Friday, January 27, 2012

Tips from Tamara Propst

Hello! This is Taylor here again, Associated Artists’ intern from Salem College.

On Tuesday evening, Tamara Propst did a wonderful AAWS Gallery talk about Marketing & Customer Service in the Post-Recession Recession. Along with her husband Ron, she is the owner of The Other Half, an Arts District gallery specializing in both fine craft and fine art. She is also the former longtime manager of the gift shop at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.

Tamara had some wonderful tips about best practices when selling art. According to her, one of the most important factors is customer service. When someone comes into your studio, booth or gallery, you want to make them feel welcome. Even a simple, “Hi, how are you?” works. Another nice greeting is, “Let me know if you have any questions.” Tamara’s favorite opening line is, “There’s some candy on the counter if you need a spark of energy.” You can also ask where the visitor is from. This makes them feel more welcome and gives you some more information about your client base.

Another important factor is display. A strong display can make pieces that are not as dynamic look fabulous. You want to be sure you aren’t contrasting weaknesses, but coordinating strengths. Tamara sees windows as doorways to your space. In those windows you want to catch people’s attention. Putting the most bizarre pieces you have in the window display will certainly lure some people in. A frequent change in displays is an alternative way to do that. Just rotating pieces around can keep a space looking fresh.

A final tidbit that can really change the mood of the art space is music. Having music on softens the environment. You don’t want people to have to whisper. You want them to laugh, feel comfortable, and ask questions.

Tamara had some wonderful advice about marketing and customer service. Most importantly, her tips are easy to replicate and universal for almost any retail, booth or studio setting. The next time I walk into The Other Half, I’ll have some fresh eyes and a new perspective about their customer service and marketing techniques.

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