Manual

Introduction

We’ve all been there. Starting a creative project with benefits and potential pouring out of it. But the process of seeing it through to the end proves to be eye-twitchingly challenging. Funding falls through, studios become mysteriously scarce, resources feel choked tight – and potential collaborators are way too preoccupied trying to pay their own rent, to group together and do the projects they want to do. Sound familiar? Breath. Don’t panic. It’s more doable than you think – in 2013, Kollektiv Gallery managed it with limited resources, and you can too.

Using the techniques covered here, we succeeded in getting together a team of underemployed and preoccupied graduates, who transformed into idealistic, fully dedicated artists, ready to take part in a pioneering project.

We’ve used crowdfunding to make the money for renting empty shops in our city. We’ve set up temporary pop-up galleries, sold our art and taught workshops to the public; and we’ve done this all with absolutely no experience in fundraising, teaching or event/gallery management.

So without delay, let me introduce you to our manual.
You can arrive at each letter using the side menu, or simply by scrolling.
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A

a

Idea generation

Have you ever noticed a problem in your community, one that you deal with every day? We find solving these problems makes for a great project. For Kollektiv, we realised that many early career artists didn’t feel confident working as a professional, were struggling financially, and hadn’t connected with their community in a way that they could start sharing their capabilities. There was a problem and we decided to do something about it. Start with an idea, don’t be afraid and do what you can to solve the problem.

Now, after some hard work and a lot of experimentation, Kollektiv is an award winning art gallery. We respond to artist’s needs, help them to realise their initiatives and show them how to their utilise their city’s opportunities. We concentrate on developing entrepreneurial skills, idea generation, risk-taking, collaboration, communication and resourcefulness.

We endorse using unfamiliar empty spaces and reaching new audiences. We teach workshops to the public, host professional talks, put on events, interview artists, create learning programmes, and we use crowdfunding to support new artists and show them how to fund a project using their supportive, global and online networks. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Courses and mentors

When you’re embarking on an awesome mission to solve a problem, you’ll probably need some guidance. Take a visit to your local library and search online for books and courses which fit your needs. We came across “Pop-Up Business For Dummies” by Dan Thompson ISBN 9781118443491. Reading a book like this will help you determine if you really want to commit to such a project after all.

Short and affordable courses are super, you just have to find them. After university, Kollektiv’s director needed business advice so she took a month long course called The Fusebox Amp, an entrepreneurship think tank course in the UK. A course like this can bring you up to date with ideas, resources, give you access to mentors and motivate you to start your business or begin your new project.

Courses are great for meeting new like minded people, connecting with the community and learning for cheap. Courses aren’t essential, but they’re helpful. There are a lot of people out there who can help. Remember you never have to solve a problem on your own.

You can also speak to your local Economic Development or Creative and Environmental Industries officer at the council about receiving help. When it comes to your city or town, they know everything about everything. Ask the vital questions about meet ups, business rates, grants, licensing laws and getting inside empty retail spaces.

Find your perfect mentor. Kollektiv’s director was introduced to her mentor after she spoke with someone at her local council. Her mentor gave endless advice, he didn’t mind being asked all the questions, and she trusted him 200%. When you’re looking for a mentor, always remember, there are some that fit and some that don’t. If it’s not working, trust your gut, don’t worry and just move on with your search. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Recruiting a team

When you have enough research with books, courses and mentors… congratulations! You can begin recruiting your team. Let’s say your team will be made up of artists you’re hoping to exhibit and work with. If you know artists already, tell them the problem you’re trying to solve, and tell them why it’s going to be beneficial for them. Ask them to ask their friends if they want to join in and create an online group where everyone can access each other and talk together, Facebook groups, Google hangouts or programmes like Slack work well.

If you’re looking to do a call for submissions; create a poster, put the details of the project on there with how they can apply. Add your email address and a date for the deadline. Give the artists a list of things to send to you. Their name, date of birth, address and email. A paragraph about themselves or why they want to be involved. Ask them to send either a proposal of work or simply ask for a link to their online portfolio. Make the process simple so you get lots of artists submitting. Have a website or blog where people can find out more. Be transparent about the project and aims.

