Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Help needed for Curb appeal

This year I need to get a bit more serious about my little studio.  I have had a year of Dilly Dallying about and now I need to get more people through the door.  I especially want to address this in time for North Somerset Arts week in May.

My biggest problem in this studio is getting people to actually come in.  
I think this can be broken down into 2 problems

1.  I think people worry they will disturb the students when they are in a lesson. None of my students really mind as they have discovered that people are always kind and generous with their comments.  I also keep telling them its good practice for when they want to paint outside, because inevitably people come and watch.

2.  They don't think there is anything interesting to see  If they look from a distance then all they can see is the tables and I think its off putting. But as there is nothing I can realistically do about that I have to find a way round.

I think the first problem will have to be addressed by signage.  I did have a sign in my door that said please come in you will not disturb us.  I think it did help,  but you couldn't see it until you were right up by the door, by which time I had already lost people.  I now have  a lovely vintage looking tin sign saying come in we are open, but I do think it has had a little bit of a detrimental effect. 

so I need to put a sign up again that says that they wont disturb the lessons,  I am just struggling a bit for the right words ,  so I would appreciate any suggestions .

The second problem is more the curb appeal issue.  It just doesn't look very inviting. I need them to be engaged enough to come right up to the door.  In an ideal world I would paint my door Bright green,  but I am not allowed to do that,  I also not sure what I can get away with, as when I try to ask I never really get a clear answer.  I think I can have a small display but I think anything to large and bright would be frowned on. ( but just a guess really)  

My first job is to get them to the bottom of the craft Centre and round the corner.  This is how it looks at the moment.  I know my landlady hates the signs and I cant say I disagree with her.  It looks horrible.  But it does serve a purpose.  

Then  when they are round the corner,  they see this..... 

The table is only put out on sunny days and I would like something a bit more permanent.  I don't have the room to store a display inside so I would like something I could keep outside, It can't blow away ( very windy sometimes) and it cant be anything anyone would want to pinch. It also has to not cost me a fortune :-(

Anyway that is as far as I have got.  A year on I am still stuggling for answers.   My strategy now is to try and get some of the million ideas I have rattling round in my head into some sort of coherent plan. 

So as I love Pin Interest I am building a board of ideas.  If you want check it out,  it is here.  I wish I could get you all to add to it with your ideas as I know you would all have loads.  

I could really do with some help so if you do have any ideas or advice, please comment below or e-mail me and I will be forever grateful. 

Janice x


  1. I'm not an artist so not sure if this is feasible, could you do some of your paintings onto boards to display outside using suitable paints to stay outside in all weathers or varnished over the top to keep the damp out.

  2. For the sign Janice you could invite people 'to come in and see students paint' or 'come in and watch the artists at work'. You might even get some more interested in joining a future group.

    As for the directions to get more through the door not a clue really I have enough trouble trying to get people to notice me at craft fairs lol! Only thing I can think of is to have some leaflets made up to distribute around, for example our local pub and tesco's have a leaflet stand to 'visit places of interest'

    good luck
    Max x

  3. It is an idea I have thought about, its easy enough to do, but what I could paint and if the craft centre would be up for it are 2 different things .will certainly bea mind again thanks x

  4. Ok, I'm going to deal with these in a different order - firstly, the first impression signs. I think you need to take a leaf out of all of the heritage sites and go posh...ok, I mean elegant. Something in a pale green/grey - or a funky colours, just take some time to choose, painted wood with good quality sign writing and maybe one of the old fashioned woodcut style hands pointing the way. Whatever you do, elegant or quirky, make it high-end. This should be one large sign only, that can hang over the gate - the mess of signs is off-putting and I think the Facebook sign is just wrong...sorry. That's the info they need once they know they're interested. They are almost there so get them through the door first. Same styling should go for just outside your studio - think stylishly simple,or quirkily trendy (this is harder to get right), you're an artist, a tutor, people expect your experience to show from the outset.

    Next - never put a negative in your signs. The notice about disturbing you suggests immediately that they might well disturb. Make it positive. The studio is open throughout workshops. Visitors are welcome to join us and watch/questions. Something positive anyway.

    I hope all this is ok Janice. I love your studio and wish you every success, it is hard getting people through the door - they are nervous, snobby, insecure...all sorts of things - and it's not their fault, the old established art world was indeed a stuffy unwelcoming place, so we need to help people feel more comfortable around all this wonderful art. Good luck. x

  5. May I just add that I don't think all people are 'nervous, snobby, insecure'...I put that badly...I just mean that it can be off-putting going into quiet working environments and the art world traditionally kept people more at arm's length. That is changing, but it still feels quite intimidating walking into an artist's studio. No offence was intended. Sorry.

  6. I don't think any offence would be taken, thanks for some brilliant ideas, very useful

  7. Probably not helpful, but I agree, that facebook sign is truly awful. Many people detest facebook (even those who use it ahem). I am sure it is not your sign, but perhaps something can be done. Looking at it from a different angle, the more people you get in as students the more people will know about you, so if you only have regular students try some one-off or taster sessions. One day courses in the summer can be popular.

  8. Thanks Michele, I don't have a problem getting students on courses, more just people who visit the centre coming in. I do agree about the facebook sign and its isn't mine but I cn remove it quite happily and will do so very soon, Its amazing how you can become blind to something after a while and not even notice it,

  9. InkyPrints. I LOVE you ideas and will take close look at how I can sort them out , Thankyou for your kind comments :-)

  10. All the comments make total sense! Hope you manage to create the image and impression that you want to now! It is a problem looking at your entrance with fresh eyes! I need to rethink my signs too for Arts Week.