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:
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?
Give a shout-out in the comments if you’ve ever submitted to the Sampler!
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 craftypod.com 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 (www.sfcb.org) 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 — sfgirlbybay.blogspot.com 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!"
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…’"