Emerging & established Australian artists supported by new online gallery space

Sunshine Coast based Kim Wallace is owner and founder of Udessi, an online Australian art store that sells a range of hand-picked Australian art including ceramics, jewellery, prints and art for the little ones.

A graphic designer by trade, Udessi was launched in 2008 by Kim to fuel her love of handmade art and ceramics.

“If you are passionate about what you do, others will notice and this will help to boost your profile. My advice is to tell everyone you know about what you do. Spending time on a media release is one of the best ways to get free exposure. I was lucky to get noticed by Home Beautiful magazine soon after I started. Once the feature was published my business took off with other magazine features soon following.”

“I built the site up to showcase about 25 different Australian artists and then put everything on hold to spend time with my mum, who was terminally ill with breast cancer. I also had my beautiful little daughter so family became my priority.”

A year after putting the business on hold, Kim was ready to rekindle her passion and has started the process of building her collection of Australian artwork up again. The break allowed her to take time to re-develop her branding and refresh her collection.

“We virtually started from scratch with our branding and also setup a new website and blog. Our last website was a self-hosted shopping cart but this time we decided to go with a hosted solution so we can focus on running our business and not having to worry about our shopping cart security or updates. We pay a relatively small monthly fee and in return we get a product that is hosted, secure and continually getting better. One thing we are keen to try out soon is selling on Facebook. We were fortunate enough to have saved our email database and used this to help spread the word when we relaunched. Email is one of the most cost-effective ways we keep in regular contact with our customers.”

Unlike most artists wanting to sell online, Kim was lucky that her husband, who works as a digital marketing consultant, was able to help her with her store setup and online marketing which saved her the expense of having to get this done by outside professional.

“There are many options to set things up yourself online, but getting expert advice will save you money in the long term.”

Stunning Australian art, beautiful jewellery, handmade ceramics from independent makers all around australia.

Quality not quantity with Social Media
Using social media has been the most effective way to get the word out for Udessi and grow the business organically.

“It’s not all about how many followers you have on Twitter or fans on Facebook but more about who they are. A small number of followers who love your products and understand your passion will do much more for you than a large number of followers who don’t interact. I think Facebook is one of the best ways of building a loyal fan base and I use it often to interact with my customers. It makes the online experience more personal for my customers. Take time to grow your followers by interacting with them and sharing your experiences – don’t bombard them with sales pitches all the time because they will quickly lose interest in your brand.”

The Udessi online gallery can be found at www.udessi.com.au, or on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

Past Ideas2Market participant Jo Wooler making a splash with her wearable art!

Jo Wooler attended an Ideas2Market workshop in Rockhampton last year and impressed us all with her drive and ambition to grow her business, Mojocreations.

Recently we heard from Jo and were delighted to hear that she has indeed been growing her business and exploring new channels to market. Jo told us that ‘mojo wearable art’ has been launched – miniature mojocreations that can be worn as neck pieces, earrings, bracelets, rings and even wine glass decorations!

The pieces are beautiful…some of them are pictured below.

I2M Participant Jo Wooler with some of her wearable art   Jo Wooler breaching whale neck piece

Jo Wooler turtle neck piece  Jo Wooler seahorse neck piece
To see more, visit her website here.

If you’d like to check it out in person, this Saturday 28 April from 6 – 8pm Jo will be at the Art Factory Gallery – 84 Merivale St, South Brisbane showcasing a selection of her wearable art pieces in conjunction with Artists Afloat.

We really love hearing from past Ideas2Market participants so if you have a story to share, please email ideas2market@ausicom.com and let us know!

Free Webinar: How to improve your access to finance

Finding finance is almost always a challenge for entrepreneurs! In this free webinar SmartCompany editor James Thomson and guest speaker Jan Barned (founder of training and consulting business, Financial Management Trainer) will examine the current credit environment and look at what businesses can do to improve their access to finance.

This free webinar hosted by SmartCompany will be on Tuesday, 1 May 2012 at 12.30pm AEST

The webinar will cover:

  • How SMEs are faring when they try to get finance.
  • What the banks want to see before they’ll extend you credit.
  • How to make your capital work harder.
  • Building better relationships with your lenders.