Artists look for opportunities in lots of different ways, some search through Twitter on the hashtag #artopps, short for ‘art opportunities’. Some go to cafes and apply when they see a good poster. Others look at professional websites with legit exhibitions such as UK websites A-N, Arts Jobs and Artquest, which you can also post your opportunities on as well if you become a member.

Once you’re ready to share the exhibition opportunities, think about what demographic of artists you’re targeting. Perhaps you’ll be giving the posters and information to colleges, schools, creative businesses, universities, art websites like A-N, Arts Jobs, Artquest, studios, youth clubs, cafes, bars, local press and other galleries.

When people begin to send portfolio’s to you, thank them and remind them of the reviewing date when they’ll hear back from you. During the application stage, shortlist the creatives who fit the bill. Send friendly emails to people you don’t think will suit the exhibition, and ask to have interviews with the artists who would. You may need to whittle down the applicants smaller, so remind everyone you meet that you still need to make a decision, and will let them know by a specific date.

Once you have your team, explain your mission. Find out what people are good at, find out how much time they can put towards the project. Work problems out together, encourage collaborative problem solving, listen to your team and motivate each other. Make sure your meetings are productive by setting an agenda with specific goals, so you didn’t waste 2 hours. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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How to crowdfund

Now you have your idea and your team, it’s time to raise some monies. Crowdfunding is an online global fundraising tool that allows families, friends and your supportive communities to help decide your project’s fate. In many countries, arts funding is being cut more and more each year. Crowdfunding is a new creative way to raise the funds you need.

Crowdfunding websites are visited by people who want to support innovative and inspirational ideas and products. When audiences visit your campaign, they expect to understand the idea and product immediately. Crowdfunding campaigns ask you to articulate your project in one swift mission statement the size of a tweet, AKA: 140 characters. Who are you, what are you doing, who will benefit, why is it unique? Make it simple for them to fall in love with your idea. And make sure what you write is not vague in anyway.

Once the mission statement is done, make it your Crowdfunding campaign heading; get it all over your project’s social media channels; make sure it’s at the top of your website and blog ‘about’ section; incorporate it into your email signature. This mission statement should be the daily mantra for you and your team, don’t be scared of letting everyone know it. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Telling your story

The story of how you landed at your crowdfunding campaign will be fundamental to your campaign’s success. Be proud of how, why, and even where you came up with the idea. Share it with the world. Eventually that story will make up the bulk of your crowdfunding video; it will be in the body of your campaign, and it will help shape the press releases you’ll send later.

Aim for two paragraphs, describing:

  1. When you first started thinking about the project and why.
  2. What you are making and what problems you’re trying to solve.
  3. Why you are concerned with the topic and how it will benefit others.
  4. Why you and your team are the right people to see the project succeed.

Answering those questions will help you define your project’s core values, essential to any great story. Express these core values throughout your campaign; crowdfunding video, story and press releases. Make sure these values sing through all avenues where your project exists online. And remember, stay true to your voice. If you’re a young artist who uses slang, or a mature philosopher working out a new photography product, don’t be afraid to use your unique voice when you explain your project. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Budget and target

You have to decide the amount of money your project needs and over what timescale. It’s important to be realistic, especially if you’re planning to use Kickstarter as your crowdfunding provider. Kickstarter is unique because, if you don’t raise the money in the set time you’ve given yourself, you won’t be allowed to keep any of the money you’ve raised – whereas with other providers, like Indiegogo, you can. Yes Kickstarter has added risk, but it also creates more urgency around your project; and ultimately, it becomes a badge of honour when you do reach or stretch beyond your funding goal.

So start by figuring out the budget for the essentials: rent, bills, business rates, materials, advertising, and postage costs for backer incentives. It’s probably unrealistic to add an app or a new van to your campaign budget; however it’s also important to ask for more funding than you initially need.

When people pledge money, the money doesn’t come out of their account until the day you reach your target, and occasionally backers won’t have the money in their accounts by that date at all. So be sure to add contingency that allows for this into your budget or make sure your campaign ends on pay day.

