Making art work
Name of business: Cow Art
Creator: Sam Morris
Years in business: Since 2011
Specialty: Cow art
Location: Twyning, Gloucestershire
Key to success: Constantly impressing your clients
Biggest challenge for businesses: Knowing where to start
Greatest asset: Can-do attitude
Leader in the field
Cow artist. How’s that for an opening line of a conversation! What else do you really need to hook an audience. Not much I should think. When you have a specialty, and one as unusual as this, all you can say is “do tell me more”.
This is an intriguing beginning to an enthralling tale of what I now know is a woman of renaissance – bringing the art to the modern world.
It all began with Vanessa – a cow she portrayed as a gift for a friend. She enjoyed the subject and the process, but what really made it an ‘a-ha’ moment was the reaction of that friend. Happiness, elation, delight. Sam wanted to replicate the outcome and she turned it into a business.
It’s not as bizarre as it may seem. After all, animal portraiture is not a new thing. Award winning specimens have been immortalised in paintings over centuries. However, every artist does it their own way, yet not every artist can make a living out of their art. Sam Morris challenges the concept of art not being compatible with business.
The right proportions
She understands that creativity is not enough to make it in business. When it comes to planning and marketing her art, she uses the Pareto Principle – 20% of the year to create and 80% of time to promote and sell it. She keeps her audience close and knows their habits. Understanding how their calendar works was key to developing her business model. Summer is a season of animal fairs and exhibitions, ideal to display her artwork and get new business from cattle enthusiasts and farmers wishing to celebrate their award-winning specimens. During this time it’s 80=promotion, 20=creation. This is reversed during winter months, where online sales plays the first fiddle. It’s a formula that works.
She goes one step further. She has got a plan to, what is essentially an art themed business academy. It is for artists who want to commit to their craft full time. It took Sam three years to complete that same transition process and now she wants to teach others how to make it faster and lasting. It is about teaching them how to make a good living and develop their craft by design without relying on a middleman.
She advocates having a close relationship with the client, who commissions your art. When you work for an agent, you are essentially disconnected from your inspiration and it’s all about conveying that emotion.
To win you only have to be better than yourself
There were comments suggesting that she may be creating her own future competitors, but her answer to that argument is brilliant: we all do it our way.
We all have to only be our best selves to impress a client. Then the challenge is to impress them again. It’s a new perspective to competition – essentially getting rid of competition by making the whole industry working in unison. Genius! I truly believe that is a great way of doing business, in any industry where direct relation with the customer can be built. Love it.
Sam Morris, Cow Artist in her studio
Why Sam Morris is my brand hero
She knows what she wants to achieve. She’s an artist, yet she’s methodical about her business. Her knowledge about the requirements and habits of the target market (of both – business to business and business to client) activities is excellent.
In addition, Sam tries new channels of communication and does not allow her own doubts impede her actions. She’s going with ‘perfectly imperfect’ – the key is that she’s doing it.
But what I am most impressed by is that she does not want to be the second Albrecht Duhrer or George Stubbs. She is the first Sam Morris.
My lessons from this conversation:
- find a network of peers that you will feel comfortable enough with to bounce your ideas around with
- choose your specialty and let it lead you
- tomorrow you only have to be better than yourself today
Further reading from Sam:
– The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte, for a great approach to creative businesses and goal setting
Elements of a strong brand:
desire to better themselves
knowledge of the audience
You don’t have to be better than anybody else, just better than you thought you ever could be.
Find out more about Sam Morris and Cow Art:
- Visit the website samantha-morris.com and sign up to the moosletter!
- Follow Sam on Twitter @sammorriscowart
- Find her on Facebook facebook.com/SamMorrisCowArt
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My name is Klem de Sternberg Stojalowska and Inc Element is my creation. I am a brand communication specialist. I learned my craft working on the creative side of advertising agencies.
I loved being a copywriter, as it included not only writing headlines and paragraphs of text, but also cooperating with designers and generating ideas for promotional campaigns. I also worked with strategists on launching new products and developing new brands.
Working in a team was always key. That includes cooperation with the client. Clarity on the requirements is crucial to meeting expectations and solutions that work. Whether it’s creating a headline or digging into the personality of a business to uncover its strongest selling point – it always is about serving a purpose of strengthening business’ position on the market.
The biggest lesson I learned from the big corporate clients is for communication to be effective. All efforts have to be aligned with brand’s values and the messages need to be consistent.
But being coherent does not mean repeating the same words and images all the time. It means designing messages in line with business’ spirit and goals – they need to be engaging and fit the chosen media platforms.
That is why my team and I begin with analysing brands first and designing solutions second. Understanding the starting point for the client’s brand is what makes or breaks any idea. That’s the
foundation of a successful strategy, one that we build on. It’s imperative to get it right. But that’s not all – getting the right image of the target market is equally important. It influences the type of language we are going to use to reach your audience.
This is what I know.
This is what I love.
This is what I do best.
My background helps with just that. I have a master’s degree in sociology, which puts me in a great position to analyse audiences and develop messages that resonate with them.
For me branding is all about clarity of messages, aligning communication with business’ values and using language (both visual and verbal) that audiences respond to – finding your next ideal client.