Developing friendships with your fellow creatives is one of the most important things you can do.
Not only will you meet brilliant, likeminded people, but you will receive the support to enhance your work while developing a sense of community in the creative world.
Encouraging appreciation of artistic, handmade and creative work starts at home. Creatives should support other creatives. You can’t expect the public to engage with your work if you are unwilling to lead the way. So what are the best ways to offer support?
1. Reach out!
Reach out to people, even if it’s just on social media. A simple interaction can mean the world to someone – after all, if no one engages with their work, why bother making it at all? It can be as simple as giving them a Like on Facebook or a comment on Instagram. Tell them what you like about their work and offer your feedback. Congratulate them on their accomplishments. They might even reciprocate!
2. Don’t be blinded by competition
In so many creative industries there is a strong sense of competition. Everyone is contending to have the best work, to get the best contract. That’s just the way it is, and competition can be good, but it can also hold you back. Establishing friendships, listening to feedback , getting referrals and developing business partnerships can be just – if not more – important than being the best.
The flip side is to remember that someone having more experience, more skills or more sales than you is not a reason to feel bad about yourself. There is no doubt that they got to that point through a ton of work, research and experience. Talk to them, ask for advice, find out how they got to where they are. Don’t just give support but be open to receiving it, too.
3. Buy and trade from one another
There are so many incredible products made by fellow creatives. Just check out Etsy or Folksy to see how many beautiful, artisanal products are available. Buying mindfully from each other or trading work is a great way to offer support. If you want something new, why not pay a creative instead of a big corporation? You’ll be helping someone just like you to make a living from their passion, and you’ll get something made just for you that is truly one of a kind.
4. Partner up
Are you a photographer looking for experience? Do you know someone who makes beautiful ceramics? Partner up! Help them with their product photography and gain images for your portfolio. You’ve helped each other out without spending a dime, and you can always use social media to link to each other and help you both to gain exposure.
5. Share resources
There are no rules to say success is accomplished alone and more often than not, it isn’t. Why not try sharing your tools, studio space, or even your skills. Find someone who you can swap with. You’ll gain new skills and equipment while meeting new people and helping them out, too.
6. Find out what’s going on in your community
You might not know it, but a lot of communities have a huge variety of groups, fairs, markets, events, shows and exhibitions. A little online search can quickly tell you what’s going on in your local area. Simply showing up is a great way to be a supportive member of your local creative community, and you might even end up gaining some professional contacts.
If you can’t find anything going on, try organising an event – it take some effort but it’s worth it! Promote and sell each others’ work. It’s a great way to gain exposure and attract new customers, and you’ll find that the connections that you can make with other creatives are invaluable.