Most crowd funding providers take 5-7% of your total fund for things like tax and processing fees. Add this into your budget too. You can read more about processing fees on each crowdfunding website’s Frequently Asked Questions. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Incentives

Incentives are what you offer in return for people’s donations. Are you bringing out a product? Offer a selection or pre orders for people to buy. Are you raising money to open a gallery? Get together the artists involved and ask everyone to donate a piece of artwork. Could you offer places on a workshop? Perhaps offer a copy of your eBook? Maybe you want to give backers the first opportunity to see the grand reveal of your new space. You could also offer bundles or something bespoke.

Think beyond the ordinary: offer to paint someone’s portrait, host an outrageous party for your backers, or even organise a big dinner with the creators. Whatever your incentives are, make sure they make sense within your campaign. Spend time reviewing other Kickstarter campaigns and what successful campaigns offer.

It’s important to price the products slightly cheaper than you would on other sites. This ensures that people have an incentive to buy them through your crowdfunding campaign. Price your incentives from super-affordable to ambitiously expensive – so that different demographics of people can support you.

Organise an earlybird. Offer the first 50-100 things cheaper than the rest. It might mean you lose the potential to make some money, but Kickstarter will recognise your campaign is popular and put you on their front page, which creates massive broadcast for your campaign. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Campaign layout

The layout of your campaign may seem like a minor detail, but it’s important you navigate backers smoothly through your incentives and over to the pledge button.

After getting the mission statement crystal clear, write a paragraph or two about your story, keep sentences concise and to the point. Break up big blocks of text into bite sized chunks that are easy to absorb. Bullet point statements and benefits, and give bold headings to important paragraphs.

Take good photographs of your incentives – get a professional photographer if you’re offering products; or alternatively, if your budget is tight, smart phones have good quality cameras built in too. Keep the background clear and shine some soft lighting on the item (white cotton works well as a background and softens lighting when it’s draped over a lamp).

Have one or two photos of each incentive, anymore will make the campaign feel too crowded. It’s really important to keep the layout consistent through the entire campaign, people’s eyes will find it easier to follow your story. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Making a video

Making a video isn’t mandatory, but it’s highly recommended. Campaigns with a video are way more likely to succeed than the ones without. It’s not important to get a professional filmmaker on board; these days, anyone with a smartphone or half decent video camera can make an awesome video. You can even do it on your laptop’s built-in camera.

If you do want to bring a filmmaker on board, consider doing a skill swap to bring down the cost. When working with someone else, it’s important to storyboard your idea and iterate your vision very clearly. Write a script before you make anything together – ensuring you retain your campaign’s identity, but also be mindful that it might take two or three edits before the video is perfect. Leave enough time for the production!

If you’re confident in front of the camera, an interview or demonstration might be the best way to communicate your idea. If the thought of cameras pointing in your face makes you feel weak in the knees, think about adding a voiceover using your voice. At the very least, have your face in the video for 5 seconds, so that people can identify with you.

It’s all about the content. Remember your mission statement, core values and story? This is where they come into play. Show them what you’re all about. Keep your video under 2 minutes, by simply explaining those same points: what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, what you’re trying to solve and what you’ll do with the money. Keep it all clear, make it social – and get creative!

Once it’s done, show your friends, family and strangers to get some feedback; don’t be afraid of constructive criticism and embrace the your audience’s opinions, and just be aware it could take more than one go to get it right. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Launching a campaign

It’s time to get your pre-campaign started! It’s important to build a following before your campaign. If you already have a substantial following, it’s important to get that following excited.

A month before, interact with and build suspense for your followers, fans, friends and family with glimpses of your project. Get them to invest emotionally before investing financially. Generate a teaser campaign which shares two or three images a day. Caption with different mission statements, taglines about the project’s ethos and core values. And add a consistent hashtag so people can follow the buzz and see the archive. #projectnamekickstarter.

Have your website, Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram, Google+ page, SubReddit and a blog set up ready to promote your Kickstarter. Make sure you’ve added your mission statement and a clear Kickstarter link to the headings, about sections and email signature of everything you own online. Make sure there are no dead ends and every online platforms leads back to the campaign.

