Yesterday was the Vermont Crafts Council Spring Arts Marketing Conference. I did not know what to expect, really, but thought it might be worth the time (and 3 hour round trip) to go. I was not disappointed! There was so much information, so many ideas, so many wonderful people; I wanted to share a few things that I learned there.
|image by patpitchaya|
The stories of the speakers and the obstacles they have overcome to get to where they are were inspiring. The innovative solutions were amazing! An artist, Peter Huntoon had purchased auction software and instead of selling for a fixed price, puts items up for bid – all from his web site! A gallery director, Sarah Mutrux, announced the opening of a fiber studio in Craftsbury, Vermont. Another speaker, artist Reed Prescott, introduced the project fundraising website of www.kickstarter.com, and told how it helped his business.
The afternoon was a series of workshops. I started at the Vermont Arts Council, and picked up all sorts of information from start-up grants to insurance. Lucie deLaBruere’s “Mobile Media Mania” was a how-to in using phones and tablets to capture not only photos, but audio and video that can be used in various ways online to promote your business. Many times the importance of some sort of photo album online of your work was emphasized. How to create and use QR codes (the blobs that smart phones can scan and read) was also covered!
“Isn’t That Pinteresting?”by Elissa Campbell showed us how to use Pinterest, as well as social media in general. I found it amusing that social media success can be broken down into 4 steps: like, share, follow, and post new stuff. Once you have an online portfolio, your only limit on how to use it to expand your business is your own imagination.
During lunch and breaks, the other artisans in attendance were very friendly and full of advice based on their own experiences. This is the kind of support that is really needed for anyone starting out. Little things, like having a plate of cookies or some sort of snacks available at Open Studio Weekend, are not published on the official guidelines, but are an added touch that most of the artisans do.
A great big thank you to all of you I met yesterday!!