10 Art Prints to Get You into the Holiday Spirit

Written by Christina Loff

This week we’ve rounded up original self-launched art prints from Minted’s talented community of artists.

Eric Beckett of Geekink Designs is inspired by vintage art and typography, and this holiday-themed art print showcases his inspiration and talent. We love how the intricate lines, holly leaves, and snowflakes playfully dance around the cheerful phrase. “Eat, Drink, and be Merry Colorful” is also available in foil.

Lyna Ti’s delicate hand-lettered “Hope Wreath” looks just right on a mantle this season. Pull this beautiful piece out for the holiday and leave it up all year long. She can stand alone or be paired with with her matching “Faith Wreath.”

We love this rock n’ roll take on Christmas by Jessie Steury. What a great print to hang in a child’s room to get into the holiday spirit (and maybe remind him or her to be more nice than naughty!) Check out all of Jessie’s holiday designs right here.

Another beautiful holiday-inspired hand-lettered piece to add to your collection. This one is from Heather Buchma and is a lovely way to celebrate Christmas. Get it for yourself or gift it to friends, family, or teachers.

This print sums up pretty much all we ever want for the holidays. Katie Craig’s “Good Words” print is a great reminder to focus on the positive when things get stressful this season. Another piece to hang over the mantle and leave up all year long.
Kamala Nahas describes “Insomnia” as depicting the feeling of being farther away from things than you actually are. We think it also captures that wistful feeling of winter, which is often a time of deep reflection before the new year begins. Kamala has recently self-launched a dozen journals featuring her evocative photos, check them all out right here—they make perfect stocking stuffers.
Leslie Le Coq’s piece Open Window perfectly showcases the mood of winter. This photo manages to be warm and inviting despite the blizzard it’s capturing. Be sure to check out all of Leslie’s stunning photographs in her Artist Store.

Melinda Denison took this photo on a perfect, snowy afternoon in Bavaria. We love how she captured so much in one shot, from the snow laden village to the snow-capped alps. “Snowy Village in Bavaria” is a lovely way to celebrate the beauty of winter.

Bring the outdoors inside with Catherine Hubert’s intricate Snowflake Series. Pictured here is “Snowflake No. 3.” Catherine is interested in the intersection where art and design meet and particularly fascinated by radial symmetry. She designed this series to be displayed individually or in multiples as a grid.

If you’re looking for something brighter, Kanika Mathur’s “December Fruits” is a cheerful addition to any home. This art print is part of a series of seasonal fruits created using pastels and crayons. It’s a perfect addition to any kitchen or dining room. It also makes a great host or hostess gift for the holidays. Check out the entire series of seasonal fruits in her Store.

Christina Loff is an Artist Relations Manager at Minted, focusing on outreach and onboarding. She relishes every opportunity to collaborate with creative people and bring communities together around original products and ideas. She’s been lucky enough to work with the talented and innovative teams at ReadyMade magazine (RIP), Creativebug, Hello!Lucky, and Chronicle Books, where she worked as a publicist and marketer for six years, developing and promoting their lifestyle and craft category. Christina has also written for various websites and magazines including CraftStylish and SFist. Follow Christina on Instagram and Twitter @tweetsweet.


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How to Merchandise Your Minted Artist Store for the Holidays

Published November 24, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Q&A: How does food inspire your creativity?

At Minted, we believe inspiration is everywhere—you just have to look for it. With Thanksgiving a few days away, we’ve been thinking not only about challenging situations we’re thankful for but also, well, food.

For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, artists Rebecca Bowen, Ariel Rutland, and Ann Gardner share stories of how the simple act of enjoying food inspires them.

Rebecca Bowen
Dallas, Texas

I have a strong affinity for food. I mean, I really love food.

Food has shaped all of my favorite vacations, childhood memories, holidays, family meals, and every party I’ve ever hosted or attended. The Food Channel is always on in my house, and my children and I are glued to it.

I’m never without a snack and a tasty beverage at arm’s reach. I cannot say that I am great at cooking, but I do love dreaming up my own creations. My mother just so happens to be the best cook on earth, meshing together her Italian heritage and my father’s Arabic side—we never had a bad meal.

My favorite pastime, aside from designing, is seeking out new restaurants. The whole experience of eating is exciting to me. It’s about eclectic atmospheres and well designed menus, colorful cocktails, and a wonderful aroma in the air. I especially love places that put a lot of creativity into their menu. Pairing unusual food groups in unique ways. I love spicy cocktails, and bacon hidden in my desserts.

