Building Business on Social Media
An artist whose works tend to feature brightly colored still lifes rendered in pastel, Theresa Drapkin was never a big fan of social media. But when she started her business a few years ago, she found that her greatest moments of growth resulted from social media interactions.
It started five years ago, when California-based home goods manufacturer Serena & Lily reached out to use her artwork to decorate—and sell in—its shops.
“The shop in Westport, Connecticut, is in an old Victorian home that they transformed into a showroom,” Theresa says. “When you walk in, you feel like you’re in an actual house, and my art is on the gallery wall going up the stairs.”*
Not long afterward, she heard from famed fashion and lifestyle brand Kate Spade, which went on to feature her artwork on a pillow for its home line.
How did these major brands find her? Through a photographer friend—who had posted one of her paintings on social media.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, my friend Jamie Beck—a photographer who lives in Provence—made a hashtag, #PandemicArt, and every day of the pandemic she posted a photograph she took that day and encouraged other artists to do this as well,” Theresa explains. “At that time, I had no child care and I was working from home, but I did it—not every day, but whenever I could—and it helped me to see how I could do something I loved during a challenging time.”
On her own page, Jamie showcased the posts of her fellow artists, including Theresa, in turn widening each artist’s reach.
Theresa now sells her prints through Artfully Walls, an online shop that highlights carefully curated, high-quality prints at affordable prices. She recently discovered in a House Beautiful magazine spread that one of her favorite interior designers had used a print he’d bought there in a kitchen he designed.
Social media also affects the creation of Theresa’s paintings.
“I follow many interior designers and florists and outdoorsy people, and what I do with those images is that I’ll take an image of a bouquet and it might make its way into my paintings,” she explains. “And if an interior designer posts a beautiful fabric, it might become the wallpaper in one of my paintings.”
Today, this Girl Scout alum—who remembers first exploring her creative side at Girl Scout camp—can credit her most exciting professional opportunities to social media exposure. “Everything has been word of mouth through social media,” she says.
“Never before have connections been this easy for artists,” says Theresa. “I’ve even been contacted by someone who wanted to turn my paintings into wallpaper! I would love to do that, but I wouldn’t have known how to do it on my own.”