SNAG conference: The Professional Development Seminars

by francescavitali on May 31, 2009

The first afternoon was dedicated to the pre conference Professional Development Seminars.
Marla Johnson Norris from Aristotle marketing company gave two talks.
The first one was about improving website performance and design and a second one focused on social network.
As a self-taught internet enthusiast, I really enjoy both her presentations, which I found were very informative.
In particular in the first one she explained with practical examples what to do to draw more traffic to artists’ website. Some were new information for me, as for example she pointed out this very useful website to find the best keyword phrases for your website. Some other things she talked about weren’t new to me, but they were pretty much obscure!
An example? Title tags!
I knew they were somehow important, but why? No clue..until tonight!
What I also liked about her presentation was that she used as examples websites from people in the audience to make those concepts really pertinent and actual.
I’ll be posting more details about her presentation in the following weeks…so stay tune!
In the mean time check out her profile page, it is filled with tons of good info!

The second part of the seminar focused on The Evolving Role of the Gallery in a Virtual World of Commerce. Five galleries owners (Karen Lorene of Facére, Patti Bleicher of Gallery Loupe, Whitney Couch of ObjectFetish, Sienna Patti of Sienna Gallery, Beth Ann Gerstein of Society of Arts and Crafts and Ruth Synderman of Works Gallery) talked about how their role in these days of difficult economy is changing and what they are doing to “brew” new jewelry collectors. And I like what Karen Lorene said about this last point “every single person that buys a piece of jewelry is a collector, he/she may not know it yet” and her suggestion was to work in order to make those “unconscious” collectors aware.
The other hot topic of the first evening brought up by the PDS organizers (Andy Cooperman, Harriete Estel Berman and Don Friedlich and Ken Bova) was of course the relationship between the galleries and internet.
The virtual world can be an excellent marketing tool for galleries and all five galleries are very active in this sense, but on the other hand it is also a source of completion. And at this point of the discussion Etsy of course was mentioned, because it represents a very good alternative for artists who wants to sell their art without paying the 50% commission to the galleries. Since I’m an Etsy seller, who is also looking into galleries representation I was really interested in hearing what was their opinion about this. Both Sienna Patti and Whitney Couch respond came as a surprise (good surprise) to me, they affirmed that they would represent artists who are also selling their art on Etsy (provided of course they are a good fit for their galleries). They also said that they don’t see Etsy as the bad guy but rather as good and stimulating competition.
My last remark of this meeting is that after attending the conference I’m even more convinced that I want to find gallery representation.

And last but not least, at 7 pm the famous pin swap took place!

I was a little intimidated at first, but after braking the ice swapping my first pin with Eliana Arenas the only regret of the night was that 30 pins are way too few, next year I’ll have a big supply!
(more photos of my pins plunder are coming soon!)

First day balance: very positive!




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