Glamour” notebook by Rebecca Bowen

I tend to approach food as I do designs—there must always be something different or unusual thrown in. It must be true to itself yet somehow be set apart from the rest and it does not need to be clouded up with unnecessary ingredients. And like design, the food must be visually interesting. It must be beautiful enough to take a photo of and share it with the world.

Wine-Thirty” Cocktail Party Online Invitation by Rebecca Bowen

All About That Joy” holiday photo card by Rebecca Bowen


Ariel Rutland
Princeton, New Jersey

During the holiday season, I love to make lemon yogurt cake. It’s an old standby that gets me into the wintry spiritespecially when it’s time to dust the top with snowy powdered sugar, which is the perfect opportunity to turn out a festive sugary design.

For this powdered-sugar design, I took the wreath illustration I created for “Winter Joy Wreath” in Illustrator and printed it large on a standard printer paper. Then I painstakingly cut it out with an Exacto knife, and voila! It became a stencil. I laid the stencil over the cake and dusted the sugar on top then lifted off the stencil to reveal the design.

Winter Joy Wreath” self-launch A2 card by Ariel Rutland

Clockwise from top: “Merrily Christmas mini card” gift tag; “Winter Merry Bright” self-launch A2 card; “Geo New Year” self-launch A2 card; “Hanukkah paper cutout card


Ann Gardner
Irving, Texas

When I was young, the aroma of fresh-baked bread filled the house around the holidays. It was a signal that it was officially the holiday season. The time I spent with my mom in the kitchen brought out a love of creating from scratch. From homemade bread and cinnamon rolls to decorating holiday cookies, making things with my hands inspired me to create—and of course, enjoy the fruits of my labor.

A must-have baked good with my family during the holidays is fruitcake. I know what you’re thinking…fruitcake? But my mom’s is so good, chock-full of fruit and just enough batter to hold everything together. And so fresh and moist. Not your typical store-bought fruitcake. As I was working on holiday designs this year, her fruitcake popped into my head, and I saw that great photo of two kids making faces. It seemed like a perfect combination for a fun holiday design.

Holiday Fruitcakes” Christmas photo card by Ann Gardner

The Night Before” holiday photo cards by Ann Gardner


How does food, drink, or a particular meal inspire 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
Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?
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Published November 23, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Q&A: What advice was hard to stomach but you now appreciate?

Why is it that you don’t recognize a “blessing in disguise” until you’ve had some distance from it?

We’ve been thinking about taking a step back to reflect on challenging situations that, while bittersweet in the moment, we’re thankful for in the long run. And that’s the impetus for the second edition of #ArtistAdvice. Here, Minted artists Kelly Ventura and Olivia Raufman answer the question What advice was hard to stomach at first but now you’re thankful for?

Kelly Ventura
Milford, Michigan
Kelly’s Minted Artist Store • kellyventura.com • Instagram @KellyVenturaDesign

Learn to accept hearing no and saying no.

When I was laid off from my full-time job in 2011, it was a blessing in disguise, though it stung to the core. I was seven-plus months pregnant with my second child and wondering what would come next. Once the baby was born, I split my time enjoying those first few months in newborn bliss and slowly building my freelance business.

I submitted my portfolio to several dream companies in hopes of a collaboration and repeatedly heard the word, “No.” Rather than wallow in the rejection, I pushed forward and worked hard to develop my style. I knew that’s what was missing in my submission—my voice, style, a certain unique perspective that those retailers were craving. A year later, after painting and patterning my heart out, I showed at Surtex, landed several of those dream clients that rejected me previously, and now feel more confident about my place in this big sea of artists.

I have also found it immensely helpful to make sure that projects and collaborations line up with my vision as an artist-designer. At one time, I was saying yes to everything that came my way, and I noticed a decline in my happiness and quality of work. Now that I have a more defined style and brand identity, it’s easier for me to say no to the projects that don’t strengthen my brand and say yes to the right ones.

Hushed” limited-edition print by Kelly Ventura

Soma” limited-edition print by Kelly Ventura

Click through to read Minted artist Olivia Raufman’s response to the question

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6 Festive Minted Self-Launch Holiday Cards

Written by Christina Loff

The self-launch celebration continues! This week we’re putting the spotlight on six Minted artists who have created beautiful greeting cards.

Several people in my life always answer the question, “What do you want for Christmas?” with “peace and love,” and they’ll be receiving this lovely card designed by Melissa O’Connor-Arena of Gray Star Design from me this year. Melissa’s striking photos also make great gifts.

