Purple Cow Visibility for Artists & Makers Feed

10 Tips for Catching & Keeping an Editor's Attention -- by Michelle Bilodeau

This is the last presentation from the 2013 SNAG Professional Development Seminar.

Purple-Cow-ALL-6-presentations-verticalAs part of our purple cow series, we recognized that photography of jewelry, clothing, accessories and wearable work were all increasingly using models.

The isolated object with the graduated background is not the only option. In addition, the type of model and the styling of the photos are morphing with purple options and purple brick roads.

As organizers of the Professional Development Seminar, Brigitte Martin, Andy Cooperman, and I felt very fortunate to find Toronto based fashion editor and stylist Michelle Bilodeau.

An experienced speaker and spokesperson from the fashion and design world, Bilodeau (left in photo below) deftly organized her lecture into
"10 Tips for Catching & Keeping an Editor's Attention."

Michelle Bilodeau Viktor & Rolf
Without a doubt, you will find nuggets of information
that you can adapt for generating purple cow visibility for your work. My favorite tip for finding free to low cost professional quality models came out in the Q & A with the audience, so listen to the entire presentation all the way to the very end. I promise. It is worth listening.

Another suggestion from Michelle Bilodeau is to anticipate trends especially if your work aligns with fashion. An example is shown below in this two page spread from Elle June 2013.


In this ad, Tiffany riffs off the Gatsby movie with jewelry and styling inspired by the 1920's. The pearls, long necklace, hair diadem, and bracelet hand ring accessory all pick up on this summer blockbuster.

Another point is how the diadem worn by this model picks up on the fascinator trend from last winter. Everything old, can be new again. Consider new ways your jewelry or clothing can pick up on fashionable trends.

Tiffany's obviously had to be planing months in advance to have the jewelry, photo shoot and ad appear simultaneously with the movie, but you can do this too.

Michelle Bilodeau points out the blogs have a shorter lead time than magazines, but they still need to hear your pitch and see your images a month or so in advance of the next trend.  

You are welcome to share this lecture on Facebook, or Pin it to Pinterest. The embed code for your blog or website is also available. The easiest option is to share the link to this blog.
Find all 21 presentations from the past SNAG Professional Development Seminars on the SNAG web site and my own website. The information is offered for free to build a stronger craft community. Share the information. Information is power.

Customizing the Cow: New Trends in Cross Platform Web Optimization by Justin Hartzman and Jeremy Poriah from All You Can Eat Website

SprintphoneThere is no web-access platform more in flux right now than mobile. From tablets to smart phones, personal to professional, we are all trying to figure out the next best step. My own family keeps discussing whether we should get new phones and how big they should be. Then we move on to who gets to use the iPad. Every conversation involves looking something up on line. Purchases to restaurant choices are all inspired, reviewed, and determined online. Business to leisure, the internet has changed our lives.

So what impact does this have your own business development? How can each of us be part of  the future in internet commerce.

During  the SNAG 2013 Professional Development Seminar,
I said, "emarketing is such a part of our lives and yet we forget the fact that it is still in its INFANCY!" 

Risky Is the New Safe"In his book Risky is the New Safe Randy Gage writes:

“The statistics you read about online commerce may seem mind-blowing, and the numbers grow substantially every season, but you have to keep in mind that we are still at the very, very earliest stages of online purchasing right now. Those huge sales figures you see reported today are miniscule in comparison to what they will be in 5 to 10 years.”   

I highly recommend the book "Risky is the New Safe" for its insight into current marketing trends.

Another resource to bring us up to speed for cross platform web optimization comes from the experts, All You Can Eat Website. They have a great looking website, but beyond the appearance, they are into performance. I'm hoping that they will be able to optimize my website for mobile with a few lines of code. What about you?

In this presentation below from the PDS they offered lots of information and answered lots of questions and gave some information that will to help us with long range planning...so listen in for free, courtesy of SNAG and MJSA

Customizing the Cow: New Trends in Cross Platform Web Optimization by Justin Hartzman and Jeremy Poriah from All You Can Eat Website

ASK Harriete also offers lots of information about Search Engine Optimization for artists and crafts people.  There are a number blog posts with tips, tricks, and skills for your website that are easy to implement....so let me help (i.e. Ask Harriete) if you have any questions after listening to this presentation.

