Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?

When it comes to cultivating creative inspiration, it seems like there are two schools of thought: One, freeing the mind to let creativity happen when it happens, and two, scheduling yourself “creative thinking time” in order to make it happen.

Of course, there’s no “right” way to inspire creativity—it’s different for everyone—but there may be a best route for you. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, busy Minted artists Alexandra Nazari and Sarah Curry share how scheduling works for them.

Alexandra Nazari
Los Angeles
Minted Artist Store • alexnazari.xyz • Instagram: @AlexandraNazari

I think it’s a very romantic idea to think that artists don’t need some sort of routine. In practice, however, I’ve found that scheduling blocks of time is the best way for me to develop my work. I try to spend at least a few hours every other day at my studio. If I can’t make it there because I’m tired or unmotivated after a long day at my day job, I try to at least tackle some retouching or printing tasks. It’s sort of like working out—even if you can’t make it to the gym every day, there are still ample little ways to maintain your fitness.

If I’m on deadline and creatively stuck, I like to go for a long drive to clear my head. Also, turning off my cell phone is another great way to stay on task.

California Dreams” by Alexandra Nazari

Upside” by Alexandra Naziri


Sarah Curry
Santa Cruz, California
Minted Artist Store • Instagram: @sarahcurrydesign • Twitter: @pinksuitcase
Portraits of Sarah Curry by Blue Lace Photography 

I work full time as an art director, so I have to block out chunks of time during evenings and weekends to design stationery and work on other creative projects. My routine really depends on my available time and deadlines I have to meet.

On weekday evenings, after spending a good part of the day working on a computer, it really helps me to get outside to refocus and refuel my creative energy. On weekends when I have a little more time, I love experimenting with painting and photography, or grabbing my sketchbook and heading to the beach or a coffee shop. I feel like I get more ideas when I work on art that is tactile and exercises different parts of the brain. My Stamped Seashells fabric was the result of an experiment with seashells, sumi ink and kraft paper. Other experiments haven’t turned out as well but I always learn something in the process.

When time is limited or I’m trying to meet a deadline, it’s not uncommon for me to go straight to the computer to start designing or to work late into the night. These times can make for long days and lost sleep, but in the end I think it’s all worth it to do something I love.

Gilded Brush” Foil-Pressed Holiday Card by Sarah Curry

Stamped Seashell” Table Runner by Sarah Curry


How about you—does a scheduled routine inspire or stifle your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

READ MORE #WHATINSPIRESME
Has anything ever scared you so much it’s inspired you?
Who’s your biggest creative influence?
When you need a quick creative pick-me-up, what do you do?

Published November 9, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... 3   COMMENTS

Announcing the Winner of our First Outside Art Challenge!

For the very first time, Minted is taking your art to the streets—our street! We hosted our first Outside Art Challenge in October 2015, and we were blown away with the number of fresh and modern submissions we received. Out of 342 submissions, we have one winner, 10 runners-up, and one Special Editors’ Prize.

We’re thrilled to announce that the winner, as voted by California voters, is “Wind in the City” by Yuke Li! “This is an image of wind passing by,” Yuke says. “When the wind blows, the dandelions fly.”

windinthecity.jpg

We just finished painting “Wind in the City” on Minted’s headquarters building this week. We are so excited to share it with all of you and our neighbors in San Francisco’s Jackson Square neighborhood, where indeed it can get windy! Check out the video below to see our blank wall turn into a beautiful canvas.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on Announcing the Winner of our First Outside Art Challenge!

The Essential Checklist for Minted Artist Stores

We’ve boiled down the easiest and most important steps to get your Store ready for the November rush.

Log into Minted.com, and navigate to your Artist Merchandising Tools by visiting the Artist Dashboard and clicking the My Store link.

1. ADD YOUR COVER IMAGE AND ARTIST SIGNATURE

Read these instructions for preparing your Artist Signature file.

The cover image in Bethania Lima’s Minted Artist Store

2. ADD UP TO 5 IMAGES TO YOUR ABOUT YOURSELF CAROUSEL 

Read advice in “7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand” and “10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store.”

Miranda Mol’s About Yourself carousel in her Minted Artist Store

3. SPOTLIGHT YOUR HOLIDAY SECTION

If you have Holiday products, use your Merchandising Tools to position your Holiday section after your Store Home section, so that it appears as the second category tab on your Store. For technical advice, read these FAQs, and watch this instructional video.

