In a very short space of time, I had to respond rapidly to the changed circumstance and mood of the nation and the globe. Business outcomes, content, and the delivery of my services witnessed a radical and swift transformation
There are two aspects to my work. First, I have an online shop called The Art in the Heart Marketplace, where artists and makers sell their art and craft. Second, I work as a consultant, advising artists and makers one-to-one how to sell their art and craft. I also have a YouTube channel – the Arty Biz Teacher – where I give weekly tutorials on the business of art.
Things started to change so quickly from the beginning of March to mid-April that it was difficult to keep up. What was relevant one day was not at all relevant or even appropriate the next. I’m still not there.
My YouTube channel uploads went from mid February – ‘Do you want to sell your art and craft?’, with no mention of a global pandemic, through to ‘Economic downturn: give up or take action?’, and then worse ‘Shows cancelled, outlets closed – how to sell online’. By mid-April it was ‘Overwhelm and stress – 3 tricks to make it easier in isolation’, and that one I recorded away from home in isolation myself.
My newsletters in a space of a month went from sales-driven, cheery Mother’s Day gifts options with no mention of the pandemic to late March, a newsletter entitled ‘Beauty in Isolation’, and from 7 April, I decided to send newsletters almost daily bearing one image, with little or no marketing, inviting people who felt isolated to join our Facebook art community group Artists and Makers UK, and talking more about respect for key workers.
My online shop artintheheart.co.uk had already come out in sympathy, but suddenly having been furloughed with my PAYE job, I had more time to refocus and consider its new honed, paired down version. I took a stark look at our strengths, concentrating more on the original, bespoke brand: commissions, art for collectors, and retained artists and makers with distinct styles and a commitment to selling and delivering quality as a team.
Most significantly, having established an art business consultancy with individual clients face-to-face, I had to think of new ways to comply with social distancing. I began to learn about Zoom early April. I had to catch up pretty quickly. My client base was already lost for reasons mostly to do with Covid 19 and its implications.
I then realised very quickly that good quality, cheap online tutorials to larger audiences was the way to go. With 30 years’ experience, good content was no problem. My target market pleaded poverty even in good times let alone amidst impending financial ruin. So quality and cheap it had to be.
By the time you read this, I will have hopefully set up and delivered at least one of my tutorials, although the goal posts may well have changed again. Buying art and craft is not at the top of the priority list and even next week this article may be totally irrelevant… Watch that space!