So I recently held an Instagram Giveaway. It cost me products, time and cold hard cash, What did it get me? Let’s find out.
There seems to be quite a few giveaways going on at the moment. I hadn’t tried one before. It’s the sort of thing you need to try to see if it suits you, but you need to try at the right time. Working out when that is, is tricky.
You might wonder if there’s a reason I used Instagram. It’s the main place I’ve seen giveaway happen and it’s where my biggest audience is, so it made sense to me. I did advertise it on Twitter and Facebook though. It would be a shame not to include those platforms even if it’s not where the giveaway action is.
Eyes on what prize?
I offered the chance to win a big bunch over goodies worth over £60. Choosing the prize is a consideration in itself. The prize needs to be incentive enough for someone viewing the post to want to interact with it. You can’t give away a £1 badge and expect people to like a post, share it and tag 20 friends. It also worked as advertisement for my Mystery Hauls. They are a new product I launched that includes a surprise selection of goodies worth at least £50. This giveaway advertised them and illustrated what they are.
What did it cost?
My investment in the giveaway was not just the stock. I invested my time in promoting it and creating artwork for it. I paid the postage to send it to the winner (congratulations Bella!) and I sponsored the post. Where I went wrong was that I didn’t set any goals for the giveaway, so in terms of expectations and outcome I don’t have much detail. However, I felt it was a success. The post got lots of engagement and I got new followers. About 100 of them. I can’t tell you if I got any sales out of it, I can’t really trade that. Plus I might have got new followers whose sales or commissions are yet to come.
What did YOU win?
Since the giveaway I have had steadily rising followers and surprisingly I don’t think I lost any after the giveaway was drawn. I think followers potentially feel more valued if you reward them with things like the chance to win free loot. The increase in followers is difficult to track how helpful that is too from a business perspective. Are recent stockist and fair successes partly due to a strong social media presence? Who knows. I have noticed a huge boost in the likes my unsponsored posts get too. And when I say huge I mean HUGE. One post of mine recently got nearly 700 likes. It really shows you the power of the Instagram algorithm.
Ultimately, I was pleased with the giveaway. It was nice to engage with my followers in this kind of way. Thank them for taking this journey with me. Give someone a free bundles of goodies in the post. I’ll definitely do more, so make sure that you’re following me for the chance to celebrate my next landmark and see what you could get your hands on next time.
You might have heard me gushing about this city in last week’s blog. It’s just a 50minute train ride from Sheffield and perfect equidistance for me to meet my mates from home. So this is a Hyperactive Artist’s guide with a twist as I’ve spent years visiting and finding my favourite places in Manchester.
Manchester is a wicked city for art. Both in high profile events and right down to its thriving independent creators scene. Home is always a good bet to find something cultural. Only opened in the last couple of years, Home is a cinema complex and exhibition space. It hosts a variety of film festivals throughout the year and free art exhibitions too. Most recently, I visited the David Lynch exhibition as part of Manchester International Festival. Alongside showings of Lynch’s classics the exhibition showcased some of his surreal art. From watercolours, to large mixed media’s to working lamps even. David’s skill for exaggerated and round about storytelling translated into his artwork. Manchester Art Gallery in the centre regularly hosts exhibitions of note and not far behind is the Whitworth a short bus ride down Oxford Road near Rusholme.
I also grabbed the chance to visit Alex Sicklings ceramic display inspired by the use of ceramic as a storytelling tool that is prone to misinterpretations and fake news. The collection was displayed at the Manchester Craft and Design centre. It focused on the Peterloo Massacre, a dark day in Mancunian history.
There are plenty of independent stores chock full of local makers too. Afflecks Palace is home to the Fox Fairy and Swalk. Both feature a curation of local artists goodies. Afflecks Palace is also home to a menagerie of alternative stores and the best homemade ice cream in the North thanks to Gingers Comfort Emporium. If you are ever lucky enough to catch a day the French Ellis is on offer, make sure you get a taste of its banannay, peanuts, caramelly french toast goodness.
A little further out of town amongst the uni hustle and bustle of Oxford road lies the hatch box park. Go for the food, beer and vibes, stay for the shopping. Shop Small MCR is hatches independent makers store, and features work from yours truly. Visit Magma on Oldham Street dor a selection of high brow arts publications and high end gifts. Pop round the corner to Travelling Man to support your local comic book store.
