Purple Twig- Art Exploration for kids. A mom run small business in Los Angeles. Stop by to see the trials and tribulations.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What's Marketing?

Okay so it's been about two years now since I opened the doors of Purple Twig. It has been so fulfilling in so many ways. I feel good about the website and how it conveys our sophisticated yet playful relationship to art education. I  am happy about our classes, the way they are structured, the progression of projects and I have found some fantastic teachers. I just got the floors sanded and now the space is much warmer and comfortable.

I have learned about budgeting and book keeping allowing me to stay above water. The thing I still am trying to understand is marketing.
I was convinced to buy an ad on one of those parent resource websites. "We can reach over 6,000 families in the Los Angeles area", "We so believe in what you do and want to work with you that we are willing to offer you both a spot in our news letter and a banner ad on our website for half the price, just $700. If you get just 4 families from that you will recoup your fees" I bought it literally and figuratively. Did I get any families from the ads? As far as I know, not even a phone call.  I felt a bit like a fool. When I spoke to others, I realized that I was not alone. Many small businesses succumb to the pressures of advertising in places that are just not working for them.
What has worked in marketing so far? Word of mouth. Moms are a powerful resource.  Mothers are also very supportive of other mothers and mom run businesses. It really has been the mothers who have told other mothers or posted on mom's group sites that have been the most successful. I then realized that I am an intimate business with a personal space. It's all about the community. Those big corporate sites or those Groupon type sites won't work for Purple Twig. They don't reflect this business.

So I decided to do some guerrilla marketing. We had made these posters during our dinosaur themed week at summer camp. We posted them around the neighborhood during camp. I had about 250 printed up and posted them in different neighborhoods around libraries and schools. Did this bring in any new students? I am not sure about that, but I do know that it made more than one person smile. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Celebrating Sukkot with the kids

At my children's school this week I helped celebrate Sukkot, the Jewish celebration of harvest. We built a sukkah at the school's farm. It was a simple structure of four 2X4 posts dug into the ground with 2X4 posts connecting them at the top. We then used twine wrapped around the posts for two of the walls  and the roof and a blanket for the back wall.

We invited the children to decorate the sukkah by weaving dried corn stalks into the twine. With my youngest's class we did watercolor paintings of our favorite fruits and vegetables, cut them out and hung them from the top twine. They were learning the letter H this week which was perfect to talk about harvest and hut.

The tradition is to invite a friend into the sukkah to share a meal.  I made apple and pomegranate salad for the kids to share while sitting together in the sukkah. It's such a wonderful holiday and after the High Holidays can be one that is difficult to muster but a beautiful way to celebrate the fall and to celebrate friendship.