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Trends: Promoting through the Sampler

Jan 16, 2008

by Vanessa Bertozzi handmade and vintage goods

The Sampler
is a way for indie artists and crafters to get the word out about their small businesses. We thought this might be an interesting lens through which to look at trends in creative and entrepreneurial promoting.
We asked Home of the Sampler‘s Lynn Kysh and Marie Kare about any trends she’s spotted over the holiday push.

Many Etsians subscribe to and submit to the Sampler. Here’s what absolutelysmall had to say about it: "Working with the Sampler has been delightful! I’ve been featured on blogs because of it. It’s also been a really great stepping stone for me taking Absolutely Small seriously as a business. (Serious is a relative term, however.) Plus, I love receiving the Sampler in the mail. It’s like a grab bag of mystery presents! I’m in it this month again. It’s the only place outside of Etsy where you can score one of the new Chickenpants Limited prints."

Read on for Lynn and Marie’s picks!

I’m noticing a lot of artists/photographers sending in prints or ACEOS of their art.  Here are some Etsians who’ve submitted and whose work we admire:

Check out this amazing photo by curioush.

Marie and I are noticing a lot more letterpress which is interesting. Are they all taking the same class together or have tiny little letter pressing machines in their houses?

And personally, I looooooove these robots! I think they’re for way HOT!

Sampler Town was busy this holiday season! Keep your eyes peeled for the Boston (and the surrounding area) Sampler and brand new Samplers Select.

Give a shout-out in the comments if you’ve ever submitted to the Sampler!

Oh, ps!
lizardpress had this to say about the Sampler and other ways to promote your biz:

"What is great about the Sampler, is that real live samples go out — the beauty of letterpress is that it takes a bite out of the page, you can feel and touch the letters, this 3-D quality is difficult to appreciate on a screen, no matter how fantastic the photo quality. By printing extra cards to send the Sampler, my cards get in the hands of potential purchasers and if they use them (some of my customers don’t — they tell me they are going to frame them and that’s ok too!), then the receiver is also seeing my work.

I’ve done two issues of the Sampler so far, they send samples to their regular subscribers, but a select few also to media people and I love finding my cards pop up on blogs across the net — MAKE magazine and are a couple of the blogs my work got to! Also, Marie from the Sampler contacted me to do a card for their upcoming Winter White Sampler Select, so that is an extra bonus!

For promoting on the ground, letterpress is really big in San Francisco and we are lucky to have the San Francisco Center for the Book ( that is a great network of letterpress, bookbinding and paper craftspeople which are great sources of information as well as finding out venues to market letterpress items. The SFCB and other bay area organizations the Pacific Center for the Book and the Bay Area Book Artists put on a few fairs that I’ve had great success at–customers come looking for cool letterpress stuff!

On the web, bloggers linking to other bloggers have been great to get the word out — ordered my 2007 Book Arts and Printers’ Fair poster off of Etsy and had a photo of it on her blogspot and I had a rush of orders for it over the next week. The same is true with my 2008 calendar that was featured in the Storque!"

Ooo! pps.
artbynorm had this to say about using ACEOs:
"It’s challenging for a visual artist to promote one’s own artwork. Artwork is such a personal thing – it’s not something a buyer usually stashes in a drawer or closet and only brings out when the mood moves them. Art is something a person often looks at everyday. Buyers often have to see the artwork many times before they buy it — I guess the feeling is that if you see it 10 times and still love it, it’s ok to hang in your livingroom!

That said, the Sampler was a great way for me to spread the word about my artwork. I offered ACEO’s so that people would have the chance to put up a little piece of Norm and "test drive" it. ACEO’s are the perfect size – they are small enough that you can put it anywhere – you don’t need "that special place". Also, since my ACEO’s are #’d, they are essentially collectible. I will only print 100 of each painting. When I’m rich and famous one day, they maybe worth big $$ — and hopefully people will hold on to them that long to say ‘I knew her when…’"


  • samann1121

    samann1121 said 9 years ago

    Yep, I've submitted to the Sampler and might do so again some day. It's a fun concept!

  • scarywhitegirl

    scarywhitegirl said 9 years ago

    EtsyRain, the Seattle street team, just sent in a BIG Sampler contribution. Also, we <3 ArtByNorm also! :)

  • EternalSunshine

    EternalSunshine said 9 years ago

    I was part of the Brooklyn Sampler, the one that sold out in mere hours I think!

