As I pressed the soil around the delicate stems of my seedlings earlier this month, I thought about the importance of planting seeds in a business sense. So much is made of “networking,” a buzzword that’s been repeated in the corporate world so often that it sounds more like a frat boy chant than a serious business strategy. But unlike other buzzwords (such as synergy and optimization), networking actually has real worth. I prefer to think of it as a planting of seeds which involves the beginning, nurturing and eventual flourishing of a relationship.
A few years ago, I was challenged by a fellow artist to say exactly what it is I do. “Are you a blogger, an advertiser, a graphic designer, a social media strategist, or are you an artist?” he asked. The truth is I am all of those things. The modern artist (if he or she wants to be self-sufficient or financially successful) has to be an entire company. Competition is intense, and unless you’re part of that minuscule group of artists who fall into a wealthy patron’s lap, you have to make success happen for yourself. And so I plant seeds. I travel to artisan fairs and art shows; I meet new gallerists, store-owners, stylists, and artists; and I always stay on the lookout for opportunities. But again, planting seeds is more than making a list of useful contacts. It’s about building a community of people who are trying to make something of themselves just like I am.
It was through planting seeds that I met the vendors, gallerists, and event organizers that have helped me get my body of work out there. And as I prepare for the launch of my third collection, I am thankful for all of the help, encouragement, and support that I have been lucky enough to enjoy. Those relationships set me up with my first exhibitions, and they got me into the art fairs that have become so vital to my business. So, in coordination with Marche Atelier Capitol, I will be unveiling SERIES 3 / MUTA / on March 20th and 21st.
Come celebrate with me. Maybe we'll plant a few seeds.