Remember some people don’t know what crowdfunding is and how to use it – so think about making a video or release a blog post to explain what crowdfunding is, why and how they can help. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Press and publicity

If advertising isn’t your forte, it might be worth bringing on a publicist. Of course, if you can’t afford one, you will need to write and send your own press releases. But don’t worry, doing so will only make you more confident to talk and write about your project – a bonus in the long run.

Start with the most important information: the title of the press release. It should be catchy and newsworthy. Then follow it with the necessaries and call to action. What do you want readers to do? Pledge money of course. Make sure the shortened link (using bitly.com) is at the top saying ‘pledge to our crowd funding site’.

The body of the press release is all about your project’s story and its unique selling points. Wrap it up with a quote from an artist, designer or main client to sum up the passion behind the project.

You don’t need to big up your project too much; let the journalist and audience be the judge, but give them the facts they need to know. Press releases are about making it easy for the journalist, so they can lift as much of your copy as possible. Show them how much passion you have, but be concise and don’t waffle – journalists are busy people, and many only spend a few minutes reading press releases.

Send a press release every week during the campaign, updating people on the progress. Depending on the size of your project, you might write to regional press, but think about including national newspapers, magazines, radio stations, universities, colleges, businesses and like minded individuals.

Could your old college add the information to their newsletter? Will a local business circulate the information around their offices? Get the newspapers and magazines to do a written interview and story about your project. Ask to be on the radio, give a presentation at the colleges and universities. Have your press release with logo and press shots on your website or blog for people to download straight away. Once you have sent the press release, later or the next day, contact these people to check they received your email.

Along with the press release you could have an opening crowdfunding party. Organise the event by giving out flyers on the street. At the party make some cash by putting on a raffle, or ask people to pay a cover charge if you’re putting on some entertainment. Put all the money into your crowdfunding campaign the next day and tell everyone about the success.

The aim is the get the 50% of your crowdfunding goal in the first 24 hours, and to do that, you have to cause a ruckus. Take action yourself, curate events – never rely solely on Kickstarter’s website traffic. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Halfway lull

Your crowdfunding campaign might be 2, 3 or 4 weeks long. No matter how long it is, if you haven’t reached your target by the halfway-point, there’s bound to be a lull as the initial excitement dies down, and the rest of the pledgers are waiting till you really need the money at the end, those meanies. Don’t be alarmed – it happens all the time.

To spruce up your campaign you could: add new incentives when you reach a particular mid-way goal, organise a mid-way fund raising party, do more interviews with blogs, appear on TV, get out on the street and talk to people with your team. Know any celebrities? Ask them to retweet your cause to their fanbase. Whatever it is, it’s about talking to people and getting them excited; keep on sending more press releases and do a public intervention. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Crowdfunding end

The end is nigh. If you didn’t reach your goal, it’s time to review each stage and figure out what went wrong. Never let it deter you from doing another crowdfunding campaign. There are tons of campaigns that aren’t successful the first time around, so you’re not alone. Learn from any mistakes and do it again with more planning, more awareness of your unique selling points, audience and organise more publicity.

If you have reached your target; congratulations! You can finally make your project happen! The money takes approximately two weeks to arrive into your account from Kickstarter. When the money arrives, it’s time to send out your incentives to your backers.

Make sure there are no mistakes, and everything is top quality and exactly what people have pledged for. People online can react harshly if they get a below-standard product. You don’t want to go down in history as someone with shoddy products. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Empty space

Start by making a list of all the addresses you see that are empty and you like the look of. If you have a mediator in your town or city who helps find empty space like the Uk’s www.wearepopup.com or www.somewhereto.com get in touch with them immediately. They are well established companies who will help you rent a space. You can also find out about who owns what through your local council. You can also speak to the neighbouring tenants who might know the landlord, and how to get in touch. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

O Tape Measure

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The right space

Sniff out a space that doesn’t look too broken and appears free of contaminants like asbestos. Think about what you’ll be using it for: art, education, sports, science, adults, children, parties? Look through the window and make sure it’s got the square footage you need.

