness into account. So a funkified artsyfartsy biz model will likely need to take things like this into account:

                You sell in a lot of different places,

                Generally, artists sell at art fairs, galleries, on-line or wholesale through wholesale shows. So you don’t really have the advantage of those using the retail/wholesale models…always being in the same place. This means your market research may be more or less challenging.

                You make the stuff you sell

                This may seem obvious the fact that you make the stuff you sell makes a difference because YOU are directly involved, the work not only comes out of you it takes your time as well. You can’t outsource it and truly be able to say it is yours, at least right now.

                What you make is a small line of products

                You may make one off stuff or you may design a line of things all made from the same material or in the same way. For example ceramic tableware, or jewelry similarly designed but with different functions, or a series of prints that can be hung separately but would be better together.

                You carry a small inventory of one type of thing or several similar things

                The inventory you are able to carry is limited by space in your studio garage or storage unit and the amount of schlepping you are able to do. It is also limited by the time it actually takes to make because even tho you would like to always be making it you have to sell it to keep making space for new stuff. You walk a fine line between maintaining your inventory and keeping up with sales.

                You are limited (or at least have been) to ways of talking to your buyers

                You may still feel limited in the ways you can talk to and court buyers. Even though the internet has created many new ways to find, connect with and develop buyers you still have limitations that other businesses don’t have.

                You are subject to random acts of one time sales

                If you haven’t adapted to the opportunities available through the internet and other avenues you will continue to be limited in terms of predictable income. And even if you do understand the opportunities, unpredictable sales will still be a factor in your business. The only way to reduce the effect of random sales is to both diversity your sales channels and step up your marketing efforts to create a loyal following of ready buyers.

                Next week we will take a detailed look at the first part of your art business model… the offer to help you understand just what it is you are selling. The following weeks we’ll cover each of the elements of the business model paying special attention to the needs of the artsyfartsy biz.

                 

                Related posts:

                1. Marketing Monday: The Holy Grail Just so you can understand how this approach to sales…
                2. Marketing Monday: The Offer The real buyers, the ones who will come back again…
                3. Marketing Monday: getting and using intelligence Now that you have taken the leap into the world…

                 


                 

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