4. MERCHANDISE YOUR FEATURED PRODUCTS

Featured Products are the first row of four products, within a carousel of up to 12 products. Read insights from the Minted Merchandising Team in “How to Merchandise Your Store for the Holidays.”

5. CREATE CUSTOM SECTIONS AND REARRANGE YOUR PRODUCTS

To position your best products at the top of each section, use Merchandising Tools to change the order in which they’re displayed. For help, read the “How can I curate my Store?” FAQ and watch this instructional video. Read more insights in “Top 10 Tips for Curating Your Minted Artist Store.”

6. ROUND OUT YOUR ASSORTMENT WITH SELF-LAUNCH PRODUCTS

Self-launch non-customizable products without going through the Design Challenge process. Minted offers self-launch non-customizable art, fabric, notebooks, wrapping paper, mini cards, and A2 and A7 stationery. Read more about self-launch in FAQs.

Pandercraft’s Holiday Headliner Gift Tag, a self-launched minicard

7. ADD YOUR STORE URL TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES 

Stacy Kron’s Instagram includes a link to her Artist Store

8. PROMOTE YOUR MINTED PRODUCTS AND STORE ON SOCIAL MEDIA 

Read our advice in the Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores:

What are the Best Social Media Platforms For You?
6 Tips for Creating Engaging Social Media Content
9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following

9. SHARE MINTED PROMOTION CODES WITH YOUR NETWORK 

Stay tuned—we’ll email you codes and more information in November.


This is the eighth article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, and sell their work. 

RELATED ARTICLES & RESOURCES
5 Tips for Getting Press From Local Media and Blogs
How to Promote Your Artist Store Beyond Social Media
What Are the Best Social Media Platforms for You?
9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store

Published October 29, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on The Essential Checklist for Minted Artist Stores

Save the Date Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Newly-engaged couples will soon be coming to Minted to search for unique and personal ways to announce their upcoming nuptials. We asked you, our talented Minted design community, to completely refresh our Save the Date assortment with a large number of truly exceptional new designs. We were blown away with the number of eye-catching and design-forward submissions in this challenge. Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!

Collection Award: For the first time ever, we are awarding the ability to launch a full end-to-end wedding collection based on a winning Save the Date design. Each design below will receive a guaranteed full wedding suite collection, including a coordinating Wedding Website,Wedding Invitation, and Day Of pieces.

Click through to see more special prize winners from our invitation challenge

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... 1  COMMENT

Meet a Minted Artist: Kamala Nahas

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: photographer Kamala Nahas, who lives with her family in lives in Camarillo, California.

Kamala Nahas has always loved snapping photos, but it wasn’t until a trip to Arizona’s Antelope Canyon in 2011 that something clicked. She came home inspired and enrolled in classes to hone her technique; two years later, Kamala started her own photography business. Here, the Southern California-based shutterbug shares a glimpse into her life, process, and inspiration.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
I’ve loved snapping pictures for as long as I can remember, but I never took it seriously. About four years ago we took a family road trip to Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. I had just gotten a new camera and literally ditched my family to go on a six-hour photography tour in Antelope Canyon. This was the first time I completely immersed myself into photography and was smitten with the whole process. Looking back, that was the beginning for me. For years I’d taken pictures at holiday gatherings, on vacations, and at my kids’ school events. Even though people told me I “had an eye,” I think part of me was afraid of making a serious try at something I’d never really been trained to do. Brooks Institute is close to my home and they offer workshops for budding photographers. It’s nothing like attending the school itself, but participating in a few of the workshops in the years that followed the Antelope Canyon shoot allowed me to gain some technical knowledge and see how I stacked up. About two years ago I started a small portrait and event photography business: Tall Poppy Photography. I love it. Even though it’s been so much fun capturing special moments and connections between people, my heart has always been in nature and landscape photography. Last year, I finally got the courage to submit some photos to Minted and explore the more creative side of my work. I feel fortunate to be a part of this community and can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

Did you study photography formally in school?
Aside from six weeks of photography in community college and a workshop here and there, I’m self taught.

What are some of your own “rules” for living + working?
In all things:
Be Authentic
Stand Up For Yourself and Others
There’s Always More Than One Way
Take A Chance
Wing It
Get Lost, Get Messy, Sing Loudly, Dance

Please describe your last month in a word.
BIG

What are you serious about?
I’m super passionate about education and volunteer a good portion of my time in schools. I’m very serious about finding ways of reinventing our educational system to ensure our next generation is made up of thinkers, innovators, and makers with a global conscience. I’m also very serious about preparing grilled cheese sandwiches properly—crunchy on the outside, creamy in the middle, with a side of homemade tomato soup to dip the corners into.