The right space doesn’t always have to be in the centre of the city, that may be where where you’ll see the most footfall, but remember, as long as you publicise your space well enough, you don’t have to be on the major high street. Sometimes there’s magic in finding a once-secret space that you can bring new audiences to. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

M COUNCIL

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Landlords

Your aim is to speak directly to the landlord; unfortunately, sometimes that is easier said than done. If you don’t have a mediator who helps specially find pop-up spaces, like We Are Pop Up and Somewhere to, look through the window. Sometimes there’s a lingering phone number for the landlord or estate agent. If you can’t find one, take the address to the council to find out who owns the property.

In the mean time, speak to any nearby hairdressers, corner shops, or flower shop owners – they always seem to know everyone who owns everything, or at least someone who might. This part of the process is all about word of mouth, ask everyone you meet if they know a landlord with space. When a potential lead comes up, follow it up straight away and keep track of which space you’ve heard from. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

Q

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The hook

If you move into an empty retail space for 6 weeks and 1 day, it means that the landlord doesn’t have to pay business rates for 3 months after – this is a great hook to convince them to let you in. The landlord should have a lawyer they can organise the contract with, so you can use the space. This makes sure the landlord will be exempt from paying business rates afterwards. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Questions for a landlord

Take advantage of any meeting you have with the landlord or agent. Have a list of questions you want to ask about the space. Get the numbers and negotiation sorted in your mind before you call or meet with them. How much are you willing to spend on the rent? How long do you need the space? What are you using it for? Does the space come with insurance? Keep in mind that you’ll probably need to pay business rates, electricity and perhaps plumbing bills. Knowing the numbers before you go into your meeting will help you negotiate.

Make sure that before you sign any contracts, you see the space in person. Make sure the toilet, taps and electricity work; check out the locks and windows, and take photos of the space to show your team and to keep a record. Make sure the landlord knows what you’re doing with the walls – if you’re drilling screws or changing the space in any way, they need to know. If that is the case, make sure you know what the walls are made of so you can hire the right equipment.

If you and your landlord are both happy, you’ll be given the contract to sign. Take the contract to a trusted mentor, the council or knowledgeable family member to check it. Be very clear about what you’re signing. If it all looks fine, sign it, pay the rent in whatever way you agreed and get preparing for your launch date. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

S H O 2

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Health and safety

Preparing your new empty space will take a week or two, so make sure you add this preparation time into your arrangements with the landlord or agent. Before you begin construction, write a health and safety list. It’s not so difficult: if there’s dangerous looking wires sticking out of the wall, make a sign that says don’t touch, and cover them up.

If there’s a step you keep tripping over, get some black and yellow tape and mark the area, make a visible sign for others. Keep fire exits clear at all times and make sure electrical stuff isn’t overheating; make sure there’s a fire extinguisher in the space too, the landlord should provide one. It seems like common sense, but make sure to write down any problems for people to avoid and for the landlord to fix.

Insurance is very important. You’re in charge of people’s lives when you’re the host. Buy some public liability insurance. As a creative you can buy insurance from the UK’s A-N which reduces the amount you pay from an insurance company. If the space doesn’t come with insurance, you legally have to purchase it. It’s always worth it. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Prepping the space

Most empty shops will be crusty, broken and sad looking, because no one’s been in there for a year or two. But you’re a professional shop owner now, hire some equipment, bring the walls up to standard. If they’re not, filler any holes and sand down the residue. Remove wallpaper with a steamer and always clean the windows and floor. Paint the walls and get all the things you need to function: borrow a kettle, fridge and mugs. Remember the essentials: toilet tissue, soap, blue roll. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Curating and layout

When you have a large team and if everyone is selling one or a few things, it’s important to have a small group of people who have excellent spatial design awareness and want to practice curating. Two or three people come in handy at this point, don’t rely on one set of eyes, they will become tired.

If the group of curators have opposing ideas, take a vote and be sure to explain clearly why the space should look that way to one another. Work as a team and always listen to your peers ideas, that’s what collaboration is about.