How bold and beautiful is this Hanukkah card designed by Ariel Rutland? The paper cutout effect works so well with this design, and I love how she carried the details to the back of the card.

Sharon Orgad of Stylisti has a Minted Artist Store full of beautiful custom and non-custom holiday cards. But there’s something so cozy and calm about this illustrated “Peaceful Holidays” Card that draws me in. Be sure to check out all of Sharon’s holiday designs right here.

This “Mid-Century Modern Holiday Card” designed by Melanie Biehle brings the perfect pop of color to holiday greetings. We love the retro vibe and the pink and black. And how amazing would a pile of presents look wrapped in the matching wrapping paper?

This joyful card brings holiday cheer to any mailbox. “Celebrate the Curve” is a festive and fun card designed by Margaret Williams who has filled her Store with some lovely holiday designs this season.

Sure, our focus is on holiday cards, but we couldn’t help but include Liz Conley’sNovember Chrysanthemums” birthday card in our roundup. Don’t miss Liz’s entire “Birth Flowers Series” featuring beautifully painted flowers for each month—these framed prints would make a great birthday or holiday gift.

Christina Loff is an Artist Relations Manager at Minted, focusing on outreach and onboarding. She relishes every opportunity to collaborate with creative people and bring communities together around original products and ideas. She’s been lucky enough to work with the talented and innovative teams at ReadyMade magazine (RIP), Creativebug, Hello!Lucky, and Chronicle Books, where she worked as a publicist and marketer for six years, developing and promoting their lifestyle and craft category. Christina has also written for various websites and magazines including CraftStylish and SFist. Follow Christina on Instagram and Twitter @tweetsweet.


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Published November 17, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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6 of our favorite self-launch gift tags & wrapping paper

Written by Christina Loff

There’s no doubt that adding a well-designed gift tag and beautiful wrapping paper to a present elevates it to the next level. Minted has always been a destination for quality holiday cards and decor, and now that artists with Stores can self-launch products, it’s really exciting to see what they’ve been designing for the holiday season.

We wanted to take a moment to call out some of the great work we’re seeing, so we’ve rounded up some self-launched seasonal gift tags and wrapping paper.

Lisa Travis has been hard at work designing beautiful wrapping paper and gift tags. We love the range of designs she’s self-launched, from pine cones to snowflakes, all perfect for any gift-giving occasion, whether you’re religious or agnostic. Featured above is her Rustic Menorah Gift Card, and she also designed matching wrapping paper. Check out her Store for her full holiday collection.
Shannon Chen of Four Wet Feet self-launched these autumnal gift tags. How sweet would these be attached to a bottle of wine you’re taking to Thanksgiving dinner? These mini cards get us in the mood for fall in a big way.
The Antler Holiday gift tags from Swedish designer Johanna Phillips Huuva are a playful addition to any present. Want more antler art from Johanna? Check out her print Mr Dear, which makes for a great gift for a friend.
Laura Bolter has been busy designing for the holidays. We love the pops of red in her festive Flourished Berries and Pine Wrapping Paper. Check out all of Laura’s holiday designs in her Store right here.
We’re head over heels for this cheerful pattern from Sara Heilwagen of Noah & Olivia. This wrapping paper was inspired by her Shine Bright Burst holiday card, which we also adore. No need to limit this fun paper to the holidays—this is one design that works for any occasion.
We appreciate the subtle nod to the holidays Kristen Magee’s Snowball Wrapping Paper presents. If you’re feeling more festive, go for the red or green variations.

What are you busy designing for the season? We know from our Minted Merchandising experts that red is king around the holidays, but what other color palettes are inspiring you? Share with us in Comments below.

Christina Loff is an Artist Relations Manager at Minted, focusing on outreach and onboarding. She relishes every opportunity to collaborate with creative people and bring communities together around original products and ideas. She’s been lucky enough to work with the talented and innovative teams at ReadyMade magazine (RIP), Creativebug, Hello!Lucky, and Chronicle Books, where she worked as a publicist and marketer for six years, developing and promoting their lifestyle and craft category. Christina has also written for various websites and magazines including CraftStylish and SFist. Follow Christina on Instagram and Twitter @tweetsweet.


RELATED RESOURCES & ARTICLES
Minted Self-Launch Templates
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How to Merchandise Your Minted Artist Store for the Holidays

Published November 10, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

 

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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.

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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. 

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How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
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Published October 29, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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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.

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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.
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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