WHERE ARE YOU: Weymouth, Massachusetts (about 20 miles south of Boston)
COMPANY NAME: the Sampler
CRAFT TOOL YOU CAN NOT LIVE WITHOUT: my rotary cutter….I use it every single day.
1)For those that have never heard of The Sampler explain what it is you guys do over there.
The Sampler is a fun marketing & promotional tool for indie businesses. Each month, independent crafters, artists, shops, zines and record labels who run web-based businesses send samples and promotional materials to a contribution pool. All the samples are photographed, posted to the site and then are portioned out, put in little packages and sent off to Sampler subscribers all over the world. Samplers are also sent to over 40 different media outlets to help get press for our contributors.
I started working for the Sampler answering emails in January of 2007, and I became boss in January of 2008. Its been a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work being in charge. The monthly Samplers take up a lot more physical space than I was prepared for, so the office is pretty cramped! For now, I work alone and it isn’t so bad, but if I needed to add space for another worker it would be tough. I’ve got loads of amazing volunteers in Samplerland that help me keep the most important day to day things under control: blogging and emails.
3) Why do you think contributing to The Sampler is a wise marketing move for a small Indie business?
The goal of the Sampler is to get your products into the hands of prospective shoppers. If you’ve participated in a craft fair, you know the importance of having people see your items in person…touch them, examine the quality up close. It isn’t always easy selling things over the internet because people can’t have that experience. With the Sampler, a shopper gets a whole box of items where they can see up close exactly how well made your item is. They can also get exposed to a whole group of crafters that they may not have otherwise know about. With all the amazing craft sites out there, its difficult to find that thing that sets you apart from the competition. By contributing to the Sampler, you’ve made more of an impact because the customer already has a sample of your work in their hands.
hmmm…I don’t think any single piece of press was better than another. In each case, it is usually a pretty big deal for the crafter. Our contributors get featured regularly in Venus, Craft, Bust and can often be found in Real Simple, Readymade, and even Better Homes and Gardens. We’ve heard from lots of our participants to be on the watch for these magazines’ holiday gift guides for many more features! My favorite bit of press was from when we participated in a gift lounge for the 2006 MTV Movie Awards. Anne Heche was photographed wearing a sleep mask by Hambone & Jennicakes, which ended up in OK! Magazine
5) Tell me about The Sampler Coloring Book, I just discovered
it and I am totally smitten!
Back when the Sampler started, we needed content to get people interested in coming back to the site. We had lots of fun stuff: games, coloring pages, and interviews. As the Sampler has grown & changed, some of these things have had to take a back seat to the mailings…but they will be back next year!