What things will you never take seriously?
Road trips, chocolate, and mashed potatoes are all things that should never be taken seriously—even when they are bad, they are still good.

Please tell us about your family.
I’ve been married for twenty years to my first and only true love. We have three children. My oldest is my daughter Asha who is almost fifteen. She is my partner in crime and assists me in my business—I’m going to be pretty lost when she goes off to college in a couple years. My oldest son, Sassin, is twelve. He has a generous spirit and can generally be found playing soccer in real life or on the XBox. My youngest son is almost ten. His name is Samir and he is the character in the family. He is constantly building something or making something or experimenting with something or getting away with something. Our house is loud and messy, but we love each other a bunch and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Click through to read more from Minted artist Kamala Nahas

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on Meet a Minted Artist: Kamala Nahas

Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?

Sometimes fear can be a good thing—in the sense that it can inspire you to take a risk or move in a new direction. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, we asked Lehan Veenker, Natalie Groves, and Annie Seaton to answer the question Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?

Lehan Veenker
Plainfield, Illinois

As strange as it may sound, the thought of not being able to stay at home with my kids scared me. My husband and I always knew that having one of us stay home with our kids was important to us. In order to make that happen, I needed to find a career that would allow me to work at home with kids, and neither of my former professions would allow the time and flexibility to make that a reality.

I have always been fond of art and design and stumbled upon Minted in 2008 when it was just starting. I decided to enter a couple of challenges and didn’t have any winning designs. In my mind, I completely failed to enter anything close to the caliber of designs already present at Minted. I was scared of failing again and missing this amazing opportunity to work at home with our then-future-now-present children, so I took a break to learn. I taught myself about Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, textures, typography—anything design-related that I could get my hands on. This self-teaching hiatus lasted about two years. In September 2010, I decided to give Minted another shot and actually had some winning designs in the wedding challenge that year.

From then on out, I continued to build my collection on Minted, which enabled me to stay at home with my kids. Even before they were born, my children were the catalyst of my graphic design career, and they continue to inspire me every day, as seen in works like my “Heritage Children” art print and my “Enjoy The Little Things” holiday design.

Heritage Children” by Lehan Veenker

Enjoy the Little Things” by Lehan Veenker


Natalie Groves
Exira, Iowa

One day my family and I were checking on our pumpkins, and we came across a giant garden spider! He had intricate yellow designs on his big black body. He was so spooky that we were in awe, and instead of smashing him, we let him be and visited him every time we entered the pumpkin patch (mostly because we didn’t want him to surprise us in a different location). His web became one of the “homes” featured in my latest painting for the A is for Art Challenge.

Our daughter Navine (rhymes with “pine”) loves to investigate new things with her little pointer finger. It’s so fun to teach her about the world, and I love that I can do that through illustration.

Homes” by Natalie Groves

Name Bearers” by Natalie Groves


Annie Seaton with two Two Venice Beach longboarders. (Photo by Sonja Schenk)

Annie Seaton
Sherman Oaks, California

That would be pretty much everything. Let’s start with my decision to get pregnant and have two kids. I was scared to let go of my career and allow myself to become a mother. I always tell my children they are my best creative project. I never anticipated they’d become my best muses.

One of the reasons I named my daughter Violet was after a favorite oil color “Quinachridone Violet.” I felt her name reflected my creative values. Now, some of my bestselling artworks and paintings are of Zac and Violet. I would have never guessed I would paint them, and documented their entire childhood through my lens and paintings.

Secondly, I took a risk and decided to be a full-time artist after raising them. I moved into my own art studio and exhibited in the U.S. and Canada. It was a scary risk to not go back to a traditional job, and years later my artworks are selling in my Minted Artist Store.

Lastly, I did return to work and ran a brand-new photo gallery from the ground up as its director. I was scared, because I didn’t know if I could handle it and be a mom at the same time. I built up its program from zero, curated bi-monthly exhibitions, threw major special events, and grew to a very significant place in the L.A. photo scene. I was scared but I told myself,  “Don’t think Annie—just do it.” And it was one of the best projects I ever did and I’m proud of every exhibition and all the artist friendships I’ve made there.

Zachary And Violet Oxnard I” by Annie Seaton  

Zach and Violet Intertube” by Annie Seaton


How about you—has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

READ MORE #WHATINSPIRESME

Who’s your biggest creative influence?
When you need a quick creative pick-me-up, what do you do?
How has education inspired your creativity?

