Gallery 65 – July Meeting

Welcome back. Lots happening here in downtown New Bedford!

 

gallery 65 storefront

 

In the June Gallery 65 blog you read that the Charles W Morgan was coming to town and that record crowds were expected in downtown New Bedford…and how we wanted to capitalize on that activity. While the downtown events were well attended (despite Hurricane Arthur), the traffic into the Gallery was not: traffic 80, sales 3. As you can imagine, that led to another conversation – as I have said before and said again during this meeting – there are 3 ways to Increase Sales:

Increase traffic and contact opportunities
Increase close ratio (close more traffic opportunities)
Increase average sale

gallery 65 shoppers

 

We had 2 issues to address – low traffic into the showroom and low close ratio.
To address low traffic, we looked at the marketing efforts of the Gallery and what actions to take moving forward. They will boost email reach with Mail Chimp and more social media posts with Facebook. They will stop using rack cards for tourists but look to change the format of their website so that they can manage the site themselves and create a greater ecommerce presence.
The other issue was close ratio…3 of 80 is very low, especially coupled with a low average sale. We discussed how to interact initially and create conversations with incoming customers. Laurie Bullard was fabulous with this and suggested what to do to engage with opening questions and to drive the interaction with questions of interest.
This lead to a larger, more relevant conversation: Now that several artists are leaving (and taking their art or leaving it on consignment), and the layout and use of the showroom will change dramatically (Marc St Pierre is coming in and he and Nicole St Pierre will use 50% of the space for studio, reducing the showroom by half), it forced the discussion to not only ‘what stays and where?’, but ‘what is Gallery 65 now?’

gallery 65 showroom
The Gallery is currently a cooperative run by members (most of whom will be leaving), somewhat as a gallery, and equally somewhat as a retail gift shop with artistic and original products. But they aren’t functioning completely as a gallery nor as a retail shop, using retail best practices like promotions and sale pricing to drive new business. Nicole bristled at this as it doesn’t square with ‘gallery’ practices, Sarah was intrigued as she is very interested in whatever it takes to sell art pieces, and Laurie was right on top of it as a former successful retail shop owner. Some promotions we discussed were Open Studio special pricing, ‘buy one, get one’ for product that is small and/or needs to move (like Laurie’s photograph greeting cards….which I bought 10 of!). We left it that Nicole would really think about this and talk with Marc and the other artists, to create a clear vision and strategy of what the Gallery will be in the future…in the very near future. This is a critical time for them, as the physical changes and the member/staff changes are significant…and a time that they can really create something new and special for Gallery 65.
We are taking August off as the Gallery changes form and will be back in September….Happy Summer!
xo,
Jody

Gallery 65 on William / March

Image

 

In February I shared with you that I had a meeting with Gallery 65 on William in downtown New Bedford, Massachusetts. I donated a business consultation to the New Bedford Beautiful committee for the winning business storefront in their “Deck the Door” holiday decorating contest…and they were the winner!

Gallery 65 on William is a cooperative of artists, who like many cooperatives and artists, struggle with some of the business challenges facing them.  I was struck by the similarities that interior designers and retail businesses that I work with share….and I thought it might be of interest to you, the designer and small business owner, to see some of the structures and content of business development goals and actions that take place over time and the results they produce. So in the spirit of full disclosure, I am working pro bono with Gallery 65 on William for 2014 and in exchange I will share with you the goals and actions that we create to increase performance, revenues, and visibility this year and how we do it. I will share successes and misses with you so that you can see for yourself what might work or not work for you.

Background: There are currently 10 artists who share the responsibility of staffing the Gallery, display their work, create ways to attract new business, and participate in the revenues collected for sold artwork.

Format: For this initiative, I have a meeting with the artists on the first Monday of each month from 10-12. It follows their internal meeting from 9-10.   I take notes (as does Laurie Bullard) and we compare and combine them and send them to the artists, as there are take away actions for the month. 

At this recent meeting, we discussed how to manage the marketing actions so that they are shared and don’t fall to a few ….as well as possibly finding an art/marketing major at UMass Dartmouth as an intern to be responsible for some of the marketing and social media actions.

Goals: We have limited the goals to 5 that are most pressing for this year. I have encouraged them to aim higher than they have aimed in the past, as it will influence the strategies and actions that they take. For example, if the goal is to ‘break even’ the actions will be very different from the goal to ‘increase business by 50% over last year’.

1.  Increase revenue to $X. We established a revenue goal that was greater than 25% increase over 2013. 

     a. Sell more high end product

     b. Have monthly Gallery shows

     c. Sell art to downtown and local professionals

2. Increase artist members to 15

     a. 3-4 jewelry designers

     b. Artists to consider their collective and individual contact list of artists and who to invite.

3. Attract designers and decorators to shop/source/recommend Gallery 65

     a. Create database of local and regional designers (by May 1)

4. Set up Spring/Summer booth at Ferry Terminal

     a. Determine rent/costs

     b. Decide how the numbers and staffing work

     c. Identify product for booth: small, higher end hostess gifts, big ticket items. 

5. Increase traffic

     a. In store

     b. To website

     c. To Facebook page

 For social medial / marketing actions for March, each artist has agreed to:

1.    Post on Gallery 65 FB page
2.      ‘Like’ FB page
3.    To ‘share’ FB page with their personal contacts

For next meeting: Put dates and additional actions on the above goals and strategies.

This is just the beginning.  We have a lot to do over the next several months to grow traffic and visibility, to increase sales with every traffic opportunity, and to increase average sale with every sales transaction but, one thing at a time.   We are fortunate to have a group of dedicated professionals who are seasoned artists and yet open to learning and doing new things that will have them attain their goals for the year. I hope you enjoy this and welcome your thoughts and input along the way.

 

Now go sell something!

Love, Jody