Connecting with a Niche Market
by Carolyn Edlund
Artist Dena Leibowitz created "Recovery Art" and developed a line of greeting cards using her designs. Here's her strategy for approaching a niche market.
What do people care about most? Themselves. As a creative entrepreneur, when your message resonates emotionally with people who are your prospective customers, you have an excellent opportunity to draw them in and make a sale. The more meaningful your work is to your audience, the stronger the connection you are able to make.
Dena Leibowitz used personal experiences to create a line of collage cards that addresses a deeply emotional part of her customers' lives, and helps them to express hope, concern and support for people in recovery. I asked her how she got started with the concept.
"The year prior to opening my business, I was in a treatment center for addiction and grief," she says. "During this time I was reconnected with my love for making collages while having art therapy. The ability to express my emotions and thoughts through images was a pathway for me to help myself in my recovery."
When she decided to create her collages for sale, she started with the intention of sharing her story with the world, as inspiration. She recalls, "My own recovery process conceived the birth of my business. Each one of my collages is a page from my recovery story. When I have a challenging or uplifting emotion, I sit with the feeling and determine how it is being expressed in my body. I then describe my experience of the emotion through images," she says. "This is my creative process and it is both fascinating and truly healing for me, an unbelievable thrill to be able to give back a piece of me to the public with the intentions to be of service."
When the idea behind a creative product is part of a personal story that rings true, it adds value. Potential buyers will relate, especially when it is perceived that the artist is authentic, and that they understand the feelings and motivations of the customer.
Leibowitz describes her thinking about the initial audience she wanted to reach. "My work has always been to support the journey of those who are in recovery from drugs and alcohol. Either a card for themselves or to be given to their family and friends, a way of sharing an emotion that may not have been so easy to express through dialogue."
But recovery is a word that is used loosely and can be applied to anyone who is on a healing path. Leibowitz has found that her cards can be used to help comfort a grieving loved one, to support a friend who has lost a job, or uplift one during a time of illness.
"They can be used to inspire a positive outlook to your day," she continues. "They can be a reminder to the person with the emotion that is represented in the collage that they are not alone, that you are with them. My cards can be an affirmation to a person to keep going on their path."
Tapping into those emotional needs of customers has been affirming to Leibowitz as well. She states, "I put my intention and expression into each piece but I have found that each viewer has interpreted my cards in an exclusive way. This is the beauty of art and of what I am offering."
She is currently marketing her line of recovery cards, primarily in the wholesale marketplace. I asked her how she has gained traction in her niche, and she shared these strategies:
- My company website displays my complete collection with a detailed description of who I am and the back story of each card. I am selling wholesale only at this time and can be easily reached through my contact form on my website for inquiries and questions.
- I use Facebook ads quite often on my business page to direct customers to my website. It has served to be a way of broadening my exposure.
- I also have an Etsy shop with a handful of my greetings cards for retail purchases.
- I send direct marketing mailers to treatment centers throughout the country and internationally, as well as to bookstores that carry recovery reading material.
- I approach my local bookstore markets by way of walk-ins, focusing on the stores that cater to the audiences in recovery from drugs and alcohol.
- Word of mouth has spread the word about my greeting cards. These sales have been very rewarding and full of surprises.
This article is courtesy of Carolyn Edlund
Carolyn Edlund, founder of Artsy Shark, is a business writer, speaker and consultant for artists. She is the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute, presenting at art business workshops throughout the United States. Carolyn works with artists every day in strategy sessions designed to help them structure their businesses, set and reach their goals. Find out more about scheduling your own business consultation with Carolyn here: https://www.artsyshark.com/build-your-art-business/