Published October 26, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?

5 Tips for Getting Press From Local Media and Blogs

Written by Brady Wood

What’s not to love about publicity? In addition to being free (or, at least, inexpensive), press coverage is more organic and authentic than paid advertising. Both press coverage and advertising have their places in building a brand. PR, in its pure form, is an objective, editorial endorsement of your work. PR vouches for you, whereas advertising is inherently self-promotional.

Want to hear another beautiful thing about PR? The saying is true: press begets more press. Journalists and bloggers read each other’s work. Once you garner some coverage, you’re more likely to be discovered by other journalists and bloggers and get included in their stories, as well.

The Minted PR Team has strong relationships with national publications and publicists. Our team pitches stories about a wide variety of Minted artists to national media (and select international media), ranging from magazines to television to major blogs.

To build your personal brand with publicity, we encourage Minted artists to start local, including local newspapers, entertainment and arts weeklies, blogs, and local TV. Not sure where to begin? Here are five tips to help get you started.

Shari Margolin’s “Illustrious Hanukkah” card was featured in a holiday cards feature in Atlanta Magazine’s November 2013 issue.

1. Create Your Pitch List

When it comes to local and regional media to choose from, who’s most likely to feature you? Keep this question at the front of your mind as you compile a list of the publications and blogs you’d like to pitch your story to.

If you’re unsure of what’s out there beyond local traditional media, Google is your oyster. Search for local blogs with keywords like “Dallas art blog” or “Texas photography blog.” Once you identify some blogs that you like, look for a blogroll on their site — many blogs maintain a list of links to similar blogs.

Study the blogs’ content and whether your work plus their content makes an editorial match made in heaven. For example, would your art complement a particular local home décor blogger’s design aesthetic? Do you create baby and kids designs that would gel perfectly with a particular local mommy blogger’s vibe? Does your local city magazine produce an annual holiday gift guide? If yes, put these publications on your pitch list.

2. Arm Yourself With Information

Once you’ve identified your Pitch List, take a deeper dive into their content, and identify the best person or people to contact with your story pitch. Some publications post editorial guidelines, deadlines and time frames, and advice for pitching stories.

As you’re reviewing publications’ previously published articles, ask yourselves these questions and take notes:

  • Have they covered artists before? If so, how did they cover them? Is there a particular “art” or “home decor” writer? If so, keep track of their name.

  • Does the publication have any sort of regular series that spotlights shopping recommendations, local businesses, entrepreneurs, or creatives?

  • What kinds of feature stories do they publish? How could you creatively pitch yourself for a story with an angle that’s different from what’s already been done?

  • How far in advance is this writer, blogger, or reporter working on stories? In general, magazines work months in advance, newspapers and TV might work weeks in advance, and bloggers have the most flexibility (although most established bloggers sometimes book their calendar weeks or months in advance). If they haven’t published this information on their website, it’s a good question to ask and it will demonstrate your willingness to accommodate the writer’s needs.

Editors and writers appreciate that you’ve taken time to read their work; if you convey that you’re a fan of their work and you’ve taken time to understand what they’ve already published, you’re making it easier for them to make a decision.

Michigan artist Kelly Ventura was featured in the November/December issue of Midwest Living.

3. Pitch an Interesting and Complete Story Idea

Now that you’re armed with information, you’re ready to craft your pitch email. As for how you approach editors, use your authentic voice and address them by their first name—not “Dear Publication Editors.” A casual, friendly, and energetic tone works well with writers and bloggers. Score bonus points for personalizing the message by including a personal detail that you have in common with the reporter, such as mutual friends, parenting similar aged kids, shared interests, or the reporter’s hometown.

You may want to use a slightly more professional tone with traditional journalists (for example, with bloggers, you can let the exclamation points fly in your emails, but with journalists, you might dial down the exclamation points a bit). Exclamations aside, you can keep it conversational and friendly with professional journalists. Don’t be stiff or overly formal.

As for pitching yourself for editorial coverage, think about your “hook.” As in, what will make your story compelling and timely to the publication’s audience? As you’re writing your pitch email, include details such as:

  • Ideas for beautiful and unique visual content that you could provide (beautiful images are particularly important for bloggers, who are always hungry for eye candy)
  • Relevant facts and links to your work and other press you’ve received
  • Information about your accolades and achievements
  • Any exclusive portraits, photographs, or designs

Karly Depew, first-place winner of Minted’s 2015 Holiday Card Challenge, was featured in Columbus Business First.

