FolkArte, one of my shops in Chicago, mid 1990′s
I have been working with artists and small importers since 1988 and have learned many of my lessons the hard way, ‘The School of Hard Knocks’. Twenty of those years were spent in a brick and mortar environment and at least ten of them selling online. I sold on eBay back in the day when digital cameras were so expensive that we scanned real prints to make digital images. We were all on dial-up connections and I would putter with other things while images loaded.
These days I focus mostly on the virtual world. Retail on the internet has exploded into a complex maze of sites that overwhelm most of us. Not only must you have your website and blog, but you also have to wade through the ever-changing demands of social media:
An artist who sells online not only has to make product for sale, but that product also has to be inventoried, photographed, packed, shipped. Marketing it can become a full-time job, leaving little time to create.
How can I help you?
I have found that one does not need to be everywhere, but that where we are should be vibrant and full. Do a search for Rachel Biel, Rayela Art and The Textile and Fiber Art List on the web. You will see pages of results. TAFA would never have grown as quickly as it has without Facebook. I can help you figure out a strategy that works for you and your business where you, too, can grow your brand and generate a following. There are tricks to help make things less time-consuming. Some people get fed up and opt out of everything, but I see all of this as a tool, like a telephone or copy machine. You can take control and make it yours to use as you see fit, rather than being swallowed up by the frenzy out there.
Here are some specific ways in which I can help you:
- Product Development: Are you making things that will sell? I can give you ideas of what might find a larger audience.
- Presentation: Good photography is essential to selling well online. So is your presentation. How old is your website or blog? Are they integrated with each other?
- Social Media: Where should you be? Some people enjoy writing while others are more comfortable with posting photos. We’ll look at your comfort zone and create a strategy. I can teach you how to use your chosen platforms well.
- Blog Design: I have seen hundreds of blogs and most are not used to the fulness of their potential. I can help you get the most important tools in place.
If you are frustrated and confused about what to do with your business online, contact me and we will work out a plan. I charge $20/hr and the initial consultation is free.
My primary focus is working with people who are selling handmade textiles and fiber art, but the same strategies work for most small businesses.
TAFA’s Test Market Site