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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lesson From The Pet Rock

I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard 'you're so talented', maybe then I wouldn't always worry about my ability to earn enough to support myself. I have come to the conclusion that it isn't so much how talented one is as much as it is who one knows and how much of the right exposure one gets.

So many times I have walked into an art gallery and seen abstract and contemporary art that looks more like my third grade granddaughter was turned loose in the garage and told to make something than it does a creation of a talented artist.

It is not that I don't like or even appreciate contemporary and abstract art, for I do! There have been many pieces that I have loved, but then there have been just as many that I walked away discouraged and confused because it was selling for hundreds even thousands of dollars and really it didn't seem to have any thought or skill that went into its creation.

I've often walked away thinking, if they can sell that why am I struggling to survive. Obviously they had already learned the lesson from the Pet Rock. 

What is this all important lesson I speak of? It is the fact that it is not so much what you create as it is who you know that determines how successful sales of your creation will be.
You see Gary Dahl the inventor of the Pet Rock, became a millionaire through sales of his Pet Rocks. Although the pet rock was marketed as a substitute for a dog or cat and not art the theory is the same. His idea (creation) may never have gotten a second glance if he hadn't know someone that helped him develop and implement the fantastic marketing strategy that skyrocketed sales, making Dahl a multimillionaire in just six months. His marketing strategy flooded the media with this humorous product creating wide exposure throughout the United States in just a short period of time. Through his contacts he was able to get the exposure needed to catapult sales of this seemingly inauspicious product in a short period of time to record highs and thus a legend was born.

Like Dahl, these artists whose works leave me dumbfound obviously KNOW someone. They put themselves out there and met the RIGHT people. They met the gallery owners, the shop owners and the art advocates. They made those all important connections and through them they obtained the right exposure. Or, they paid high booth fees for exposure in the right fairs, at the right time, with the right customer base.

It may have taken me a long time, I will admit it, I thought the Pet Rock was dumb at the time so gave it very little thought. But I have finally learned the lesson. It is time to put myself out there and meet the RIGHT people, make the RIGHT connections and get the RIGHT exposure.

So if your art sales are lagging and you find yourself wonder why, ask yourself if you have learned the lesson of the Pet Rock. Do you know the right people? Are you getting the right exposure? If not it is time to step outside the comfort zone.

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