  • imakecutestuff

    imakecutestuff said 9 years ago

    Yay NORM! EtsyRain TOtally hearts ArtbyNorm! Norm is rad. Norm is cool. Norm is utterly Norm! :D

  • byrobinlynne

    byrobinlynne said 9 years ago

    I'm a Sampler vet! Kinda.. I've been in one before (November 07 whut.) and will be in the one for February too. Yay! Go Sampler!! It's fun times.

  • Beadoodles

    Beadoodles said 9 years ago

    I've done it, and highly recommend it. I got amazing press each time I've contributed, but the most noteworthy was when a writer for an AP service contacted me for photos! (Thank you Media Sampler) It's fun to brainstorm cost effective samples and eye catching packaging! Though I can't contribute every month, I have a goal of doing so at least twice a year.

  • futurowoman

    futurowoman said 9 years ago

    Wow, I'm so honored to be name-checked in this article, thank you! The Sampler has been a great experience for me, and I can't wait to take part again! Thanks for all you do to promote artists and makers!! :)

  • SweetStella

    SweetStella said 9 years ago

    I've contributed to the Sampler before! It was a great experience and I hope to resume my contributions after my little side-project is finished: I am helping to coordinate a City Sampler to represent Columbus, Ohio. Check it out:

  • LiSoCards

    LiSoCards said 9 years ago

    This sounds fantastic! I can't wait to check out their site.

  • IttyBittiesForYou

    IttyBittiesForYou said 9 years ago

    Thank you so much for including my robots in this article! The Sampler was a wonderful experience--hard work!--but totally worth it!

  • curioush

    curioush said 9 years ago

    Thank you so much for including me in this! I am an avid Sampler recipient and hope to contribute again soon. The Sampler is so fun.

  • BreadandBadger

    BreadandBadger said 9 years ago

    I've contributed to the Sampler a bunch of times and had fantastic results! I've gotten press from blogs and two magazines (VenusZine and Vogue Knitting). It's hard to promote your work without shelling out big bucks for ads that don't always work, but The Sampler is different! I'm honored to have contributed some one of a kind robot shot glasses for the debut Sampler Select:

  • LASdesigns

    LASdesigns said 9 years ago

    I was part of the Seattle street team (etsyrain) sampler. I just got my Feb. in the mail last week and blogged about my favorite goodies. It was so fun! I think I'll do it again as an individual as soon as I can...

  • lorisstylinghairstuf

    lorisstylinghairstuf said 8 years ago

    Just found this and love it! A great way to see the different products on here :D

  • lynann

    lynann said 8 years ago

    What a great way idea, i'll just have to get some samples together to contributed. well thats my next couple of hours planned :-)

  • UniqueElephant

    UniqueElephant said 8 years ago

    sounds like fun and I love samples.

  • memories2112

    memories2112 said 7 years ago

    bookmarking for future ref. Thanks!!!!

  • jennyhoople

    jennyhoople said 7 years ago

    I'm considering it!

  • Astellamelu

    Astellamelu said 7 years ago

    I love the idea!

  • WhimsicalWinston

    WhimsicalWinston said 7 years ago

    Still new at all this. Making mental notes for the future. Thank you!

  • shanekelley

    shanekelley said 7 years ago

    where do you find more information on the sampler - what and how to submit :)

  • starrstores

    starrstores said 5 years ago how do i get my items there?

  • saraink

    saraink said 5 years ago

    Links for The Sampler are not working. Where can I find this?

  • WraptureJewelry

    WraptureJewelry said 5 years ago

    Is "The Sampler" still out there? The linked website is gone and I can't find an updated one. You should consider revising or removing this article.

  • bibisoaps

    bibisoaps from BibisNatureSoaps said 3 years ago

    What the heck is "the Sampler"!!! i clicked on it and it took me to a japanese site. Has anyone checked the article. It was written in 2008 while this is now 2013!! Someone needs to refresh!!

  • webdesign

    Sandy Rowley from BannerSetDesigns said 2 years ago

    Is there an updated Sampler? The link goes to a blog about Kyoto Japan.

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