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  • Writer's pictureJulie Gile

Brand Photography: Smith Maker Artisan Co.

Despite opening its doors during the pandemic, business is booming for SmithMaker Artisan Co. I’m so proud to shine a light on this trailblazing brand as this month’s client feature.

SmithMaker curates and sells high-quality, unique merchandise from artisans around Wisconsin (70%) and the country (30%). The owners believe in an entrepreneurial spirit and the power of community, so she has created a business model that proudly supports both.

Despite the challenges that the virus brought to this brick-and-mortar store in De Pere, plus some health issues in the family, the SmithMaker team recently opened a second location in Sturgeon Bay. A third location is also in the works for later this year.

I met the founder and owner, Ruth Fameree, when she realized she needed help with marketing. She was overwhelmed with keeping up with social media. During our brand consultation, she described all the wonderful products in the store and how unique their selection is. I asked, “What do your customers say about you the most?” and her answer was simple: “They say we’re a great place to buy gifts.”

That’s the ticket! Everything just clicked after that. We flipped the entire brand strategy on its head and focused our brand photography on gifts.

We work together every month and plan the kinds of gifts customers want to buy the next month. For example, college graduations and Mother's Day happen in May, so we put together gift packages for college graduates and shot these one full month in advance. Next, we started putting together ideas for summer birthdays, and right now we’re finalizing back-to-school and all the fall promotions.

Ruth now orders her products in advance for our shoots, we have her social media calendar all set in advance, and her promotional ads out in a timely fashion. She is able to give her audience gift ideas just at the right time, and build her reputation as the most unique store for local ideas. Now, her marketing practically runs on autopilot and she gained her time back.

This is been such an amazing partnership. I’ve been so excited to see the business grow after streamlining the marketing, so Ruth can focus on building the business and developing more amazing relationships with customers and artisans.

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