This is the year to put one of my strongest intentions into the forefront. It definitely called for an action plan.
Of all the many venues in which I’ve cut silhouettes over the years (art shows, craft fairs, museums, stores, schools, town celebrations, etc.) I’ve found I love cutting at weddings the best. In second place are other special occasions such as corporate and private parties. But at weddings, I get to add something unusual to a couple’s most important day. I become part of the entertainment as a crowd watches me snip away with my little surgical scissors until the profile of my seated subject looks perfect. The murmers I most often hear are, “Amazing!” and “it’s like magic!”
The happy guests go home with a wedding favor unlike any they’ve received before: their own heirloom likeness in cut paper. In the majority of cases, the bride and groom have an album of duplicate silhouettes signed or autographed by their wedding party, relatives, and other guests–something they can treasure always.
It was Emerson, I believe, who wrote, “if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” In my life I have not found that to be true. I find I have to spend almost as much time and energy marketing what I have to offer as I do creating art. I think that as an artist, I’m fortunate to have a background in sales and marketing, as well as in writing. Friends poke a little fun at me locally, saying “you were in the newspaper AGAIN!” But if I didn’t send out regular press releases, who would know what I’m doing and when?
This year I took the following steps to market myself as a wedding silhouettist for hire:
I joined the Maine Wedding Association to get on their website. I paid an additional sum to be listed under three categories there: Silhouettes, Favors, and Unique Wedding Ideas, and to have a direct link to my website, Wedding Silhouettes.biz.
I attended a full day seminar on succeeding in the wedding market, run by a national expert.
I invested in doing my first large bridal show, and came away having educated a great many brides on this relatively new and novel option for their future weddings.
I took out an ad in a publication called “Marry Maine” which I designed myself; this also gives me a presence on their website. I’m beginning to understand that today, more weddings are planned online than in reading a magazine or even hiring a wedding planner.
Having met several employees of Martha Stewart Living at the grand opening of a Chicago wedding boutique at which I was hired to cut guests’ silhouettes, I signed up on Wedding Wire, which means I will additionally appear on MarthaStewartWeddings.com, Brides.com, and several other websites related to the industry.
I am hardly being inundated by requests for weddings, but do have two lined up this year for which I’ll be travelling once out of state and once out of the country, as the wedding is in Canada.
I’m hoping that as time passes, the many seeds I have sown in trying to grow my small business will bear fruit.