Cheryl Sleboda is an award-winning art quilter, lecturer, traveling teacher, and runs two businesses: a merchandise and media company Muppin Inc., and Sew Much Cosplay which targets the sewing audience of cosplay enthusiasts. Her extensive marketing experience in the comic book industry informs her work with quilters.
We all love to make art quilts, but a professional practice doesn’t stop there. Marketing is a big part of our art businesses. Cheryl tells us about her growth as an artist and the path she took to becoming a full-time professional in the quilting industry.
What determines good branding? Her suggestions are:
- Branding is separate from marketing
- Overarching style of how a business presents itself publicly
- Consistency in style, visual presence, and content
- Branding creates a connection with the audience
Good business practices include:
- Put together a business plan and identify short- and long-term goals
- Clarify what success looks like for your business
- Set a timeline and create a roadmap
- Consider diversifying your revenue stream: sell art; teach a technique in person, online, through pattern making, etc; write a book; design a product or tool; create instructional videos
Partnering with industry
- Getting the word out about your own art is the first step to being able to partner with publishers
- Create a dedicated following that supports/buys your product or brand
- Be prepared to leverage your following as part of an industry marketing plan
Working the “business” and marketing into an art practice
- Cheryl plans social media posts. This takes approximately 1 hour/week.
- She posts on social media daily. This takes 15 minues/day.
- Take lots of photos while you are making art to share with your fans and
- Put on an objective hat and evaluate what your fans relate to