To register for the free webinar go to: http://www.smartcompany.com.au/049148-free-webinar-how-to-improve-your-access-to-finance.html?utm_source=SmartCompany&utm_campaign=5a56fde431-SmartCompany_Webinar_10520124_11_2012&utm_medium=email

Is Twitter really useful for business?

Twitter is still going strong and it looks like it might stick around for a while longer. If you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur, Twitter can help give you access to the people you admire, build your business networks, foster collaborations and keep you up to date with what’s happening in your industry.

Really, you say? I thought Twitter was all about celebrities telling us what they had for lunch.

Fair enough. There is a bit of that on Twitter. But you can choose not to follow those celebrities and you’ll never hear a peep about their lunch. Twitter is what you make it – a casual natter with friends or a carefully monitored and planned business conversation.

If you are an absolute newbie to Twitter, here’s a few tips.

Practice

I suggest starting up a personal account before you start one for your business. Use a name you won’t want to use again in the future. Then spend some time poking around, getting a hang of the tools, language and style of Twitter. Find out what hash tags are and how to use them, how to direct message people and how to retweet. Try a platform like Hootsuite, where you can schedule tweets and keep track of conversations. Discover what works for you. Once you are confident, then close that one down and start your business account.

Have a strategy

Write a strategy to guide what you are trying to achieve on Twitter. Aim to spend a certain amount of time on it each week and track the results of that time. (We go into this in more detail in our Ideas2Market Masterclass workshops, but if you want to know more and can’t make it to a workshop, feel free to contact me.)  If you don’t have a plan, you could just end up wasting a large amount of your precious time and you could do damage to your brand. A little preparation goes a long way.

Engage

Engage with people. Remember that behind each Twitter account there is a person. Have conversations, share information and never ignore people who try to engage with you. You can actually form some useful relationships on Twitter – it’s true! I have done so myself.

Before you know it you’ll be tweeting away with the best of them. Enjoy introducing your business to the Twittersphere!
Twitter logo

Some more useful tips can be found here: http://www.startupsmart.com.au/web-strategy/tearing-it-up-on-twitter-in-six-steps/201203225775.html?utm_source=StartupSmart&utm_campaign=5615850635-Monday_26_+March_2012&utm_medium=email

Free webinar to help improve your pitch presentation

Are you in the process of seeking funding or support for your businesses? This might help…

Anthill is providing a free webinar titled: Anatomy of a Lousy Pitch: The 6 Worst Presentation Habits and How You Can Avoid Them. It’s running on Wednesday 21 March, at 1 PM Australian EDT.

The webinar presenter Tim Wackel will reveal the 6 worst presentation habits that put barriers between you and your listener. You’ll also learn unique and proven methods for conquering these habits so that you can become a more polished, professional and inspiring presenter.

Register for the free webinar here: 

http://learn.gotomeeting.com/forms/032112-ANZ-G2MC-WBR-S?ID=70150000000Xrhr

Anthill puts on these free webinars quite regularly – they are an excellent source of information and they cost nothing more than your time. Sign up to the Anthill mailing list to be informed when new webinars are scheduled. You can do that here: http://anthillonline.com/subscribe/

Pitch your business idea

Business Model Innovation

Often innovation is regarded as applicable only to new products, but this is a dangerous way of thinking. Constant innovation is essential in every aspect of your business, from your products and services right through to the structure of your team and the procedures you use to get things done. If you are not constantly evaluating and improving the way things work, you will soon get superseded by another business with a fresher and more flexible approach. It makes sense to schedule time for innovation every week, at least.

One aspect of your business that could benefit from an innovative approach is your business model. Your business model is the way your organization creates, delivers and captures value. It looks at where the money comes from, who’s paying the money, what those customers want and how you give them what they want.

Using a business model canvas is a great way of laying out the current model and identifying areas for improvement. It also helps to highlight what is working well. Are there other ways in which you could be reaching your customers? Are there ways you could add value without increasing the cost? It is likely that many new  ideas will result from the exercise.

You can download a free business model canvas template from www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas . The website describes it as: “a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model”.

Take some time to check it out and keep innovating!

Click here to Download the Business Model Canvas.

business model canvas