Would you love to get your handmade items in the hands of celebrities, complete with photo op?
Many artists and craftspeople would. They are lining up to get involved with “celebrity gifting.”
This concept involves including handmade work in gift bags for the stars, to be given at events such as the Emmys and the Oscars, or in special “gifting suites,” which are private rooms for the famous to visit, pose with favorite items, and take home free merchandise. Other gift bags are given to specific celebrities, for example, Jessica Alba or Hilary Duff, who received baby gifts as new mothers.
Valerie Guerrero (shown above with actor Dermot Mulroney) runs The Artisan Group in California, and offers this opportunity to creative entrepreneurs. She explains that sponsoring a gift suite is prohibitively expensive for individual artists, so she splits the cost between many participants. Her business is only a year old, but she already has about 900 juried participants waiting to give their work away to the rich and famous.
One of these participants is ceramic artist Pamela Petry, who sent 100 ceramic heart plaques to be gifted to celebs and the press, as well as handmade clay rattles. She says, “It’s an investment. If you want to get your name out there, you have to promote. If one celebrity loves your work, who knows where it would go? This gives an avenue that we wouldn’t otherwise have.”
Could this strategy work for you? If you have very expensive or large items, maybe not. After all, you have to create and give away lots of merchandise. Artists do have the option of just including their business cards and literature, at a cost, or they could give small token items and send photos of more expensive ones. Valerie mentions that one craftsperson gave $8.00 soaps which were a huge hit. Celebrities don’t often send written thank you notes for their new loot, but many will give artists a shout out on Twitter and a link to your website.
Gifting your work to celebrities is just the start of a promotional effort you need to make to bring attention to that fact. Sharing your celeb promo on Facebook, Twitter, your blog and through press releases is essential to maximizing the publicity.
Jewelry artist Autumn Bradley has participated in several gifting events, including the Emmy Awards, where her horseshoe necklace was given to celebrities and members of the press. She garnered photos of several celebrities wearing the necklace. Tagging their photos on her website drove lots of traffic and created a number of sales for her. Although her business is fairly new, she feels that gifting has been a tremendous opportunity. She states, “Celebrity gifting is such a great way to get exposure and create a buzz about your product.”