Here is my question for you?
What information would you like to see covered as a topic in 2014. Any ideas? Please leave your suggestion in the comments or contact me privately through my website.
I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Cash Cow, Sacred Cow, Purple Cow - Intro

Purple cow in your faceEach Monday for the next five weeks the original PowerPoint presentations with recorded audio from the 2013 SNAG Professional Development Seminar will be posted on line. The program organized by Andy Cooperman, Brigitte Martin and myself, Harriete Estel Berman, was a great success with insightful and provocative observations.

Here is what Rebecca Rose had  say about the Professional Development Seminar:
"The conference segment that I heard the most pre-game talk and anticipation from attendees was for "Purple Cow, Sacred Cow, Cash Cow.  I imagine from the stage it may have looked like people were playing with their cell phones, but really it was a sea of people sitting to the left, right, and in front of me that were fervently typing notes into their iPhone's "Notes" app. It was easy to notice because I was doing the same."

"The true testimonial was the line of people I saw waiting for their turn at the mic to ask questions. Questions about SEO and responsive design for websites, how and where to find affordable emerging models for photos shoots, I realized, wow, not only were they paying attention, but they want to learn more. And for good reason, because the information presented is the type of info that gives us a running start ahead of the pack. Especially in terms of learning about magazine editors and how to pass through gatekeepers to get your work noticed. Great topics, great presenters, and great real-world info." Rebecca Rose

There will be five presentations with ideas for how everyone can reach new markets for their work. Topics covered will include "Pop-up shops", using video & photography, the "experience economy", optimizing for cell phones and mobile platforms, and reaching fashion editors with images of your work.

The goal when organizing this PDS was to tap into the Toronto scene seeking out innovators in jewelry, design, and the web. We were aiming to find the unique talent that Toronto had to offer with “purple cows” who consistently create truly unique experiences for their customers. We did! Stay tuned each Monday.


White Tents or Remarkable Purple Cows

"Purple Cow" Visibility . . . Yes, Yes, Yes,

Holstein-cows-on-fields.purpleStanding out from the herd, or "Purple Cow" visibility, is about finding and developing an audience outside your familiar pasture. By this I mean outside your comfort zone or outside your normal audience. It could be anything or anyplace but it is reaching beyond your usual audience to find visibility.

For me building purple cow visibility is an adventure...and being willing to take a few risks.  I can try just about anything for visibility once to see what happens (as long as it doesn't cost money). This is about finding those guerrilla marketing opportunities that are not obvious but might work.

In this post, I will share a recent "purple cow" example that I tried.

Colored Pencil Magazine featured a post about shipping (based on an archived ASK Harriete post). The article gave visibility to my name, website, blog, along with all the shipping information on ASK Harriete (not just the one post).

Colored-Pencil-cover-shipping-article ColoredPencilShippingColored Pencil Magazine was new to me, but the article included a link to my website and blog. This increased traffic.  And more traffic = higher search ranking for my site.

The next step is to leverage that first opportunity into another opportunity.

When the editor of "Colored Pencil" Magazine approached me about the shipping article,
I realized that he might also be interested in my installation from Pencils.  In subsequent communications, I reminded them again and included an image and a link to my website. This sculpture fabricated from pencils was a perfect purple cow for the magazine.  Magazines are always searching for interesting content for their readers.

Pick UP YOur Pencils, Begin is an installation from 1000's of pencils about the impact of standardized testing on education
They jumped on the suggestion and now the installation Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin will be a featured article in an upcoming issue of Colored Pencil Magazine.

Will this generate an exhibition opportunity? Who knows, but it might.  It sometimes takes years for exhibition opportunities to develop.

Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin an installation about standardized testing and its impact on education

If I have learned anything in years of experience,
it is to stretch for every opportunity. Have your photos ready because publishers always want them yesterday.

Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin is 28' wide and 15' tall constructed entirely from pencils.

Will the article result in sales? or money? One never knows, but this was not my priority.

Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin in progress
In my opinion, a purple cow opportunity can not be developed with a set expectation.
Having a fixed idea for the outcome does not work? The possibility is your objective.

