Elizabeth Spencer - Case Study

Elizabeth Spencer always loved working with different beads in creating unique and unusual jewelry pieces, with her favorite being bracelets. She has a degree in fine arts and has won many awards with her lamp work beads. Elizabeth's studio is housed in an old renovated one-room school house and she has always made her own glass beads creating unusual and different colours and effects.

When Elizabeth started to market her bracelets she was trying to come up with a name for her business. She thought that since all her close friends call her Betty and she sells bracelets, she would call her business "Betty's Bracelets". Not a very creative name, but she figured people would be buying her bracelets for their beauty and unique designs, not because of the name of her business.

So Elizabeth proceeded to sell her work as "Betty's Bracelets". She had little hang tags made up to attach to each piece describing the different beads and techniques used in producing them. After a little while, Elizabeth realized that she wasn't getting the recognition and sales that she was hoping for, but she couldn't understand why. Her work was beautiful, well made, and very unique.

Then one day when Elizabeth was exhibiting in a craft show, she took a break and went to the food concession for a bite to eat. While she was sitting there having her lunch she overheard two ladies talking about their purchases. One lady held up one of Elizabeth's bracelet to show her friend. Her friend said that it was beautiful and asked who she bought it from. When Elizabeth heard her reply: "I don't know, some crafty person at the show, I think her name is Betty," she then realized that she was conveying the wrong image and that no one really knew who she was. She felt that she was more than just a 'crafty person', she was a designer, an artist, and she worked hard and long in creating each piece.

The first thing Elizabeth did was change the name of her business. She wanted something that was more sophisticated and explained what she did. She felt that the best way to gain recognition from her work was to use her own name.

She changed the name of her business to: Elizabeth Spencer, Jewelry Artist. She also realized that just having her name printed on her hang tags attached to her work wasn't enough.

She had to let people know who she was, what skills she had learned, and why her work is not only unique but also well made. She was proud of herself, and the awards she had won, and realized that if she wanted to increase her sales and gain the recognition she deserved, she'd have to start tooting her own horn and work at getting her name out and into the public.

Elizabeth's next step was to plan a publicity campaign. She thought of the many ways she could display her work, get her name known and in the papers. She wrote a bunch of different human interest stories about herself, her studio, her work, the different processes she uses in creating each piece, and why each one is so unique. She also mentions about the qualifications she has as a bead artist and the different awards she has won for her work.

This helped to increase public awareness of the creative and technical skills she has as a professional in her field. Then Elizabeth started displaying her work everywhere. She approached banks, hotels, libraries, corporate offices, even government buildings—anywhere there was an empty display areal and asked if she could display some of her bracelets for a couple of months. They were all pleased to do so, not only because it hides the dull display areas, but because they also get some free publicity from the press release she would write about each new piece being displayed.

To increase recognition as an expert, Elizabeth started teaching workshops, giving seminars, and guest speaking at the meetings of different craft guilds and organizations. She also wrote a few articles on the care of jewelry, and how-to articles on beading, bead making, designing jewelry and a couple of how-to projects.

To make her work more personal and unique, Elizabeth gave each piece a name, and attached a little card explaining the different beads used and the process involved in creating it. She also told a little story on what inspired her to call that particular piece the name she had chosen and why.

Elizabeth was constantly writing press releases for every little thing she did, whether it was a new piece being displayed, an up-coming workshop or seminar being held, a craft show she was exhibiting in, an open house she was presenting at her studio, an award she won, a piece she donated to a local charity auction, or even just a small human interest story about herself as an artist and a business woman.

After a year of consistently keeping her name out front and in the papers, Elizabeth's sales not only increased substantially, but she was getting orders from all across the country, and was even approached by several galleries for commissioned projects.

Now when she takes a lunch break at a show the conversations she overhears about someone purchasing one of her pieces goes something like this: "That bracelet is beautiful, where did you get it from?", "Thank you, it's called Quiet Moments, and was done by Elizabeth Spencer, the jewelry artist.", "Oh yes, I heard that she has won many awards for her work, and has pieces displayed in the bank, at the grand hotel and even in city hall.", "Did you know that each bead is hand made and spun to reach the exact texture and color that she wants to achieve and that no two pieces are the same?", "I heard that she works out of an old one-room school house and it takes her an average of 8 hours to complete a bracelet; she teaches and holds workshops in bead and jewelry making; she is on the executive committee of the block parents; helps out with the hospital charity fund raisers; and that she also has two small children to take care of — where does she find the time to be so creative?", "I don't know, but the detail and imagination that goes into each piece is so unique and impressive!"

After hearing conversations like this, Elizabeth realizes that her customers buy her work not only because her bracelets are beautiful, but because they feel that they know the artist and the process involved in producing and creating each one. It seems that the more people know about Elizabeth Spencer, the jewelry artist, and about the work, imagination and creative skills that goes into each piece, the more her customers are actually 'proud' to own one of her bracelets.

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