4. Pounce Quickly and Follow Through

Keep in in mind that media tends to move on extremely fast deadlines. If they like your story idea and want to feature you, be prepared for a fast turnaround. Respond to media inquiries within hours when possible, but always respond within 24 hours. Make sure you’re clear from the start about the deadline and timeline that the reporter has in mind.

Always follow through on your commitments. This is an obvious but extremely important point. Follow-through builds trust. If the writer knows you’re a reliable go-to person in a pinch, they’re more likely to call on you for future story opportunities.
5. Build Relationships and Scratch Their Backs

Show bloggers and local publications that you’re a fan of their work by following them on social media. Media outlets tend to check out your social presence to see if you have a strong following and can help them promote the published story.

We recommend following the social media accounts of all of your local publications and blogs and that you follow individual writers and reporters public social media accounts. In other words, it’s fine to follow a reporter’s public Instagram feed. You might, however, want to wait until you’ve established a connection before following their private social media accounts. Keep in mind that some people like to keep their personal and professional accounts separate, and don’t be offended if they don’t accept your connection request on their private account.

If you spot another interesting story or local event that you think would be interesting for a given blogger or reporter, send it their way as a friendly, no-strings-attached FYI. You can also help local reporters network—make introductions to people you know who could be helpful to them.

Your genuine helpfulness shows that you support the writer and appreciate her work. And what comes around tends to go around.


Brady Wood is Vice President of External Relations at Minted, working with our artist relations, public relations, business development, and social media teams. He has been with Minted for almost four years and previously led marketing. Brady has been building online communities since the Internet stone ages (mid-90s) and has led marketing, public relations, and partnerships for several successful startups (if you have high schoolers, they probably know his last venture, Shmoop). Follow him on Instagram @BradyWood and on Twitter @bradyrw.

This is the seventh article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, and sell their work. Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep for more.

RELATED ARTICLES & RESOURCES

How to Promote Your Artist Store Beyond Social Media
What Are the Best Social Media Platforms for You?
9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store
The Essential Checklist for Minted Artist Stores

Published October 26, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on 5 Tips for Getting Press From Local Media and Blogs

How to Promote Your Artist Store Beyond Social Media

Written by Amy Schroeder

October is the perfect time to prepare your Minted Artist Store for the holiday shopping season. To make a memorable first impression, we recommend completing your Store merchandising and marketing by Halloween. This is when holiday catalogs begin to hit mailboxes, and consumers start thinking seriously about their holiday cards and gifts. By mid-November, momentum is really building, and the 10 days immediately following Thanksgiving are the biggest shopping days of the year.

Social media is a tremendous way to build your brand and promote your Store, but you don’t have to stop there. Personal websites and blogs, events and tradeshows, email newsletters, and print collateral are great opportunities to promote your Store beyond the social stratosphere. Let’s take a look at some of the creative ways to promote your Store all year round.
Personal Websites
Your personal Website is one of the best places to define your personal artist brand and serve as a home base to all of your marketing, including your Artist Store, social media, articles in the media about you, a blog (if you have one), and more.

Minted artist Carrie O’Neal is redesigning her site, but wants to make sure that she was armed and ready for the holiday season. Her solution? She created a temporary landing page that provides her contact info and a “SHOP” link that directs viewers to her Minted Artist Store. “My landing page matches the branding of my Store,” says the Ohio artist.

Renee Pulve of Smudge Design promotes her Minted products in the header photo of her homepage and links to her Minted Artist Store via the top “Shop Stationery & Art” button on her personal site’s righthand sidebar. Each quarter, Renee spends about three hours updating her site, usually just before the upcoming season.

To create a cohesive look on her personal site and Artist Store, she uses the same logo and portrait on both platforms. “I know it’s easy to fall into the trap of following the pack for imagery and style, so I concentrated my Minted Artist Store and site on the creative elements that set me apart—watercolors and sketching,” she says. “You can also access my Tumblr through my site, which includes postings about featured work with links back to my Store.”
Blogs
If you love creating content, blogs are a great platform for telling your story via images and words—especially if you’re prolific and want to go deeper than, say, one line of copy on social media. Like your personal site, blogs are a great way to link to your Minted products and your Minted Artist Store, within the context of an interesting article. If you’re considering building a blog, read “The 10 Best Blogging Platforms Available for Free” to help you select the right platform for you.

Andrew McClintock promotes his Minted Artist Store on his blog, bigorangedrink.com. The Austin, Texas, artist covers the stories behind his art and creative process, such as his trending “A Deer Friend” print, below. His blog article opens with, “It’s not every day a 200-pound wild animal watches you eat spaghetti.”

