During the upcoming weeks, we’ll be talking to artists on ArtWeb.com who are actively and successfully promoting and selling their work. They’ll be sharing their inside tips on marketing, giving you first-hand knowledge and advice on how to get your work out there.
This time we’ve invited Mary Larkin, jewellery designer-maker and the creative mind behind Muriel & Lily, to share her knowledge. You can see Mary’s fantastic work at http://www.murielandlily.co.uk/.
Please give a brief description of your art/design practice:
I’m a jewellery designer/maker with a small and busy business. I work mostly solo in my studio but have extra pairs of hands to manage some of my admin work and to give me support when I’m really busy. I make every piece of jewellery myself by hand and do my own photography and marketing. The vast majority of my sales are online with other sales through word of mouth and reputation.
How long have you been promoting and selling your work?
Since 2010, when I set up my business as a full time venture.
What has been your most successful channel for creating exposure and consequently sales (Pinterest, Facebook, Website)?
During the first year I tried every approach to marketing and sales I could manage, including setting up my website via the Artists Web, local and national advertising, a stall in one of London’s designer markets and specialist craft and design fairs. I quickly discovered what worked and what didn’t and found that promoting my work online was the best use of my resources, getting the best results. Three years ago I joined a site promoting independent designers called notonthehighstreet, and this has been hugely successful for me, with the majority of my sales coming through the site. They have a high profile and I reap the benefits of their extensive marketing, which I simply couldn’t do myself. I’m not currently promoting myself through Facebook etc. in any sort of consistent way, and know I’m missing a trick there. It’s quite high on my list of things to do.
What would you do different if you had to do it all over again?
I would drop things much more quickly if they didn’t work for me – it’s too easy to keep flogging something in the hope that it will work.
What’s your best piece of advice to the folks who are just starting out?
You won’t believe how hard you will need to work to get your practice/business going. Say ‘yes’ to everything and constantly evaluate what works and what doesn’t – and if something isn’t working change it or drop it. Keep yourself moving forward and never undervalue your work.
What do you do regularly to promote your artwork?
I get involved in as many events and promotions as possible. I’m about to take part in the South East Open Studios event through June, hoping to increase my profile locally. I try to say ‘yes’ to everything unless I know it’s not going to work.