Marketing your work: Turning pain points into joy points

My version of a walk through Madison Square Park, NYC. 

monicalee_umbrellaThere is a popular theory  amongst marketing  experts to meet  what they call customers “pain points” to help bring your goods and services into the market place. It goes something like this, someone needs help with their social media. You can write blog posts that help them understand the inner workings of Facebook (good luck) and then make a chart so they know what size images to use for Facebook. You can even create cute icons so they can add buttons to their website. We see this all the time regarding diets, yoga, and just about any how-to video ever created. Meeting someone’s point of pain and helping them. Filling a need in their lives. Enter an artist and their work. What “pain points” do their customers have and how does that play into an artist’s marketing plan? Let’s take art for products out of the equation because I could tell you that when you buy a phone, you need a case to protect it. Pain point, “I don’t want to break my new phone.” You could even say, “I want my new phone case to be super adorable.” Pain point, I want  at least a few compliments when I use it. Do you see how getting inside a “pain point” of a customer can be really beneficial in how you market your work? It definitely has merit. I find many creative people often do not think of their customers at all so anything thinking beyond what they are producing in their own corner of the world is a really good thing. So let’s narrow our discussion to fine art, not for a “useful” product, but just for the sake of being. You could run through the basics, saying, “People need art for their interiors.” Hello, can you paint me something that matches my couch? That is just painful for everyone.  Anyone who has studied art history as asked themselves if Henri Matisse was ever asked that. Anyhoo… I would like to insert my marketing theory that you think about your customers “joy points.” Storytelling with art has been going on for centuries. Artists often find themselves in a dilemma with how or why they are telling their particular story, they often feel it just needs to be told. I think that this can be called “joy points.” Often an artist needs to show the world how they “SEE.” Just like a filmmaker creates a complete vision to show who he sees a scene playing out, a visual 2-D artist can do the same thing. They have a driving need to tell a story or show people how they see. Any person in a creative field can do this. Does that criteria meet a “pain point” for marketing purposes? I would have to say not always. I honestly believe your work can tap into the emotion of joy in another person. It can be a mood, a setting, something that makes you remember something or an image that makes the viewer “SEE” differently. So my marketing tip today is to understand the “joy points” of your customers as well. Understanding that your view of an umbrella may be a good joy point for someone. We have all used umbrellas and sometimes in the hushed rain, we see the first signs of Spring, we get a romantic feeling, we think of childhood or we just take joy in the shape of them! That can be a really good mental space to create from and market from.

What about you? Do you put yourself in your customer’s shoes? Does it help you market your work?


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Party like a Lulu (and a smart business woman)

Want to throw a party? Jessie Senese has got what you need! Her online store Shop Sweet Lulu has everything you could possibly want to surround your special event with a dose of fun and pretty! Turns out event planners and prop stylist like to party like a Lulu too, she has a BIG customer base! I find her story fascinating, it is the one-small-idea and the guts to do it part that I like! She was a  creative mom and blogger with an idea to sell some party supplies becausewell, she likes parties! In this interview she talks about her small start on Etsy (and why she got kicked off!) She has grown GROWN GROWN. From a bedroom office to her basement to a 10k  square foot warehouse and 14 employees, she has learned how to run an online business from the ground up! Tune in and see what she means by products having the “squeal” factor, how she keeps up with trends and her companies best social media tools! Jessie’s story is inspiring to say the least! She is one smart party girl!

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It’s how you think about the race that matters


Over the weekend we took my son to the New England Regional Track finals. He kept warning me that they were seeded just about last and were not expected to win their race or even come close to winning. I gently reminded him that earlier in the season he had not expected to get to run at Regionals at all, in fact, he had not even expected to run in his state finals. We all packed up and went. He was in at the 4 by 800 relay, which for you non track geeks, is a relay where that each run a little over 2 mins. He had only run this relay 3 times. One time to show his coach that he was a fast “short distance” runner, one time in the state meet and now he was running at an arena where many elite runners had  raced. There was great energy and expectancy  in the air. His team was not last but they certainly were not in the top 5 either. I didn’t know what to expect from him when he found me in the crowd afterward. He had some choices to make on how to view his race.

1st choice:

He ran consistently and even ran 1 second faster than he had last time (seconds! OMG- track talk!) but 2 out of the 4 boys did not have their best race:  choice: I could possibly blame someone else for the outcome.

2nd choice:

He met a coach and father of an elite runner sitting next to me in the crowd (ok, I met them and introduced him) they gave him technique suggestions and told him that the mere fact that he was here as a sophomore showed remarkable potential: choice: I need to change high schools so I can get better training. I am possibly not in the right place to be doing my very best.

3rd and final choice:

As we drove out of the city in search for a lunch spot, I heard him say, “I went to Regionals. I can hardly believe it, as a sophomore. It is just now sinking in!”: choice: I am satisfied and happy today, right in this moment. 

Over lunch, he also expressed that he was considering staying at his small Catholic high school (we had been talking for weeks about a change.) The choice is up to him, all these choices are up to him. It is how he chooses to think about the race that really counts.

The same goes for us, we can wake up starting the day thinking that we can’t possibly accomplish all we need to do. We can carry those defeating thoughts as we plot our weekly and monthly calendars out. We can choose to think that we don’t have enough creative time or that our businesses are not growing fast enough. We can focus on deals that didn’t happen instead of being pleased with the ones that did.

