Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Creativity means Businesses

There are too many distracting opportunities to write my report.  

1. http://www.artsnc.org/docs/creative_north_carolina_2011.pdf  News for discussing the value of the Guild to our economy.

2. If you know dancers, musicians, acrobats, etc...
ArtsMarket is a biennial performing arts showcase conference co-produced by the N.C. Arts Council and N.C. Presenters Consortium. Hosted in Durham Monday, Nov. 7, through Wednesday, Nov. 9, showcases will be held in the historic Carolina Theatre, with the conference exhibit hall in the adjoining Marriott Durham Convention Center. Thirty-seven performing artists or groups will be selected to showcase to presenters through a juried process. Application fee applies.
Deadline: July 1
For more information:

3.  You can still enter the exhibits at Yadkinville and in Winston if you hurry and apply.

4. Grants for individual artists are due to Winston-Salem Arts Council (http://www.intothearts.org/news_detail.asp?article-id=311185063) by July 25th

Have a look at our new website and add those images http://yvcg.org.temp.realssl.com/index.php !

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Google called today to offer Help!! (The Beatles were really powerful poets.)

Yesterday, I was singing the blues and the Beatles crying for help. Google called the Guild today offering help!  Isn't that cool?

If you remember about nine months ago when we started this process of e-commerce we experimented with Google Ad Words.  We were relatively successful in that the ad showed up.  I received about 1000 looks over the course of the experiment.

Searches linked to the Yadkin Valley wineries brought in hits to our old website, but not many buyers (obviously since there was no shopping cart!!)  Still, it didn't cost very much and activity was evident.

Google wants to help us design Ad word campaigns free for 30 days.  Nationwide searching for our crafts as subjects or keywords, the account rep expected us to reach 1500 clicks a day, not looks, but clicks.  IF there is product on the pages, then clicks will transfer into on-line sales.

If only 4 of 1500 people purchased products every day, we would likely double our income every month.  That is only 0.26666666666666666666667 % of the people who actually come to the website and read up on the artists, wineries and things to do in the Yadkin River watershed.

But clicks cost money.  I only offered a nickel per click in my experiment.  Google suggested $2.50 per click and decided we would need about $5000/month for the two campaigns. (Swallow very hard) When I got back off the floor, I asked him to call us back in a month.

So I've been thinking.  Of course, the rep can't guarantee the rate of buying after the click (will even 4 out of 1500 buy?) and we would need to sell to considerably more of the 1500 people per day to account for the $5000 charge, shipping, handling, manning the website and producing the art...

Still, if we consider Google as a volunteer artist getting a break in fees to run the Gallery Shop, then it really costs us less than it does now to make sale.

We can gather the stats of how many people actually walk into the shop now and how many buy.  What if we applied that percentage, divided it by 10 to be conservative, and estimated how many people would purchase something from us with that.  It will be more than 1 of every 300 people for sure.

So, if we spend $5000 to make $6,000 (after taxes and trouble)  would that be a great thing? Of course the taxing authorities would make more and that would be great for our communities.  Tourism and promotion will probably benefit and that is a great thing for those businesses, and ARTISTS would certainly make more and that is the point isn't it

Google, you take my breath away.  Here, help me up.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

HELP! I need somebody... not just any body... Please help me...yeah.

I just found Brandcamp in New York going on today while I was reading this very interesting blog called "Why I will Never Hire a Social Media Expert".  We are missing it unfortunately.  However, The Blog is more important I think.  I note what it says about communication and marketing in general ( most emphasis is mine):

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-i-will-never-ever-hire-a-social-media-expert-2011-5#ixzz1NHXQ2m2X

2.  "It’s about transparency. It’s about not lying to your customers, and thinking that a good Twitter apology will suffice when you’re caught. It won’t, and you’ll lose. Customers will run away in droves, because they can. They can go wherever they want now -- it doesn’t matter how loyal they were in the past.
                                        Lie to them and get caught, and say goodbye."
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-i-will-never-ever-hire-a-social-media-expert-2011-5#ixzz1NHX4FEQ2

3. "What’s going to do it is GOOD WRITING, END OF STORY. Good writing is brevity, and brevity is marketing. Want to lose me as a customer, forever, guaranteed? Have a grammar error on any form of outward communication."
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-i-will-never-ever-hire-a-social-media-expert-2011-5#ixzz1NHY1s3dC

There is so much more here and more points which may make a difference to you, so I urge you all to go to the links and read the whole piece and then follow the author. I think he will be a good resource and perhaps one day we will be able hire him for help.

As for YVCG comments on the three points I found today...

1.   We need to be open five or more days a week. That is the biggest complaint I hear from non-members, locals and tourists alike.  If we take help from the town, region and foundations, then members must help market.   This means supporters who are not artists are also needed.  A tourism officer will do too.  We need you to volunteer and then help us find support for paid staff so artists can get back to the Everyday Work of Art .

2.  Transparency.  I need help for the ecommerce site ASAP.  I'm going to write the report for the WS Foundation funds now before our site even goes live. I'm not too happy about that, but the time has come and your input is sorely needed. 

Primarily, load your images of designs, art and products.  Let me know to send you a code to manage your gallery if you haven't already asked for one or if yours did not work. Let's try it again and let me get specifics for the web designer if we need to do so.   Email or call the YVCG. So, I'm not telling a story to you about going live, but... it hasn't happened within a week.  I will have to change the links about the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival to something else before its live and today I have to write our report. 

