Creative Entrepreneurship

Branding

New Brand Stamp

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.

The topic of branding keeps popping up for me lately. For one, I’m about to start my 2013 show season and I need to order new business cards very soon, and probably retail bags. I’ve always made my own business cards because there’s a hand stitched element to them – actual stitching with thread. People love them and they are an excellent representation of my business. I freely admit to anyone that my sweet mom has been stitching them for me for ages so I can focus on other things.

But I’ve decided I’m over them, time to buy something far less labor intensive. I’ve known this for a couple of months and here I am a few weeks before my first show and I haven’t made a decision yet.

I was in discussions for a while with a very talented local graphic designer; we were thinking of partnering in creating website packages for artists. We talked about branding a lot.

Today, this blog post by Megan Auman of Designing an MBA, dropped into my mailbox. It resonated with me strongly because this is the year I’m taking a extra hard look at my pricing structure. (I know, we all say that every year, don’t we?)

My work is evolving into far more intricate designs and my prices will reflect that. So Megan’s point about creating a look to elevate the product is well taken.

Everything in my trade show booth is meant to tell you that I am not a bargain brand. The walls, the paint color, the custom display fixtures, the way I display the work itself, what I wear, and how I style myself. Before someone even walks into my booth, they know that I’m not cheap.

I especially like this, “what I wear”. Believe me, I know I’m about as far from being a fashionista as one can get. But with few exceptions I’ve always tried to dress “business casual” for my shows. Outdoor shows were the exception – too dang hot, comfort is key. But from the beginning, I’ve felt that casual dress in a craft show booth (jeans, sneakers, sweatshirt) gives the impression of a hobbyist. So I’ve always tried to dress as a professional artist, as best I can.

What I really want to do is dress like an eccentric artist! But being fashion-challenged, I can barely get the business casual look together. My first steps into eccentricity have been the glasses I’ve chosen. First I had green frames, now my frames are red. Yep, I’m really livin’ on the edge, people.

I hope you’ll take a minute to read Megan’s blog post, keeping in mind her photos are of her trade show booth at wholesale shows. Their intention is quite different than a retail art & craft show, but I know you’ll get her point.

Here’s something I do from time to time, looking for inspiration: Google (images): craft show booth. And for my fellow Pinterest addicts, search craft show booths and repin the ideas you like to one of your own boards for future reference.

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Comments on: "Branding" (6)

  1. Branding and presentation are certainly necessary for success in my opinion. My projections show that I won’t have the proper income to invest in this (or my wardrobe) for quite a while. Also I plan to make sure that any *sale* that I have is handled tastefully this year – maybe items that are discounted won’t even go to certain shows. I can’t wait until I am ready for the next part of my journey – branding!

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  2. Norma Stahlman said:

    All right! Can’t wait to see your new brand, that is if you create one.

    I have always felt you should dress more like an artist, you know with long flowing tops, think Rhoda Morgenstern. I have no idea where you find something like that but there must be someplace. Or I could make some if there is a pattern and fabric that you like.

    Whaddayathinkhuh?………Mom

    Oh, I forgot, Bert Sabia asked me to say Hi for her and she wanted to know where you would be selling your wares. I told her lots of stores but I forgot to mention Fairport Pharmacy, I will tell her that next week. She loves your work.

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    • Rochester Artisans said:

      Mother! Schleppy ol’ Rhoda Morgenstern?! I’m not doing the accent though. I was thinking more along the lines of Stevie Nicks. Too feminine and too nuts. Fine – make me a mumu or a caftan or something. (I’m kidding, please!)

      Guess what? I ran into Bert in Michael’s – on Thursday, I think it was! Does she “do computer” do you know?

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  3. Interesting article Stefani, I felt identified with it.
    Thank you for keeping us updated.I appreciate it.
    Juana

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  4. Great article Stefani! I was just thinking about what to wear at shows the other day!! I was in TJ Maxx (which I love) buying slippers for my daughter, while getting sidetracked in the store, I found a pretty black top with white polka dots….I tried it on, bought it and decided I need to wear something like that for shows- fun and stylish!
    Also, Does Tues morning work for me to stop in at the Pharmacy?
    Betsy

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