A City for Artists
Manchester is certainly my a city made from artists. As well as locally made goodies you are treated to some quality arts supplies stores. Cass Art is the best option for quality vs price I have ever encountered. I can get the brands I love at a good price. Plus their own brand sketch pads are a staple of my art supplies. Fred Aldous however has the opposite charm. Two floors of gifts, stationary and supplies for all mediums, Fred Aldous isn’t cheap but you will be enamoured. The perfect place to find everything you need to start a new hobby. Fred Aldous suits those who like beauty alongside functionality in their craft tools.
The best thing about Manchester is how it keeps up with the times. There are corners of culture all of the city and always something new to enjoy. The history is impressive though too. Visit Europe’s oldest library in St Peters Square before meeting Stan the T Rex at the Manchester University Museum. A city I always thought I would live in yet never have, there’s always something new and memorable to do on a visit to Manchester.
I am on fire with new stockists at the moment. I started the year with none and by early July I had six stockists in five cities. Shop Small MCR is the fifth one I am introducing in this blog. Maths whizzes will work out that this means another one is on the way, but that’s another story for another time.
On the sixth day, God created Man(Chester)
I am super pleased, as a start, to have a Manchester stockist. Manchester is one of my favourite art cities. It’s the cultural mecca of my youth. Growing up in Blackpool there wasn’t a big selection of art and fashion. I’d take the train to the hustle and bustle of the city. Grab some new kit and visit a gallery. To this day it remains a hub of internationally reknowned cultural celebration. Heck, even on the day of setting up my stock I visited a surreal David Lynch exhibition and a ceramic exhibition by the talented Alex Sickling too. Of course, I also went shopping, and picked up a wicked ceramic treat from a lucky dip Gachabon machine in Magma and got some Fernandez Makes goodies from Swalk in Afflex Palace too.
So..erm…weren’t you talking about stockists?
YES! Yes I was. Shop Small MCR does not have a role in my nostalgia driven memories of Manchester because it brand spanking new! Open just 3 weeks when I dropped off my stock. It’s not just Shop Small MCR neither. The shop is located in a brand new shiny box park that has sprung up on Oxford Road. In student central July might be an awkward time to set up shop there but it’s a chance I’m taking and s punt I’m playing.
The box park is called Hatch and is following a trend for shipping container housed indie businesses in metropolitan cities across the UK. It might not even be just the U.K. I can picture this kind of thing in somewhere like Melbourne. All I know is that I’ve seen couple in a London, one in a Newcastle and one is being built in Sheffield as we speak. Hatch is a sprawling shanty town of cool under the bridge near Man Met Uni. There are still some units to let, but it’s already brimming with art, bars, food and craft ales. The empty units are just exciting potential currently and they’ll no doubt be snapped up soon.
Before even dropping off any stock I’d perused a small ceramics shop, and had a beer and some fresh and tasty Vietnamese food on a Pinterest-porn converted double decker bus. It’s the sort of place you can idle away a day without realising. Shop Small MCR does exactly what it says on the tin. A unit celebrating local(ish) makers and each maker with their own dedicated space. I am excited to be part of the beginning of something as cool as Hatch and I hope I can celebrate success with Shoo Small MCR along the way.
In July I joined the Design 44 family. The store is based in Derby City Centre and boasts over 70 designers in its walls. I shared the news on social media by comparing the shop to the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost ark. The cavernous store stocks independent maker upon independent maker in a very impressive space. I find curation of the store is equally impressive. If you spend long enough perusing it’s treasures you could make a serious dent in your bank account.
First Derby stockist
It’s my first stockist in Derby. It follows a successful first visit to the city with Northern Craft at a Bustler Market in May. The shop has got brilliant reviews and does a fabulous job of attracting new and regular customers. I have a 3ftx3ft space in the store. Upon a repurposed green door which now makes a stylish table sits my stock. With a backdrop of glorious exposed brick, is a selection of my prints, patches and badges on the first floor of the shop.
Additional stockist announcement
The shop seems genuinely unique. It seems to embrace the pop up and event based nature of independent selling. Not only does the store seem to take stalls at events, but they are also about to take a big step. From mid August they will have an additional pop up store in Derby’s Intu shopping centre. They have secured a retail unit for an initial 6 weeks which they are working to extend.
I am pleased to say that I will be one of the artists joining them in the pop up shop. They will create an impressive frame wall where up to 10 of my prints will be framed on display. It’s exciting as Intu should be a prime selling location. If the pop up can weather the demand for empty retail units at Christmas time and if I can stay in there at that busy shopping period then it could be a successful first few months in the shop.