Yesterday was my annual Chili Party. I consider it a success. I had about 15 people for the day. Not a big bunch, but all super nice and great fun. Many of them are old and dear friends, who have supported me for many years. It is a comfort to see them walk in. Some of my annual parties are bigger crowds, and some have only a few who come, but that is not really the important element.
The good will and pre-party PR really count. These annual parties are a lot more work than my tea parties, but there is an inclusive quality to them. Everyone is welcome and there are no RSVP's needed. I cook for 50 and feed whoever shows up. Surprisingly, I always make pretty good income from the parties, whether few or many come. People are generous and kind.
The other element to these parties are that my name, and art get out to a number of folk. It keeps my mailing list active and keeps my art going into their homes on the postcard invitations I send. It is not so important that they actually attend, but that my name and art are reminding them for future times when they might be in the market for art. Many artists ignore postal mail now, but the postcards are a big part of my marketing success. I always expect that about 5% of invited, actually attend, but the rest are getting a reminder that I have work to show.
I think that social media, and postal media are equally important. I always have a postal address sign up at my parties, rather than email. People change their email addresses like underwear, but postal addresses are good for quite a bit of time. Also, when I do mail outs, I get to clean up my mailing list when one comes back to me, address unknown. It also gives me the opportunity to send a thank you note.
It has been said by Seth Godin and others that you don't need a huge collector base. You need about 100 collectors who actually buy art. I believe and agree with that assessment. I don't have enough collectors, but I have a group who buy regularly. My job as a marketer is to find enough collectors who believe in me and who will support my work. Then I must depend on their word of mouth to others to bring new collectors. Eventually, they must stop buying, so spreading the word becomes their support to me. I must be grateful for their love and support and to be supportive of their endeavors in life. That is my main job as their friend and supporter. It is a two way street. it is more about them than me. Many artists don't understand or appreciate the people who generously support them.
Life is wonderful for artists......