Artist Erika Firm considers her blog, erikafirm.com, to be one part editorial content and one part mini art portfolio. She uses her blog to showcase licensing projects, artwork, and passion projects. She also uses her blog to remind friends, family, and fans to vote for her work in Minted Design Challenges and includes small banners in the sidebar to direct visitors to her Minted Artist Store.

Events and Tradeshows

If you sell or promote your work at art and craft fairs or industry tradeshows, share your Artist Store information so customers know they can order a variety of formats of your work. Place an email sign-up sheet at your booth and follow up with customers to thank them for stopping by and sharing a link to your Store.

Jessica Tree of The Social Type says The National Stationery Show is the most impactful way to expose her company brand and products to the out to the stationery industry. The Social Type is planning to share their work in pop-up shops during the holiday sales season. “It’s important to collaborate and network,” Jessica said. “You’d be surprised how communication among like-minded people can create new opportunities.”
Email Newsletters and Promotions

Email is still one of the most effective ways to promote your business and drive sales. Create a newsletter to spotlight your latest Challenge-winning work and self-launch products on your Minted Store, and include interesting updates and photos about your creative process.

Many creative small businesses use email template programs such as MailChimp to build their content and manage their lists.

A fall email promotion from Moglea

Print Collateral and Business Cards

The Social Type sends retailers and NSS attendees a pre-show mailer, both online and through snail mail. In 2015, they hosted a happy hour at our booth, and offered additional show specials. “This was a great way for us to socialize and network with retailers and people in the industry,” Jessica says.

Erika Firm takes a creative approach to business cards, which are letterpressed in grey ink in bulk, then hand finished with paint for a unique look. “I paint a few dozen a time, usually before a show or event—some people even collect them,” she says. “They’re a good conversation piece and the little details are a subtle reminder that my work is handmade.”

We’d love to hear from you. What do you think are the best ways to promote your artist brand and Minted Artist Store? Share your thoughts in Comments below.


About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

This is the sixth article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, and sell their work. Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep for more.

RELATED ARTICLES & RESOURCES
What Are the Best Social Media Platforms for You?
9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store

Published October 20, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on How to Promote Your Artist Store Beyond Social Media

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Advice is like a train. You can take it or leave it.

For the launch of our #ArtistAdvice series, we asked Minted artists Tanya Lee of Frooted Design and Eric Beckett of GeekInk to share the best career advice they’ve ever received. Luckily, it shaped their paths for the better.

Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep. For upcoming editions of #ArtistAdvice, we’ll take a deeper dive into advice ranging from artistic techniques, personal branding, and life-changing insights.

Tanya Lee of Frooted Design
Orange County, California

Think of your computer as just another tool. If you always begin there, then what you can or cannot do on the computer limits your full creative potential.

Practically speaking, this means I usually begin a project by writing word lists, sketching, or experimenting with new mediums. Sometimes it means taking a step back and just hanging out with my family, who often proves to be my best inspiration. For example, “Splash-o-saurus” was inspired by spending the summer swimming with my dino-loving 5-year-old son).

(Right) “Splash-0-Saurus” Art Print by Frooted Design

Peace on Earth’s Globe” Business Holiday Card by Frooted Design


Eric Beckett of GeekInk
Los Angeles

In the middle designing an invitation for a Minted wedding Design Challenge, my wife walked in and saw that I was working on a floral-themed wedding invite. In a confused voice, she asked, “Why are you trying to do florals? That’s not your style.”

That one small question made me stop and really think about what I was doing. My florals were horrible, and I realized that the key to me being a successful designer wasn’t in trying to do what other successful designers were doing, but to find what I could do better. It freed me from the stigma that “florals always win,” and I was able to think outside the box and design what I thought looked cool. Sometimes the best advice isn’t advice at all, but simply asking the right questions. The next day, I started working on my Antique Lines design, and to this day, it’s still one of my favorite creations.

Antique Lines” Foil-Pressed Wedding Invitation by GeekInkDesign

Merry Little Lines” Holiday Card by GeekInk Design


What’s the best career advice you’ve received? Share your answer in Comments below and on social media with the hashtag #ArtistAdvice.
This is the first edition of Minted’s #ArtistAdvice series. Get a glimpse into more Minted artists’ lives in our #WhatInspiresMe series:
MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following

By Meighan O’Toole

Building an audience and creating community can feel like an enormous task when you look at it broadly. One could get the idea that a social media audience should be thousands deep—but that’s not always the case. In fact, the most important thing about creating an online following is the engagement you cultivate from the followers you do have.

