This year I began to use Facebook more as a way to try and use the age-old method of word of mouth to help spread the word about my business locally. In previous incarnations, my studio was a place not suitable for the public to be just because my space was so small. In my new space, a building that includes 3200 square feet of space, I have more than enough space. In truth, I could hold two different classes in my studio while having guests in the gallery buying work and people observing a demo of hot glass being made all at the same time. With such a space as this, the opportunity to include the public in the studio has opened up, literally.
So it was beginning last year that I would begin to build an audience for my facebook page. I began by posting images of work I had that day as well as including the special projects I was involved in, some which included my students. Slowly my facebook page “likes” went from 100 to double that. And then it tripled from there and continues to grow even larger as more and more people do just what I have hoped they would do; share news of what Stafford Artglass is up to. Slow but sure, interest has increased. My reach across the New River Valley and beyond has increased and very recently I began getting people in from outside the NRV. All of this is a good thing.
A few weeks ago I was approached by someone who wanted to bring her Mother in to blow glass. She was a local from the area and had always loved glass and realized she could try glass out for herself not far from her own home. It turns out that this lady is also a newscaster from our area and as she and her Mother were in the studio, I also talked about how I was trying to use the power of word of mouth to build the business profile in the area. At the time I didn’t know that this lady was with the local news. It soon came up, though, and I found myself resisting the desire to ask her if she could pull some strings. I am sure she probably gets lots of that as it is. It was time to just enjoy learning to blow glass, which was just what we did.
Once her and her Mom’s work was out of the oven, though, we were racing ever-closer to Christmas and it turned out that Kristina was having trouble being able to get out to get her work. This time of the year is when eyes wind up on the news and so newscasters wind up living in the studio with long hours. It turned out that I would be having dinner near where she worked and she found she was able to come near to where I would be for a transfer of the glass so she would not have to travel far. That same evening I received a message from a reporter from the same news station asking if they could do a story on the studio. It was a day before Christmas and I had just been through a marathon of glass blowing with people all across the region, so having these folks coming in was like icing on the cake! Kristina had taken her glass back to the studio where she showed one of the reporters and based on the excitement and beauty of the pieces she made, I was able to get this story about the studio without even asking for it. It was a marvelous blessing and it has helped me to boost word of mouth in a way that shows that sometimes you get just what you ask for (even if you don’t always ask for it directly). Below is the link to the short spot that WDBJ did on the studio: