Empowering Women

14 Nov

When I first learned about EWI, I knew I would be volunteering to help women grow their businesses. What a great project! But when I learned that a lot of women who take advantage of EWI’s programs have art businesses, I got even more excited.

Along with other students from The Washington Center, I participated in a social media workshop through EWI where we helped up-and-coming female entrepreneurs learn how to use social media websites in growing their businesses.

I knew that this would be a great program for everyone to take advantage of, but I was particularly excited for the women interested in art. As someone with an art business myself, I know that social media (particularly social networking websites) can be a huge asset to those who are serious about selling their art.

The primary reason for this is that the internet provides a great market for niche products. Through online communities, people who are interested in a particular type or art or craft can find others with the same interest and connect with them. This not only means an increase in exposure, but also an increase in exposure of people who are likely to be repeat customers. The reason for this is simple: social media isn’t just about exposure, it’s about bonding over a common interest. Through the internet, people with art businesses can make friends who truly care about their work, and will therefore be more likely to continue to invest in the artist.

So where are the best places for artists to connect? Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all seem to be great platforms due to their size and notoriety. However, I think that the two greatest platforms for artistic social networking are Ravelry and Etsy. Ravelry is a social networking platform akin to Facebook. It allows members to talk about their artwork or crafts, join groups, and plan gatherings where members can improve their craft. Etsy is an online marketplace specifically for those selling handmade products, vintage items, or craft and art supplies. Etsy allows members to create a unique storefront where they can sell their products alongside similar artists. This is an invaluable tool, because it allows an artist to express their creativity and display their products in a digital space that is uniquely their own.

I am thrilled that I had the chance to help some wonderful ladies with social media skills during our workshop. I met some very talented artists and crafters, most of whom were new to the idea of connecting over the internet. While I know that these women have what it takes to make it successful, I know that utilizing social media will give them a great edge.

by Meg Gasvoda

Meg Gasvoda is a senior studying political communication and digital journalism at Alma College in Michigan. She is currently an intern at the Daily Caller, a popular online news publication. Meg is thrilled to be volunteering at EWI for her civic engagement project, because she gets to be inspired by budding female entrepreneurs.

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