While building a following takes time, laying the foundation for a highly engaged audience only takes converting one follower at a time. So while you may only have a handful of followers now, that doesn’t mean you can’t build upon your current following and develop a strong and robust community starting today.

Here we cover basic tactics to focus on while building an audience on social media.
People” by Heather Marie
1. Be Authentic and Share Your Voice
Just be yourself. People are tired of being sold to on social media. Write captions that are real and authentic, and truly represent your brand and your process. In the highly curated perfect world we live in, people crave authenticity. Let your followers get to know you. Show bits of your life, and behind the scenes. They’ll follow you for it!

Brandy Brown of Marabou Design shares a great shot of her daughter on Instagram.

2. Make Yourself Findable

Don’t make people guess or search for you—let them know exactly where to find you. It should go without saying that social media accounts should be accessible on your website, but don’t stop there. There are many other places for potential followers to find you.

Your email signature, newsletter, and blog or personal site should direct potential followers to your social media accounts and your Minted Artist Store. Add your most active social account to your business card. This is key for when you’re speaking with someone in person—hand them your card and tell them where they can find you. Promotional paper products such as hangtags, postcards, and notecards should spell out exactly where your clients can find you. Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+ offer areas within your profile to plug in other social media accounts. Utilize these to point followers to your other accounts.

Everyone is part of your potential audience, and it only takes a few seconds to tell them how to find you.

3. Make a Strong First Impression

Studies have shown you have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention online, so it’s imperative that your accounts tell your story succinctly. Profile images should match across all platforms so you’re easily recognizable. It’s best to use the same (or at least very similar) username across all platforms for consistency. You can change your username on most social networks, so you could change that regrettable “@bonjovi4ever” username to one that reinforces your real name or your artist name. Using the same handle on all social networks will save you space in your advertising. Rather than listing a different handle for each network, you can say “follow @minted on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.”

Where it’s offered, choose a cover image that represents your brand (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all offer cover images.) For brand consistency, you may want to use the same cover image that’s featured on your Minted Artist Store. Fill out your bio using keywords (like “artist and illustrator in Detroit, Michigan”) so your accounts are easily searchable.

Pro Tip: If you have dormant social accounts (perhaps Twitter is no longer your cup of tea but you still have the account), make sure all of the above are up to date on these accounts, and your bio and most recent post points possible followers to your most active account.

Amy Moen uses the same logo on her Tumblr that appears on her personal site, amymoenart.com.

4. Engage, Engage, Engage

The key to creating a supportive community online is responding to comments in a timely manner. Building a captivated audience rests on demonstrating that you hear them. Responding to followers takes a few seconds, and could gain you a follower for life. Engage with followers within 24 hours. Social media is a 24/7 game, and while no one expects you to respond immediately every time, there is an expectation of timeliness.

Responding to comments in an authentic way shows your audience that you’re interested in them and that you appreciate the time they spend to support you. They’ll recognize and respect you for your response, and will continue to engage with you because of it. Social media is a two-way street, and followers know that now more than ever.

5. Follow Back, Share, and Spread the Wealth

While you don’t need to follow everyone who follows you, it’s smart and spreads goodwill to follow others within your community and industry, especially those who have followed and supported you. Everyone has their own guidelines as to why they follow someone, but it’s important to pay attention to this aspect of community on social. Be aware of who your supporters are. If they have continually shared and bought your work, following, liking, and commenting on their content is a great way to say thanks and build a relationship that could become a true brand evangelist.

You’re part of a strong community on Minted—who are some of your favorite fellow artists? Team up with your friends and colleagues and share, like, and comment on each other’s posts. Offer to do Instagram takeovers (where you take over their account for one day) for fellow artists, spread the word on Twitter or Pinterest about their work and products, share their Facebook posts to your page. Not only does this give you more content to work with, it spreads the wealth of your fellow artists.

Tag brands and products that you use in your daily life along with bloggers and publications you follow on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Some of these other brands and content producers may regram, retweet, or repost your content, which are great ways to get your content out there and attract more followers.

6. Diversify Your Content Across Platforms

Give followers a reason to follow you across all of your social platforms by offering interesting and dynamic content that isn’t the same thing you’ve cross-posted everywhere else. If you don’t have time to create completely unique content across platforms, you can repurpose the same or similar photos from a scene or story, and alter the copy.

