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    My Advice: Adding Value

    My Advice: Adding ValueBy Andrea McArthur

    How to define value and add value to your product or creative service for customers and clients.

    It’s a big question but one that can create a spark! I’ve always found that clients and customers are always happiest when they have their expectations met and exceeded. For me (being in design) it’s really important to fulfil and exceed clients expectations it’s what can set me apart from other designers.

    Small business tweaks can pay off! It’s the small details which manifest as your brand which show your worth. Showing that you care about your brand, your service and your presentation are all important details. When you strive for excellence – clients will see the additional value in your business.

    But the best and truest form of value-add that I’ve seen in practice is showing that you understand your client’s business and their needs. Clients are open to receiving recommendations. By going a step further and exploring tailored options you will blow their mind, add value and possibly have more work. Creative solutions show value and keeps clients coming back for more!


    Diana Scully

    Diana Scully, Principal (Interior) Designer
    www.spacesbydiana.com.au // Blog  www.spacesandplacesblog.com

    Working in a service based industry, adding value to what I offer comes down to my relationships with clients and therefore can be different for each project I work on. For me, its about understanding what’s important to my client, then going the extra mile to deliver it. This may seem obvious, but for me, it about supporting my client through the process in a way that best suits their needs.

    For potential new clients I have set up a lifestyle blog Spaces and Places where I discuss topics of interests relating to interior design. Sometimes its about understanding how certain pieces of furniture can work in your home, where to go shopping or breaking down the process of design so that readers understand how to apply the idea into their own home. I’ve even set up a Handbook page which has a list of showrooms and stores I usually visit for client projects! I hope that by sharing my knowledge and experiences with the community, they receive a benefit from my services, even before they have engaged me.

    Without a doubt, adding value to my business means improving customer service, as I’ve learnt, people are predominately emotional beings when it comes to their home. They are greatly impacted by warmth, friendliness, being helpful and supportive. This may sound simple, but to me, this is a crucial aspect of adding value when you work in a service based industry. A positive attitude and level of enthusiasm towards a project is what can distinguish your service from the next, especially if you’re working in an industry where there’s plenty of competition! I find that offering to manage aspects of the project like collect/return samples, process orders or make myself contactable, even after hours, are just a few little ways I can make the process more convenient and rewarding for my client.


    Steph and MicaelaSteph Parsons and Micaela Cleave, Two of a Kind Events
    www.two-ofakind.com // Instagram  @two_ofakindevents

    As we are still a young business (only a year and a half old) we are constantly asking ourselves how we can define the value we offer to our clients. As cliched as it sounds, so far it really has been a process of finding what works for us through a lot of trial and error. Event styling itself is sometimes a hard concept to define, with our clients often expecting a concrete product for their money.

    Recently we have introduced a clear step-by-step process for each of our service pathways which our clients receive when they book with us. This acts as a reference point for them to see which stage of the event design process we are up to at any given time. We’ve found this to be really helpful with managing a client’s expectations and ultimately allowing us to exceed those expectations.

    We also think it’s really important to be our authentic selves in all aspects of our business. This of course impacts the relationships we form with our clients, and is something that we can offer them that no one else can. We are our product, and staying true to that has allowed us to connect with like minded people who have ended up becoming friends along the way.

    {Image by Geelong Advertiser}


    Andrea FinchAndrea Finch, Graphic Designer & Virtual Assistant
    www.andreafinch.com.au // Twitter  @andreafinch_

    I’m great at delivering exactly what I promise, when I promise. My clients are always impressed with what I have to offer. But I can do more by going the extra mile.

    Here are three things that I do to add value that you might also find helpful.

    Creativity. When I’m designing a logo for a client, I go the extra mile and also save it out at the right size for their profile picture for their Facebook business page. This might seem little but it creates a big impact on the client. I try to be creative and think of something small that I can include to delight my clients.

    Professional Advice. As a supplier, I have the chance to offer a professional perspective on a clients’ business. My advice can help take them to the next critical step in growing their business (winner!). Professional advice could play a huge role in highlighting issues a client may not have yet considered, and if that input can help them reach big results, then the added value will be appreciated.

