Opening my studio doors to the public was a big milestone! Last month I took part in the Open Studios event at Wimbledon Art Studios where I've had a room of my own for just over a year.
A note about my branding: I work under my own name, Kelly Harcus, and under the business name, Everyday Joy. I started using Everyday Joy 8 years ago as a collective name for selling crafts and like a publisher's name for my artist books. It continues to feel like a good fit, although I do use my own name more than I did in the past.
I'm sure I'll be reflecting on the lessons of that weekend over the coming months, but some first thoughts:
- You might feel vulnerable and that's okay. Your work and your space feels very personal. Some of my happiest moments were with people who were interested, even if they didn't buy a thing.
- The room: tidy and welcoming, but show signs of work in progress. People have come to see studios, rather than going to a shop or gallery. Seeing a working is part of the interest I think.
- Display: it depends on you and your work. I had more out, but it seemed to confuse people, and I think it can look a little jumble sale-y. Lots of space and clear labels so people know what they're looking at, especially if you do a lot of different work.
- Keep in touch: have cards ready to give out, and be brave and actually give them out! I think it's better if they show the type of work you have out, so that people can remember what they saw and liked. Make it easy to sign up for a mailing list - I used Mailchimp's app because I find it easy to use and they are clear about what is okay and what is spammy.
- It is tiring, even if it's quiet. Have some work you can do, it's more welcoming than playing on your phone or even reading and I find it draws people in. Be prepared to be exhausted afterwards, but also be prepared for feeling super hyped up and inspired.