Episode 54: Getting Personal - Francesca Berrini’s Customer Insights

How deeply do you know your customers? Like, really know them? How many conversations have you actually had with them that aren’t purely transactional? How well do you understand their reactions to your products or the feelings they experience when they buy your work?

Insights like this into your customers are invaluable to the way that you market your products. The deeper you understand your customer—and your ideal customer—the better you can develop or modify products just for them, the more you can understand their buying habits, and the faster you can respond to shifts in your segment of the market.

But understanding your customers so deeply is HARD to do! Especially when most of your sales are coming from your website or an online shop. And people shopping in person aren’t really in the habit about opening up about their personal lives with a shop owner or a maker at a craft show or weekend market.

Francesca Berrini has been hand-collaging vintage imagery in irreverent and absurd ways since 2002, with a line of greeting cards and other printed objects featuring her artwork under the fitting moniker of Unusual Cards.

Francesca’s business has predominantly come from craft shows, weekend art markets, and other person-to-person sales that allow her to connect deeply with her customers in ways that might surprise you.

Along the way, we talk about the brutal yet insightful relationship she has with people who visit her booth, the way she’s learned to decide which craft shows are worth selling at, and some of the changes she’s made to her business in the 16 years she’s been doing it. We also examine some of the concerted LACK of focus on creating a snazzy website, how she’s dealt with the meme-ification and open sharing of her work without attribution, and her general attitude toward speaking her mind and running her business.

Click below to listen!

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Episode Guest

Born in the Arctic tundra in 1952, artist Francesca Berrini was raised by polar bears until the age of seven. Her interest in art began to develop immediately after being captured by an an oil exploration team. Unable to speak or read, she proved adept at creating humorous sculptures out of seal car casses and beer cans.

She was soon adopted by the Canadian Royal Family, who encouraged her to pursue her interests at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, where neither speaking nor reading was necessary.

Since that time, Francesca has been the focus of 50 million billion solo exhibitions throughout the world. Although she has yet to learn to speak any language fluently, she is able to communicate with her dog.

You can learn more about Francesca and her work by visiting her website and following her on Instagram.


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