    Communication. I’m a strong believer that you can’t do business without communication. It is the key ingredient to running a successful business. Ensuring I keep clients up to date with where I am at with their project (even if they don’t ask) is not only good work ethic but it tends to give me brownie points when you’re keeping them in the loop.

    – – –

    Thanks ladies for opening up and explaining some of your processes that work to add value in your creative businesses.

    Andrea McArthur (www.andyjane.com) has a passion for all things visual and works as an Art Director and Designer for the Brisbane Festival. Design is her true love and she goes weak at the knees over strategic branding. You’ll find her sharing on Instagram @andyjanemc.

    Tags: Advice, business, business tips, my advice, Value
    Posted by: Andrea McArthur
    Categories: business tips, my advice, regular columns | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Regional creative: Melisah May Art Studio and Workshop

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    By Christina Atherton

    Being a creative can sometimes be a struggle between fulfilling a desire to create and making ends meet. Many of us have had to compromise along the way but what if the two could work seamlessly together?

    Melisah May is a Newcastle based artist who has fulfilled a lifelong dream of running her own artists studio in the heart of the city. With a background in teaching she is able to combine her two loves – art and teaching – to offer a creative hub for people to discover the joys of art while continuing to make a name for herself in the art world.

    Tell us a bit about your background?

    I’ve always wanted to be an artist and have always been involved in something creative. I completed a degree in Natural History Illustration at Newcastle University then a Certificate in Small Business Management with plans to start my own freelance practice. Unfortunately illustrators weren’t in great demand at the time so I decided to return to uni and get my teaching qualification. For the past seven years I’ve been a full time Secondary Visual Arts and Photography Teacher while building a name for myself as an artist on the side as well as holding exhibitions and teaching in London for two years. I’m not really content with staying put too long!


    Summer Rain, 2015, Acrylic on canvas by Melisah May

    As a freelance illustrator and artist, how do you get your work out there?

    Social media is obviously a big help now so I try and utilize that as much as I can. Before Facebook and Instagram, I had to get the word out there the old fashioned way – by talking to people! I found doing lots of markets helped me get my work out there and just asking people in cafes and shops if they would hang my work. I have to remind myself of those days because I find myself relying on social media way too much these days.

    You have an amazing light-filled studio in the heart of Newcastle. How did that come about?

    Completely by chance! I wasn’t looking for a studio but a friend told me about the space and I thought I’d go have a look. I fell in love and decided to take the plunge. Starting my own art studio has been my dream for a long time.  By the end of last year I had swapped full tine teaching with being a full time small business owner!

    How do you use this space to create? Does it inspire your work?

    It is definitely a very inspiring space. I still pinch myself every time I walk in! I love having so much room to move and I feel like I’m kind of developing and growing with my work as the studio develops. Everything I do in the space is promoting growth and positive experience so that environment is a catalyst for my practice

    You’ve had exhibitions in New York, London, Sydney and Newcastle. What’s the process for preparing for an exhibition?

    It’s different every time really. Just quietly, it’s usually a big stressful rush towards the end! Generally however, I will have an idea for an exhibition based on what I have been making at the time and just work on tightening that body of work to form a coherent narrative.

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    Everywhere – music, art history, pop culture, people on the street, food – you name it! I do love books though and I would have to say the one thing that never fails to inspire me even when I’m feeling flat is wandering through a bookstore and looking at books of all descriptions. It’s one of my favourite things to do especially in used bookstores!


    You also offer workshops for adults and children, is teaching something you love?

    Absolutely. I love teaching, and I always want it to be part of what I do. Nothing compares to the feeling of helping someone smile and feel accomplished.

    What’s next for you?

    I want to continue to develop the studio as a business and provide more creative and diverse opportunities for people to indulge in their inner artist. I also want to start exhibiting my own work more frequently in 2016.  I feel I have a lot to express from my experiences in this past year and I’m excited about what’s to come.

    On a quest to live a more creative life, Christina loves any type of crafty project and has tried everything from watercolours and flower arranging to paper craft and calligraphy. She has an unhealthy obsession with Instagram and when not working in freelance travel and lifestyle PR, spends her time as a mama, wannabe photographer and magazine junkie. She currently coordinates CWC events in Newcastle.

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    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: conversations with creative women, interview, women in art | Comments Off