You have a creative spirit and a head for business. You want to jump to a higher level, get noticed and stand out. But how? But what can you do to draw attention that will catapult you to superstar status?
Sharpening your signature style is a good way to begin.
Find your secret ingredient. Some kind of formula that is all YOU and can’t be copied by anyone, not even a sci-fi clone. Whatever it is that you decide to make or write – trust me – the magic will come from the personal energy and innovation you put into it. Devise a style that is as individual as your fingerprint on polymer clay. Something that will not only turn heads but also motivate folks to say: “I want more!”
Here are some ideas to craft your signature style:
Be original! Push yourself beyond the easiest and most obvious. Rather than make or draw what everyone else is doing, strive to change the game and come up with something totally new. Totally 100% YOU. The goal should be for people to know at first glance you made it or designed it. Or styled it, etc.
Experiment. This is my favorite part. Try out genres or activities you previously avoided. Discover, observe, and partake so you can originate. Take notes of what surprising aspects you liked the most and why. Pay attention to what you gravitate towards, what came easily to you.
Know (and learn more about) yourself. Make a list of all the tangible and intangible things that you adore. Also, what you are great at doing, the colors that give you goosebumps, favorite quotes, fashion style, etc. Look around your bedroom, your magazine/book/music playlists, and even your closet for inspiration. Write up a one-line mission statement of what you are all about. Now translate that into a tagline of what you want your designs to represent. Don’t fret over it. You can always change it down the road as the process develops.
Tell your story in your work! This is probably the most important. Draw on your memories and life experiences to curate your ideas and processes. That way when someone asks you about a specific piece or collection, you can offer an interesting backstory. It can be as simple as your favorite color combos and why you like them, or even how your nana used to make that craft and you like to carry on with her spirit. Maybe you tired of not finding anything you liked on store shelves so you made your own. Weave in any personal nuggets you can!
Research trends. How can you add your personality? When it comes to designing or writing books if you see something that is already for sale in a retail store, chances are it is on it’s way out, an upgrade is coming soon. Artists, as well as buyers and book readers, are always evolving, growing and searching for the next best thing. Put on your inventor X-ray specs and look through and beyond the obvious. What hasn’t been done yet? Now use this with what you learned from the tips mentioned above to come up with something that is NEW.
Put your spin on it: In 2004, I wanted to have some jewelry that had Latino imagery on it. I couldn’t find any so I tinkered in my studio until I came up with a raw version of my picture bracelets. I thought I was Miss Rock Star Crafter until I did a search on eBay and found oodles of other picture bracelets. BUT – I had my heart set. So I scoured the universe to see all the picture bracelets I could – so I would know what not to use in my design. My goal was for people to see one and say “Hey, that’s a Crafty Chica bracelet!”
Go back and experiment more. Take all your findings and pull them together. Go back in the studio/kitchen table/wherever and play around with your supplies and sketches until you come up with something wonderful and brag-worthy. Inspect everything and search for a common thread. Spend time making samples. You might even want to share your ideas with a friend and see if they can help you.
Come up with a pop culture recipe of who you are. I like to think of myself as Ugly Betty meets Martha Stewart. Maybe you are Lady Gaga meets Jane the Virgin. Or Alicia Keys meets Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. you get the idea. This is a great tidbit to add into your elevator pitch!
Remember, you originate and let the others imitate. It’s all in your signature style! You’ll feel so proud about your work and so will the people who buy it!