I know your time is limited. As for me, I had to go to an unexpected funeral late last week in the East. You know about the weekend - Thurs- Sunday. - And yesterday, I had an emergency trip to Williamsburg, Virginia and back in one day.  I have to go again on Thursday.  I made the most of it, even enjoyed it, but it was necessary for an surgery-recovering friend to whom I owe a lot for her contributions to my son's well being etc.  It takes a village, because sometimes you know, you need to ask for help. Now, I'm jumping up and down asking for help.  We are all volunteers. Even a tiny bit you can do will help.

3. Lastly,  It takes good writing ( and telephoning 10 members each day as suggested in another section of that blog).  I know I have already broken the punctuation rule and the spelling rule. AGAHHH!   Please let me know if your contribution to the Guild can be writing and commenting on the events and goings-on in eighteen counties for our blog.

- This would be a wonderful  contribution for someone who simply appreciates the craft artisans and tourism in the Yadkin Valley and is NOT an artist.  Artists are welcome too of course, but time is precious I know, so I wanted to encourage you to ask your own supporters or family members to help us market the YVCG by writing about their experiences in the Yadkin Valley and double-checking for spelling!!

As a note, volunteer hours spent contributing to the YVCG  count  twice!  First, you may get a tax deduction if you itemize and secondly, your volunteer hours help the Guild to report in-kind donations.  Your time is valuable and we know it!  Make it count in more ways than one. 

(Does your child need long-term senior project next year?? Hint, Hint, We can help with that!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Under the Stars on Main in Elkin

Just so you know,  the Gallery Shop is opening Saturday night for Under the Stars on Main after the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival. It sounds like BIG plans.  If you are from one of the Eighteen counties surrounding the store, stop in and visit!

PS. I get lots of news from the Elkin folks, but please send your county news to me at yvcg@rivercto.net.  We want to blog about it and push it in press releases and the newsletter.  Check our website for a list of YVCG counties at www.yvcg.org.  I had to check it even yesterday.  We can be a big part of the solution.  We have family we don't even know yet.

Grant workshop for the NC Arts Council's Regional Artist Project

The Foothills Arts Council reports they will be hosting a grant workshop for the NC Arts Council's Regional Artist Project Grant Program for individual artists on Tuesday, May 24 from 6-7 p.m.
The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County is seeking applications from individual artists for the Regional Artist Project Grants. These grants offer support to artists in a six-county region to help them further their professional development.  Committed, gifted individual artists and unincorporated arts organizations in Forsyth, Davie, Davidson, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin counties are eligible to apply.  Regional Artist Project Grants are funded jointly by The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, the North Carolina Arts Council - an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In the last funding cycle, a total of $50,000 was awarded in this grant category.  Deadline for applications is Monday, July 25 at 5 p.m.  Guidelines, applications, and information sessions are available online at www.intothearts.org.  A workshop and information session will be held at the Foothills Arts Council building, 129 Church Street, Elkin, on Tuesday, May 24 at 6 p.m. Interested artists are encouraged to attend.

Artists from Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Stokes, Surry, or Yadkin Counties who have resided in the county for a minimum of twelve months immediately preceding the submission deadline are eligible.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kickstart, Kickoff, Kick in the pants... GO!

I note this morning that two counties in the Yadkin Valley Craft Guild are included in the Charlotte Regional Partnership.  The CRP  was recognized in Fast Company as one of 51 bright ideas in the United States of Innovation.    So congratulations to the CRP and if you artisans in Iredell and Alexander require support from the YVCG to promote your craft, please inform us and we will help.  I claim defacto membership in the CRP through you all.

As a side note,   I see Kickstarter featured in Fast Company this morning under the design tab.  Kickstarter is "a funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers." and is devoted to bringing new ideas to the forefront. Check them out. YVCG was introduced to Kickstarter by the Resourceful Communities group last week.

 The story goes like this. A designer couldn't find a manufacturer of his wristbands to convert the Nano into a watch until he employed Kickstart to prove the point. This is the ultimate success story, 

I know you know, but everyone needs to realize that Art is all about originality and new ideas.  Fine and Heritage Crafts are about quality and elegance.  We need Art and Fine Craft in the world to progress.

Thank goodness for Regional Partnerships and Non-profits lifting the next crazy but good thing to life.  GE better watch out. Just a plain 'ol kickstart to a creative entrepreneur will be running circles around them.  To that end, I invite you to invest locally in the Yadkin Valley Craft Guild.  Supporting memberships are just $25 at the Galley Shop or though any kind of  donation.

We specifically want support for getting our three selling venues to a self-sustaining level by testing our e-commerce site, contributing to a building fund campaign, volunteering at the store in Elkin and supporting our partnership activities with regional festivals and organizations.  Our goals are to create five more studios like Clayworks and ultimately to build a Craft Education Center on Interstate 77.  Go on, give us a kickstart.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Opportunity Knocks!

The Yadkin Cultural Center is hosting an inaugural juried show of two-dimensional and three-dimensional original works of art by North Carolina artists.
The competition is open to residents of North Carolina 18 years of age or older.
The juried exhibit will be on display in the Welborn Gallery at the Cultural Center from July 15 thorough September 10, 2011.
Cash prizes totalling $2,000 will be awarded the night of the opening, July 15th.

Click here to download a prospectus and entry form

I need pictures

The step into social media is soggy right now.  I am looking for backgrounds for this, for twitter and for our mediums on our new website.

But, this tie-dye is very happy!.  Perhaps one of Bill's marbling patterns would be most cool/appropriate/fantastic.  What do you think?