You’re still making art and designs, you still need to pay rent, but it might feel super weird – if not utterly tone deaf – to actively promote when so many people are having such a tough time. So what do you do? We take your success and well-being very seriously and want to share some resources and tactics that we think might help, while still being very sensitive to the current state of the world. To this end, we asked some of our favorite Artist Shops artists to chime in with how they’re thinking about creation and promotion during this time.
1. Be tactful, be sincere, be transparent
“Art is a form of connection. So just continuing to create art and share it with others is very important in a time of collective suffering and isolation. Also, continue to interact with people on your social media pages as much as you can; answer questions, share humor, talk.”
It’s one thing to post link after link of new products in your Artist Shop everyday, or worse, make light of the situation. It’s another to be sensitive to what’s happening with a deep amount of empathy, and be honest and transparent about your personal struggles, particularly if you rely on this income for your livelihood. You’re not asking for a handout – you’re using your talents to create beautiful things that bring joy to people.
2. People want to support YOU
“Look for the helpers. In these crazy times rely on your fans, be open about your feelings, and reflect that in your art; people will rely on it. This organic connection will work in your favor.”
Remember that your customers and fans simply want to support you. If they’re in a position to do so, they will. If they aren’t right now, they won’t. Either scenario is more than OK. If you rely on your Artist Shop sales as all or part of your income, then letting folks know that you have apparel and home goods available is important.
3. Who can YOU help?
“I think times like this provide an opportunity to step back from your work and think about the different ways we can continue to reach out to people across the world, even when we’re unable to leave our studio. Everyone is isolated in their own home, and everyone needs an escape. Artists can provide that escape, whether it’s through mailing a friend a drawing, or just sharing your art online with the world, artists can help bring light in even the darkest of times… Always keep creating!”
If you’re doing OK financially, then perhaps you can use your shop for good by way of offering a portion of your sales to a local restaurant, bar, cafe, or non-profit with which you align. Or better still, offer a new design or color variation specifically for them. If you offer masks in your shop, you’re already helping donate via our fundraising initiative for MedShare.
Pro-tip: you can also add collaborators to your designs if they have an Artist Shop! That way you don’t even have to worry about accounting or splitting up your profits – we’ll do that for you! Artists also use this tool when collaborating on a design together so you both can share in earnings.
4. Consider what people NEED right now
“Treat every item in your store like a piece of art. Don’t just add random items to your design because you can — actually stop and think: Does this design really make sense for this item? Promote your store the way you promote your art. Don’t think of it as an afterthought. It’s an extension of what you do, and if it’s just as important to you as your originals or your prints, that really translates to your fans.”
There’s a lot to process, and the news can be incredibly heavy on people’s minds. Humor – done tactfully and in doses – can work wonders to de-stress a bit. Does your work lend itself to that? Or are there new designs that can act as a surrogate for in-person hangs? Or perhaps colors or designs that are peaceful and calming? It’s not necessarily about pushing all of the same work as usual because things are different. How can you shift your designs, message, and creative offerings during this time?
5. Discounts work wonders
To that end, can you offer discounts or incentives that provide folks a bit of relief? If they’re a fan, but might not be able to go hog wild at the moment, perhaps you can make a specific coupon code for folks who work in the service industry or healthcare workers or other people who might appreciate you noticing their struggle and hard work.
6. Just hang tight
If promoting stuff just doesn’t feel right for you, don’t do it! There’s no wrong or right way to experience ANY of this, and we certainly don’t want to push you into an uncomfortable zone. You do you, and experience this how you need to. If and when you’re ready to get back to it, we’re here to help.
Finally, if you know someone who might need a leg up during the shutdown, our Community Action Plan is still in full effect, with increased earnings through May 31. If they have a logo, design (or two), they can simply email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and our Artist Shops team will help get a store up and running for them right away.