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Coronavirus has cancelled big festivals. Is it a bad time to be a maker?

 

Huge events across the globe are being canceled due to concerns about spreading the Coronavirus. As of writing this, SXSW 2020 has been canceled. It’s one of Austin’s biggest festivals of the year—drawing in guests from all over the world. And up until a few days ago, we were poised to be a vendor during the Carefree Black Girl Cookout SXSW event.


To be honest, there’s a little bit of sweet mixed into this bitter news. Yes, on one hand, we’ll be missing the opportunity to market ourselves at one of the city’s biggest events. But on the other hand, we won’t have to deal with covering ourselves in hand sanitizer every three minutes. We won’t get a chance to meet new customers in person, but we can take this time to learn how to meet new customers online.  


You see, this cancellation gives us something that all makers desperately need: time. Now that we don’t have to worry about getting products ready for the show, or spending 6-8 hours at the show itself, we can focus on other things—like diversification.


We don’t mean diversification of products (although we’re always looking into new designs). We mean diversification in our online marketing.


Yes, makers thrive off of in-person markets but it can’t be your only source of advertising and income. Most makers you see at markets will have at least an Etsy page, Website, or Instagram. It's necessary if you want customers to check out more of your stuff (especially if they're not ready to buy). Now is the time to lean on those online tools and look at how you’re marketing yourself digitally. Especially if you're losing the opportunity to meet customers face to face. 


Have you ever wanted to learn how ads work on Google, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram? Now’s the time to learn! Maybe you’ve wanted to dabble in blog writing? Steal away an hour or two to jot down some ideas. Have you been putting off a website makeover? Take this time to give it some undivided attention.    


Boosting your online presence now will help in the short AND long term. It keeps you active through a lull of events, and it gives your customers more ways to interact with your brand. It also helps you get into whatever weird algorithm Facebook and Google are using so that your stuff can reach new customers.       




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  • Sierra on

    Hi Christine,
    Thanks so much for reading ! Cheers to a good work day. We’re a resilient group us creatives, please let us know if there’s anyway we can help.

  • Christine Unruh on

    Great post! Thanks for the up-side look at this. We had a three day show cancel this weekend too, and I’m a bit out of sorts wondering what to do next with all this free time. You reminded me to work on my Etsy listings, write a blog post, and dream about other stuff (pop up shop? Invite some cool Austin folks maybe?) Today’s a good day to work – hope you get a lot done too. Cheers!


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