Last month, I talked about the ways I’ve begun to expand Uncustomary Art as a business. This included teaching workshops and offering more goods and services to be purchased on my Etsy store. Since the last time I posted, I’ve been working on the importance of networking.
I had the great pleasure of traveling to San Francisco in February for the Ex Postal Facto mail art events. Not only was it an incredibly fun experience, but I got to meet a lot of new, like-minded people. I sent a “nice to meet you” postcard to everyone whose address I acquired that weekend, and I’ve already received a lot of responses from wonderful mail artists. One of the best parts of that community is that we all understand that you have to send to receive. Such generous people!
Not all of the people I met in San Francisco were from the XPF events, though. I talked to lots of strangers and exchanged information with them as well. Whether it was the cute breakfast diner down the road from my Air bnb, or the burlesque dancers I had the pleasure of partying with one night, I really wanted to keep in touch. New people are fabulous! Inserting yourself in situations that really bring you joy gives you the opportunity to meet people you would consider awesome. This trip also really demonstrated to me the importance of always having a business card on you.
I finally attended an Ignite talk in Baltimore, which is similar to Ted Talks. They select about sixteen proposals, and then those people have exactly five minutes to talk on their topic for an audience. I knew two people who were speaking this round, so I had to go! I’m really glad I did, and I’ll probably write more about it in the future, but it was a great opportunity to meet more people with great passion and fascinating lives, likes Jessica who ran the 28 Days Of Kindness campaign. Total fate to meet someone like her! Plus, Jason actually included me in his presentation!
In addition to consistently attending local events where I have the opportunity to meet new people, like Circus Practice and Improv Shows, I’ve been reaching out to other bloggers and artists who I admire and asking them to collaborate with me. Even if it’s just sharing one of their projects on Uncustomary Art. (Look out for the elaborate balloon project I teamed up with April on!) And I continue to host monthly events, like February’s Selfie Flash Mob. Lately, I’ve made it an option for others to participate from out of town! Check out next week’s kindness event.
Heidi and I after doing some RAOKs
A really fun person who I’ve met in the past month is Ayushe. She’s really enthusiastic and supportive of my work, and has let me know about a festival I can be a part of in her town in April. She has also asked for promotional materials for some of my products, and is intent on spreading the word about me to her locals.
Ultimately, there’s no way to expand your business without involving other people. And to involve other people you need to meet them, whether it’s important or online. I’m grateful for everyone I’ve met and interacted with in the past month, and I can’t wait to keep branching out.