Tuesday, 1 March 2016

BAIL302: Creative and Professional Development: Lectures: Guest Illustrators: Lize Meddings

Lize and Laura of the Sad Ghost Club visit us in our studio.

"WE'RE A SMALL CREATIVE PROJECT MAKING COMIC BOOKS, APPAREL AND MERCHANDISE TO SPREAD POSITIVE AWARENESS OF MENTAL HEALTH." - (http://thesadghostclub.com/) 

The Sad Ghost Club started life as a comic book by Lize Meddings and has now developed into a brand. The team produce art prints, apparel designs, bags, patches, pins, stickers, pocket mirrors, notebooks and, most importantly, zines. 

The SGC's popularity developed around the zine community and it's networking and exposure opportunities. Their success also comes from their understanding of their audience and their attempts to build relationships with them. 

They provided an insight into several different aspects involved with their success:


Talking illustration 

Zines

There is no set expectation of what a zine ought to contain - they aren't restricted to being indie comic book stories. although personal/emotive themes are often popular. 

Easiest form of publishing that can act as a pathway into other publishing opportunities.

Active community/network who are passionate about zine swapping or buying zines for the sake of it.  


Art Fairs

Provide good networking opportunities, but if travel/over night stays are involved they aren't usually cost-effective if you are intending to sell. 

Exposure opportunity through selling work. Thought Bubble, Leeds is a big one in the UK.

Attending events provides a deadline to work towards, which can help you to be proactive. Also provides a reason to experiment with a make-to-sell application of your work. 

Organising your own art fair means you have to network with local establishments, but also provides networking opportunities with local artists and companies that could be potential clients.


Social Enterprise

Success with social media

  • Identify specific goals and objectives.
  • Identify your customers.
  • Be aware of your competitors.
  • When using hashtags etc. make them memorable.
  • Get ideas from your customers as to what they want to see/buy.
  • Consider crowd sourcing. - Indiegogo, Kickstarter etc. Plan and research ahead of time as sourcing/producing large quantities of items can take around a year. 
  • Slowly expand what you do, branching into different customer bases to stay interesting. e.g from Etsy > Big Cartel >Shopperfy. Prints/Zines > Stickers/Postcards/ > Apparel. Products > Workshops.
  • Get pre-orders for products that will vary in size or be produced in large print runs - t-shirts, jumpers, etc. So you have an idea of how much to order. 
  • Test the sales of products before making loads of them. 

Knowing your audience

  • Create a 'persona' for your audience - a generalisation that represents them. 
  • Understand their needs - Choose the right platform
  • Speak their language
  • Build a relationship - answer questions and comment on the work of others.
  • Figure out an optimal posting time and schedule your posts - when are your audience active online? 
  • Provide a consistent message.
  • Measure, evaluate and adjust what you do and how they respond.

 I really enjoyed this visit - zine culture and art fairs are both areas which I haven't really researched before and it was great to get some sound ideas of how to be proactive and aware of how to use social media. 

In terms of relevance to my own practice, I'm not sure how proactive I will be in running my business through my social media - I recognise it's potential significance, but I think it would be naive of me to assume I can do it as successfully as the SGC, seeing as Laura handles the social media end and Lize sticks to creating the artwork and I would be doing both! However, when it comes to independently publishing items of work for sale post-graduation, some of this information is going to be really beneficial and perhaps a collaborative effort would be an interesting avenue.  





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