Today I find the arts & crafts shows are jam-packed with artists and crafters, especially at Christmas, and it can be hard to not only be able to get space to exhibit, but for those with guilds behind them, to move up the waiting list.
I recently had an opportunity to join a women's business network. And I quickly discovered this to be a great networking and referral resource. In just two months (one month as a member), not only have I gotten a couple of new clients, but may also have some leads on new shows, which I am quite sure I would not have heard about until it was too late, and also some businesses in which to promote my work.
So let's compare some of the benefits of joining a guild and joining a business network:
- profile on their website
- minimal $ to join
- sometimes discounts at an art store or other supplier
- workshops - but the focus is on business skills and marketing - all very valuable in promoting yourself at an artist or crafter. Many artists are very skilled in this area, many are not.
- demos - they may not be related directly to your own artistic techniques and talents, but who knows how they may fit in future, or how you may be able to set up a potential partnership to enhance your own product.
- critiques - The business network members are picky about what they buy as they then pass along your items to their clients. Quality matters. And who better than other members to give feedback on your work!
- Exhibitions - Business networks have access to other types of shows that one can tap into, and are on many mailing lists. Heck, they can create their own events too, meaning additional opportunities for you.
- Profile on their website - Yes, that's a big part of a network promoting their own group.
- Minimal $ to join - similar cost to an art guild
- Discounts? Ask and you may just receive from some of the other members.
It's not easy for artists to market themselves. And with so many competing to get booths and tables in art shows and in craft shows, it's very important to find alternative, creative ways to get our goods out into the market. An online presence is critical too. Showing your work in person cannot be beat. Perhaps next month I'll talk about that online presence and some of the keys to creating art websites.