The PolyClay Blog with Charleston Clay Jewelry and Studio

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Market Yourself and Your Art!

Simple and Effective Tools for Marketing You and Your Art Based Business!

Many of you don't know that before I came to be a full time artist and designer I was in Marketing and Public Relations.  I started small at a local golf course in my city designing materials and managing sales, then finally moving into an incredible position as Marketing and PR Director with Xerox Corporation.  While I loved my job, I realized that it was indeed taking over my life.  I missed my daughter and my husband and I desired more for my family and myself.  

Upon leaving the corporate world I had no idea what I was going to do.  It was by true accident and divine intervention that my medium found me!  As I discovered my unknown talents, I decided that I could use the amazing things I learned in my corporate job to grow my art business. I've compiled links and lists of FREE and easy tools for you to use in growing and marketing your art business! 

Image Is Everything

Before beginning your journey into growing and marketing your art you must decide who your business is. This is important because you must decide where you will take your pictures (outside, inside, on grass, hanging up or laying down) and you must use this background as your signature look.  Don't constantly change where you take your pictures!!! You should brand yourself with a specific look and don't forget your signature on each photo(which I will help you with shortly)

I use the front porch of my studio to take all my pictures.  The natural light and the beautiful worn wood provide the perfect back drop for my work.  I decided that my branding was to be sophisticated, yet rugged and earthy, which is exactly what my jewelry designs are.

Notice how the sunlight captures the silver and shows good detail on the pendant?  This is shot in non-direct sunlight on a porch.  You should not shoot in direct sunlight as many times you will get a glare or shadowing that is very undesirable. I am also showing a picture I did using a light box:

You'll notice the light box provides even lighting (though I used an app here to create a little color in the surrounding of the necklace) but I find that natural light provides a more realistic photo of the piece.  Thus giving your customer a true picture of what they are receiving.  If you really enjoy working with light boxes why not make your own?  Click here to go to my Pinterest Board for a DIY on how to create an inexpensive one:                

Take Your "Pic"

Now, you don't need a thousand dollar camera to take stunning, high quality pictures.  You should, however, be using an up to date digital camera with a macros setting and 20 pixels is ideal.  I use a Nikon Coolpix S3500 which retail between $95 and $115 USD!  If you are taking your business to the next level at all this is a small investment with BIG rewards.  

Remember when taking close-ups of your work to use the Macros setting.  It usually looks like a flower on the buttons of your camera.  

The next very important step in you photography is design, layout, and logo.  Now that you have all these beautiful pictures, how should you edit and sign them??  You have a lot of options out there but my favorite is PicMonkey.  It's free, simple, and fun to use!  Make sure you play around with this website for a bit and once you have a desired look stick with it! Find the font you think best suits your brand and create your logo too.  Here is a photo collage I did with PicMonkey and this is the design that I ALWAYS use on my Instagram feed.

Below is my standard photo and my logo signature.  Again, you don't have to go out and spend big bucks for a custom logo unless you really want to.  I simply use the same font and sign each photo in the PicMonkey website:

A few very important things to remember:

  1. Your photo should be cropped to focus only on the piece.
  2. The background should be simple. NO busy patterns, shiny materials, or clutter.
  3. Avoid bright colored backgrounds.  This can be distracting.
  4. NO direct sunlight- this makes for a harsh glare. 
  5. Practice a lot!!  Take photos in different areas and lighting until you find the perfect place.

*Use PicMonkey to create all kinds of marketing materials-like postcards to hand out or mail out*

Going To The Market

Okay, so now you have your brand identity, brand consistency, beautiful what?  It's time to head to the market place!  

The market place consists of websites, social media, press, blogs.......and it's enough to make your head spin. Don't forget about your local market place- boutiques, craft shows, and art markets.  It's easy to understand why so many people avoid this step.  It also requires a heaping dose of confidence in your self and your work to pursue this effectively.  As artists, many of us avoid the possible pain of rejection.  It's difficult to put your heart and souls work out there for others to critique.  If you are content with making your work only for yourself and a few others, than you can skip this step entirely.  If you desire to grow a business then you must develop a thicker skin.  Here are some great websites to help you learn to market your art!

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DON'T Forget about your local market places!

Seek out craft fairs, boutiques, art markets, galleries, guilds, local bloggers, magazines, and so much more!  Here are several ways I communicate with local opportunities:

  1. Find contact info on all your local magazines, papers, art publications, etc.  This is easy to find on their websites under contact info.  Look for the content editors or press release managers.  Write up a simple press release on your business for anything exciting about what you do, then send this in and get published!  Pretty simple.
  2. Because I create art jewelry, I am in touch with all the boutiques and clothing stores in my city.  I set up trunk shows and pop-up shops all over town to sell and showcase my jewelry.  I also offer a great marketing collaboration with these venues and it's almost always FREE!  This helps you and the boutique you are working with.
  3. Local guilds are a wonderful thing!  Get involved and get inspired!  Not only will you meet other artists, but many guilds have marketing and advertising opportunities for all the artists.  Showcasing your work, collaborating for shows, booking events and much more will be available as part of your membership.  
  4. With the intense trends in social media it's important to get to know your local bloggers too.  If you are on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or other forms of social media,  you can do a search for art bloggers, fashion bloggers, event bloggers, etc.  Reach out to them and introduce yourself.  Many of them will showcase your work and write up articles about what you do in exchange for providing them with a piece to wear or own.  
  5. Sign up online for your cities events pages.  You can do a search to find all the craft fairs that are coming up and be able to apply or join in on the fun!  Attend these events or buy a booth- either way I have gotten a lot of business from these!

OKAY!  I think this will get you started and get your juices flowing for the next post on BUILDING YOUR EMPIRE!  

Don't hesitate to message or comment with questions!  Ta Ta for now y'all!


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