Start by making sure the space is perfect and clean. Bring in all the art or products and work out how you will group them. Is there an underlying theme for the whole exhibition or shop? Are you trying to evoke an emotion in your audience or customer or simply show a selection of stuff? Whatever it is you’re trying to do, think about the concept and move the work around on the clean floor, always thinking about how the audience will digest the information you’re giving to them.

Keeping in mind some things have special hanging requirements, make sure the placement runs smoothly with those requirements. Ask the team and artists if they are happy with the way the exhibition will be hung, always take note of possible changes.

Photograph or draw the layout, then remove the artwork from the space so as not to accidentally destroy anything. Put on some boots, get the broom ready, open the windows and drill holes in the correct spaces for the nails, plugs and hooks.

If electric screwdrivers and drills aren’t your lingo, ask a friend will those skills to help and teach you in return for a drink and a top quality hug (or cash, if it’s in the budget). It’s pretty simple, you need to make a sturdy hole in the wall for a plug for sturdiness.

Then put in a nail or screw to hang each artwork. Two or three of you should be there because it usually takes 4 pairs of hands and 2 pairs of eyes to line up and get the spacing right. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Publicity for the space

You’re almost there. Finishing touches are so important to getting your space super delightful and easily recognisable. Do you have a logo, a name for the shop? Good, clear signage is your friend. Get it made into a vinyl for your shop front window.

Think about what people are most likely to see: will black or white vinyl work better? What’s going to stand out the most? What does the rest of your branding look like? Keep everything consistent so people can easily recognise your brand.

A-boards: You can make or buy these. Make sure they’re heavy weight so the wind doesn’t blow it into a road or take down an elderly woman. Make sure it says who you are and where you are, especially important if your shop is a bit hidden. Put one outside your shop, and one on the main road. You might need a safety chain in case someone tries to steal it.

Flyers and posters: Get a nice flyer made, you can do it yourself on Photoshop or get an aspiring graphic designer friend to help you out. Make sure it says the name of the space, what you are offering and the launch date. Include that it’s a pop-up, and the date that you close too. Letting people know you’re only around for a limited time will give them more reason to visit immediately and drive that all-important foot-traffic your way.

Online: Think about what your call to action will be. “Come to our exhibition” – then add the link to the Facebook or Eventbrite page. “Subscribe to our newsletter” – and link to the subscription page wherever you can. On the internet you should be clear with what you want from people. Be polite and make sure in the first 5 seconds, they understand your message. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Opening night

In preparation for your opening night, make a teaser video, it’s like a flyer but more fun to engage with and people are more likely to share it online. In the video make sure you mention when the opening night date is, where to go and what they’re in store for.

Of course make a Facebook event or Eventbrite page at least 2-4 weeks before and push it all over the internet: share it in relevant groups, to friends in messages, write about it on your blog, tweet it to everyone you want there.

You could have competitions to share the event by organising free product or art giveaways with each share. Like we mentioned before: create another press release and send it out there, ask already established contacts to help, and remember to call up each and every place you send a press release to: a polite follow-up can make sure your release has been received.

Think about making your opening night fun and memorable – try things like goodie bags with a free piece of art or product, a flyer and a business card would be good. Perhaps a drinks company or local distributor can sponsor the event?

Ask local DJs or bands to play, and borrow the PA equipment from whoever you can.  Hire a bouncer for the evening in case the party gets a bit full on – it may seem excessive, but it provides safety and a professional edge. It also means you don’t have to be at the door all night, making sure you don’t go over capacity.

Then finally, you hardworking human being, schmoose the night away. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Generating income

Being in your new space is a joyous experience. But there are day-to-day actions that will help shape this experience from ordinary to extraordinary. Firstly programming in a variety of events and workshops will help increase your footfall numbers, and spread the word about your project.

For example, Kollektiv asked all the artists involved to teach a workshop to the public. The format was quite simple, once the artist decided what he or she would teach, we would make an event page on Facebook explaining the workshop theme, if it was free or not, when to be there, why they should come, and how fun or serious it was bound to be.