Post behind-the-scene peeks, special discounts, giveaways, or exclusive looks at works in progress to specific accounts. We’ll share special holiday discount codes with artists with Minted Stores via email soon—offering your followers Minted discounts will be a good way to spread news about your Store and offer something fun and unique.

While it may seem daunting, offering varied and compelling content is possible if you take time to plan. Experiment with different types of content to make your voice unique. Providing diverse content encourages your audience to not only be loyal to you but also sets you apart.

Read “6 Tips for Creating Engaging Social Media Content” to develop other ideas for unique content.

7. Make Your Content Discoverable With #Hashtags

Using hashtags in your posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest helps people discover your content when they’re searching for topics they’re interested in, and essentially attracts new followers.

SocialMention shows trending hashtags, and Trendsmap is a fun tool that allows you to see which hashtags are popular by geographic region. Monitoring hashtag tools help inspire content ideas and make your posts more discoverable. In this screencap, you can see that #thanksgiving is trending in Canada, which makes sense since it was taken on the day that Canada celebrates Thanksgiving (October 12, 2015).

A few hashtags that are used by Minted and our artist community:

  • #mintedartist: posts about artists
  • #mintiespotting: spotting your fellow Minties covered in the press and blogosphere
  • #whatinspiresme: Minted asks its community to share your sources of inspiration
  • #artoftheday: a huge worldwide feed of art
  • #detroitartist: (replace with your city, state, or country) tap into your local arts community
  • #minteddesignchallenge: share your challenge submissions
  • #mintedweddings, #mintedholiday, #mintedart, #mintedhome, #mintedbaby, #mintedkids, #mintedfabric: Minted product categories

Pro Tip: If you don’t want to clutter your Instagram copy with too many hashtags, upload your image and caption, and then post a second comment beneath your caption that includes your hashtags. This comment will be hidden from view once there are multiple comments on your post. Use a notes app to save your hashtags so you can cut and paste easily.

Add the hashtags as a comment within a few minutes of uploading your image and no later; otherwise, you’ll miss the opportunity to get your image at the top of the particular hashtag feed. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per image, and you can only tag your own posts. While others may add hashtags to your images, these do not show up in the hashtag feeds.
8. Be Dependable and Stay on Brand

People like reliability, and social media is no exception. Don’t disappear for days or weeks at a time and then suddenly flood your timeline or post one link on Facebook per month. Not only will algorithms ignore your activity, people may not remember who you are or why they followed you.

Pro Tip: you can pre-schedule posts on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Prepare a week’s worth of posts in one sitting, then set the date and time that you want them to be published.

  • Facebook Brand Pages allow you to schedule a post (click the pull-down menu next to the “Publish” button when you publish a post).

  • Tumblr allows you to schedule posts (look for the option when you publish a post)

  • Hootsuite is a tool that allows you to schedule tweets for Twitter

Post consistent content that aligns with your particular message and aesthetic. You may not consider yourself a “brand,” but you do have a style that people have chosen to follow you for. Stay on brand as it were—your followers have chosen to follow you for a reason, so give them what they came for.

Stay consistent with your posting activity so your followers not only get to know you, but depend on your content.

Portland artist Alicia Schultz of Vine & Thistle is a good example of showing a cohesive brand on her Instagram.

9. Look Outside Social Media

Go beyond your own feeds to find your community. Join Facebook groups, Twitter chats (one of my favorites is Caitlin Bacher’s #CreativeBizChat), and Pinterest Boards. These are all great ways to connect with other artists and build your following.

But don’t just look for community online—seek out groups that meet in person to connect with other like-minded individuals. Academy of Handmade is a great group of makers and artists that meets in California and is expanding elsewhere. Reach out to your local community as well. Is there a small boutique you admire? A creative workshop center? A craft store? Approach them and see if they’re open to partnering with you on social media. Discuss doing an Instagram takeover of their feed, or a giveaway of one of your prints.

Building a following takes time, energy, and a little experimentation. Have fun and enjoy the process. Think outside the box! Follow your gut and be true to yourself. But above all, get to know your community because without them, where would you be?

Meighan O’Toole is a digital strategist empowering creative businesses online through social media, content creation, and cultivating community. Connecting people to technology to help make their work and personal lives easier and more enjoyable is her passion. She lives and works in Boston. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.


This is the fifth article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, and sell their work. Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep for more.

RELATED ARTICLES & RESOURCES
What are the Best Social Media Platforms for You?
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store

Published October 15, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on 9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following