How can you make this work for you?
Approaching Colored Pencil  Magazine would be a great opportunity for all those makers working in metal that use Prismacolor pencils for a surface finish. Or what if you use work with colored pencils as your medium in a sculpture, as an image in your ceramics, or in your prints.

If you study your work, what kind of "purple cow" visibility would fit your work? What is your new pasture for opportunity and visibility.

P.S. In case you want to purchase a copy of Colored Pencil Magazine CLICK HERE.

White Tents or Remarkable Purple Cows

WhiteTENTcraft-show-displays Purple Cow

A parable for artists and makers:

Potential customers are walking past the white tent because they see so many other white tents, and they just keep walking. They saw white tents last weekend and will see more next weekend, and for any number of weekends in the future. The white tent is just a commodity, always there, nothing special.  If they don't buy now, so what?  They feel no urgency to stop and look because so many more opportunities are readily available.

Are you making work worth talking about?

Listen to Seth Godin's presentation "How to get your ideas to spread." It is only 17 minutes long but will give you enormous insights for years to come because "All of this applies regardless of what we do."

Seth Godin says it in this video below.  

"Consumers don't care about you at all, they just don't care. Part of the reason is -- they've got way more choices than they used to and way less time. And in a world where we have too many choices and too little time, the obvious thing to do is just ignore stuff."

What if a white tent was a purple cow?

As the video explains, the message is to make your work remarkable and memorable. What if all your merchandise was "purple cow" -- so that consumers would notice it.

"The thing that is going to decide what get's talked about, what gets noticed, what gets purchased, is...
  ........ is it remarkable?"

"Think about how you can sell to the people who really care about your work because the riskiest thing you can do is be safe."

Is your work remarkable?

Is your display remarkable?

Is your signage remarkable?

Are you remarkable?

"And 'remarkable' is a word that should be highlighted because we think it just means noticeable, but it also means -- worth making a remark about."  Will people go home and tell their family and friends, "You should go see what I saw today!" or "You will envy what I bought today!"

Seth Godin says:

1) Design is free when you get to scale.

2) The riskiest thing you can do is be safe.

3) Being very good is one of the worst things you can possibly do. Very good is boring. Very good is average. 

"Triple your sales by being remarkable."

Can you reinvent your work? Can your work be remarkable?

More ideas soon.


P.S. If you tell me that craft fairs don't allow purple tents, you've missed the point of this post. On the other hand, given the trends, I'd consider breaking a few craft fair rules.

P.P.S. AT THE REQUEST FROM ASK Harriete readers I finally figured out how to add an email subscription to my blog! Now ASK Harriete can be emailed to your mailbox.

Please try it out and let me know if it works.

Golden Girl  from the California Collection by Harriete Estel Berman
Golden Girl from the California Collection was on display at Craft in America Study Center. Yes, these are the people that produced the PBS series about craft.

Redefining the San Andreas Faultline

September 8 - October 27, 2012

Craft in America Study Center
8415 W. Third Street
Los Angeles, California 90048.

Three bracelets (below) from the Golden Girl Fruit Crate symbolize three remarkable women from California.
Golden Girl Bracelets by Harriete Estel Berman Mrs. Fields, Jazzercize, Golden Girl Barbie

The Golden Girls of California
are Mrs. Fields, inventor of the cookie company franchise which started in Palo Alto, Ca.; Judi Sheppard Missett, inventor of Jazzercise in San Diego, Ca.; and Barbie, the infamous doll and California golden girl invented by Ruth Handler which later became Mattel in Southern California.

Golden Girl Barbie Bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman

The reuse of post-consumer material
in this series reflects California as both the ultimate consumer culture and the leader in the recycling movement and green design.

Golden Girl Fruit Crate with three bracelets from the Californai Collection by Harriete Estel Berman

The bracelets symbolize the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of California. California exports ideas as well as products from its fertile valleys.

The fruit crate
symbolically represents the historic fertility of California’s valleys bountiful with fruits and vegetables. Orchards once covered Silicon Valley, but it now blooms with inventions and enterprising ventures.


This post was updated on June 21, 2022, to provide current links.