We would also ask the artist to make a poster for the event. And voila, we sent it out via our newsletter, on our social media sites, to our friends. If we thought it would be useful for certain groups and demographics in the community, we would write a press release and invitation to send to the universities, youth clubs or who ever we thought would benefit. We also set up an events calendar on our website so you could see the full range.

There are things you can do to make sure you sell the art or products. Have prices readily available next to the artwork and in a catalogue, and make sure everything looks well presented in the gallery, so they best reflect the prices given to each piece.

For example, if a piece of work is expensive, give the piece pride of place. Make sure it is framed, positioned well, clean, and well lit. Don’t bombard your space with too much clutter – sometimes less is more. Have a table or display case for small items, and make sure it all remains neat and easily viewable.

It helps if someone from the team can act as a gallery agent for the day. You can say to the artist or team member: For this one day you will be the agent, and you will receive a percentage of the commission on anything you sell during this day.

The team member should be outgoing and comfortable with approaching as many customers and clients as possible. They should be cool, calm, and collected when they talk about the work, and be clear on their the intention of selling the pieces.

Doing this is a great game for everyone to get involved in. You can learn from each others selling techniques and could bring some healthy competition into your team. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Community

When you have a space open to the public, you’ll meet a lot of community members who will be interested in finding out your story. Most people don’t realise that people can rent a retail space for a short time, so make it clear you’re only there for a couple of weeks.

A lot of people in the community without their own studio or retail space may ask to put on an event in your space as well. It’s up to you how you approach these situations, but my advice is – if you believe their event fits with your project’s ethos, you should get them involved.

Not only does this community engagement help your project grow and disperse, you’re also creating new contacts and future collaborators. Nourish those new connections and encourage community collaboration – the bonds you can make will be well worth your time.

Remember if someone else is using the space one evening or lunch time, ask them in advance what they need, explain what you can offer so there’s no complications, and have all that admin written in an email so you can easily refer back to it. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

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Evaluating your project

Create an environment filled with friendly and curious vibes. Talk and engage with your customers and attendees in order to learn from their experience. Are there certain questions you can ask which will help towards your next space and project? Can you record how many people come to the space with a tally? Perhaps ask people to fill out a small questionnaire, or ask them the questions and write down their answers, so the experience is more personable and unique.

Here are some questions you could ask:

  •  Has seeing this exhibition made you want to see similar things in the future?
  • What caught your eye about this space?
  • Where did you hear about us?
  • Would you like to be added to our newsletter?
  • What did you enjoy about the experience?
  • What did you least enjoy about the experience?

Top Tip: People find feedback forms super dull. Offer people a complimentary treat, like some chocolate or a custom badge with artists designs, in return for their feedback.

The information you gather from feedback can be vital to moving your project forward. As the essential startup stage, trial and error will broaden your horizon and help you learn fast. Don’t be afraid of a little criticism – we can’t know everything first time round and those giving feedback are simply there to help.

Not only are you the producer, event organiser, founder and whatever else – you’re probably also the social media publicist and the photographer for your project. Documenting what you do is so important – not just the party, but the whole process from start to finish. There is no better way to record your experience by cementing it in history by taking memorable photographs and films.

So embrace your camera or iPhone’s video capabilities, and have a go at recording the wonderful parts your space has to offer. If you’re short on skills, bring in your photographer friend and let them work their magic. Talk in advice about what you need and where it will be used. Share your thoughts #KollektivSchool

End

Oh my gosh. You’ve reached the end of the manual. We hope all these words will help you start your new project or venture. There are so many problems in this incredible world. None are too small to improve. If something worries you, bugs you or excites you, explore it and address the issue creatively.

Never feel let down when something in your plan doesn’t work out the way you expected. Learn the hard way and ferociously practice. Challenge yourself when you’re learning. Feel confident and proud of yourself and your team with all your achievements. And don’t forget, document everything so you can tell your story too.

Anyone who achieved something on this planet, had to start with a simple idea. Be the person who takes the risk to make your idea become a reality. Be inspired and inspire others. The journey your project takes you on will be one of the most rewarding experiences.

Share your thoughts #Kollektivschool

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