Make the right choices about how you view where you are today. Decide to be grateful that you have energy to accomplish anything on your daily and weekly calendar. Realize how fortunate you are to get to incorporate creativity into your life. Understand that you may not see the roots spreading underneath the surface of your business, be confident that each step you take is grounding you for growth. Rejoice in the GOOD things that are going on in your life and choose to believe that the deals that didn’t take place didn’t take place for a reason.

The outcome of Luke’s race was what it was. He could have had gone over every detail in the car (and trust me-he does that often) and dissected it. I was so proud that he just basked in the opportunity that he had that day to even be in the race. 

It moved me.  I spent the rest of the weekend quietly painting and puttering with a smile on my face, happy to even have to opportunity to do what I do. The right view of your race changes everything.

How are you going to choose to think about your week?


What the font?


Who and What I am into this Week is asking myself about fonts. I have spent hours this week (ok and maybe last week too) trying to find a good hand scripted font that conveyed the right emotion and that matched my watercolor style. At the very end of the Smart Creative Style course we play with fonts after  we get a grasp on our creative styles.

So I knew I needed a couple of fonts and I wanted at least one to  feel somewhat old fashioned (like you had a strict handwriting teacher) and yet loose enough to not make my watercolors feel imperfect. This turned out to be a REALLY TALL ORDER! I ended up purchasing a few fonts that were classified as 1930′s and 40′s fonts. This is the description of the family of fonts that I was interested in:

“The Charles Bluemlein Script Collection is an intriguing reminder of the heady days of hand lettering and calligraphy in the United States. From the early 1930s through World War II, there were about 200 professional hand letterers working in New York City alone. This occupation saw its demise with the advent of photo lettering, and after digital typography, became virtually extinct.”

Well, that had me sold right there. Classic girl, classic fonts so after MUCH deliberation, I dropped $100 and bought 2 fonts. I also purchased 2 very popular fonts that had a more calligraphy feel to them, but I had to ask myself if they were too popular for what I wanted to accomplish. Then, I began to ask myself if I should just lean on my own handwriting. After all, I was  trying to buy fonts to look like my own handwriting (if I could get my kerning act together.) I think my issue with my own handwriting is that I do the backward slant, the forward slant-it just depends on my mood! THEN I went on the hunt for my old calligraphy  pens (I used to LOVE using them!I know they are here somewhere) I couldn’t find them, ordered new ones. Are we getting the entire picture of what I am into this week? Spending money trying to write words! Now I am thinking I should just ask my mother to write things out for me-she has that whole old school penmanship thing down! What about you? Do you like your handwriting?


There’s a new girl in town and her name is Alison!

Move over Martha! There is a new girl in town and she is F-U-N! I just love meeting someone who bubbles over with enthusiasm for simply being on the planet! Alison Faulkner is THAT GIRL. Graphic artist by trade, DIY Diva Priestess by design. Ok, she may not call herself a DIY Diva Priestess, more like a DIY Disco Diva. Alison is a bundle of energy and smarts over on her corner of the web called The Alison Show where she claims to be a compulsive, crafter, baker, and sharer.  instgram-a must  You know I think bloggers understand their audiences and rock social media, Alison is no exception! (She is a crack up on instgram-a must follow!) She talks about how she does it in this interview!

So tune in!!! Listen how she channeled her high school craftiness (when crafting was decidedly NOT cool) into a full blown super blog. You name it, she has made it and she will probably bring a big smile to your face.

 As you listen in to this interview, you’ll  hear what Alison offers to brands that want to work with bloggers. She is crafty, savvy and vivacious, an awesome combination of talents. She also adds her unique perspective over on the Babble blog, I particularly liked this post.  She has her own You Tube channel and I think she is one to watch! She would be my choice over ANY daytime TV show on the market!!




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Speaking of Blossoming…


Over the weekend Amy Butler sent a link to the newest issue of Blossom Magazine. I thought I would just take a quick peek and quickly realized that I was sinking into a  joyful treat. Deep, thoughtful articles and visual eye candy had me glued to my seat. As Amy gets to know herself in a more intimate way, her work just keeps getting more spectacular. I wanted to post the link and show you something I think is SUCH A GOOD EXAMPLE of inspired interpretation!  A recent sojourn to Egypt fueled Amy’s soul and the result is her newest fabric collection, Hapi. I mean, look at these images side by side! She stays true to who Amy Butler is and yet pushes herself beyond what you might expect from her. I think the result is beautiful!! She has captured the vibrancy of this desert place is a stunning way. Interpreting what inspires us can be tricky at best, Amy and I have had lengthy conversations about rusting your intuition, it is just so amazing to see the results when you do! When Amy trusts, big things happen. She has retreats and trips planned this coming year, oh my! Now we are talking about life candy!!


Not to be outdone in the inspiration department, David Butler, the creative mind behind Parson Gray got inspired for his latest collection on a trip to the Grand Canyon. I love seeing inspiration laid out like this! (Where will they go next!!?) You really need to take a look through this issue, your mind and your spirit will thank you! Here is the link: Blossom Magazine Issue 2


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Who and What I am into this Week: Black and White Simplicity

Tanya Ling


I am tucking in a do some painting and drawing this weekend. I have given myself a deadline to create some new work. One of the things that has loosened me up (my life long goal!) is to take color out the equation. The other colors in my paint palette are a bit put out with me, but I have told them to pipe down, this will be good for all of us.

Jordi Laban


Gladys Perint Palmer


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