Thank you everyone who came out to Arlington and got crafty with me at the Pinner’s Conference in my Create Your Own Flair Class. I had such a good time meeting new people, hanging out with my buddies Vickie Howell and Dian Sierra and teaching a room full of people courtesy of Plaid Crafts. How did I get hooked up with Plaid? How does a designer get work with a craft company? How can you get on the radar of your favorite craft store? These were just a few of the questions I got asked by students at the convention and I thought I would share my thoughts here.
Pictures are the key to a crafters heart. I don’t care if you are a crafter, designer, company executive, craft store employee or social media gatekeeper for a craft company – you like pretty pictures. Start with taking well lit photographs of your goodies to share on social media. I don’t need to tell you how important social media is for getting noticed, but you might not know the power of say an app like A Color Story for making all your photos extra white and bright. It costs $10, but if you take and share lot’s of photos on your phone spring for it. From there get snapping on some cute well styled photos. People love them some negative white space which is hard for me as a maxmallist, but they do. This was my suitcase full of loot I took to the Pinner’s Conference. I even did a Facebook Live tour of my suitcases, because ya know who does not want to see what I packed.
2) TAG, SHARE & SPREAD THE GOSPEL
Once you have all those pretty pictures share them with the world. If you were working with a specific company’s product like say Plaid Crafts tag them in the photos. The description might go something like this: “In love with the Dimensional Magic I got by Plaid Crafts”. However in Instagram and Twitter you would would add an @ symbol before Plaid and make it a click through link so the picture really shows up on the company’s radar. Hashtags are the way people find you on many social media platforms, especially Instagram. There are plenty of good applicable ones, but many craft stores have their own. Michaels has the #madewithmichaels tag for example. Find the custom tags for those large craft stores and companies and use them. This is an easy way to get discovered. I’m not saying they are going to hand over the keys to the crafty castle because you used a specific tag once a twice, but with enough stellar projects, pictures and posts they might repost you which can sometimes lead to other things.
3) LET THEM KNOW
Even though you have hash tagged your little crafty heart out, go ahead and let companies know when you have done something amazing with their products. I’ve gotten blogging deals with more than one company because I wrote a post using their product and then promptly emailed them and/or sent them a message through Facebook sharing the post. Companies want to see people using their products in clever and inspiring ways. If you are doing that LET THEM KNOW. What is the worst that is going to happen, they don’t write back? It’s not like they are going to scold you or tell you that you suck. If you are in a band with some amazing songs do you think you are going to get signed up with a huge record deal by sitting at home patting yourself on the back? No! You have to tell everyone, play it for everyone, do everything you can to get those songs into the ears of the right people. Same things with crafts.
4) GO WHERE THEY GO
I just read this amazing book by Jen Sincero called You Are a Badass. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. In the book Jen uses the example of someone who has a life goal of hanging out with the President. Yup the POTUS. If that is your dream then you are a lot less likely to have this happen rolling up to the grocery store in sweat pants and only hanging around at Cheddar’s. You would start going places he might go. Thinking of who you know that might know someone in Washington. Frequenting bars around the capital hoping for an in. Same is true if your dream is to work with a big craft company, blog or craft store. Go to conferences like the Pinner’s Conference & Expo. Hang out with other Boss Babes in your community. Frequent the Renegade Craft Fair when it comes through town. Look snazzy and carry a stack of business cards. Did I mention how much I love Moo Cards for this because you can have a different image of everything you make printed on the backs of your business cards. It’s all about the networking people. Remember that game 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon? Same is true for the CEO of JoAnn’s – you are just a few people and a few craft classes away from knowing that person.
5) STAY INFORMED
Sign up for newsletters, follow your favorite companies on Instagram and if your favorite thing in the world is Mod Podge like Plaid Crafts on Facebook. Many companies share opportunities via their social media channels and newsletters. Things like contests, call for design teams and more are all great ways to get your foot in the door. Stay informed by following your dream team everywhere you can.
Thanks again to Plaid Crafts for the supplies, The Pinners Conference and all the lovely ladies who came and took the class with me. I hope I answered some of the hot burning questions that I got asked during class. Don’t forget I have an entire Crafty Business section here on the blog. Some of the posts are old (don’t laugh if I reference My Space), but still some solid advice. Please leave me a comment if you have any other questions about getting the attention of craft companies. None of these are sure fire ways to become the next Martha Stewart and quit your day job, but they are a good start!