πŸ“° A story, of branding, niche, and success. How mid-western painter Megh Knappenberger crossed the 1 Million Mark in art sales.

7 years ago Megh went all in on her art career.

Her journey since has seen her surpass the 1mm mark in sales, discover a niche, and cement herself as a brand.

Her story will not only inspire you but leave you with tactical steps you can take in your art business today.

Recently, with Jonah's interview we launched a new series.

The idea is to grab some of our most successful customers, interview them for an hour and then open the session up to Q&A so you can ask your questions.

What can we learn from what makes these remarkable artists tick?

What can we learn from how they approach their business?

Turns out β€” whether via Jonah or Megh β€” it's a lot.

πŸ‘‹Meet Megh

She grew up in St. Louis, went to school at The University of Kansas, and 7 years ago she decided to burn her boat; she was going to make it as an artist no matter what.

Megh is a married mom raising two kids.

Earlier on the podcast we told her story about how she got started and what her early years looked like.

Here is the outline of what you can expect in this post πŸ‘‡

  • A 1hr Zoom interview of artist Megh Knappenberger
  • A sample of some of her work over the years and how it lead to her "Mid-Western" branding
  • The Ted Lasso story; how she pulled it off and how she sold so many mugs she broke the internet.
  • The Question and Answer session from the video

Below we will start with her interview πŸ‘‡

πŸ“Ή The Zoom Interview with Megh Knappenberger

Megh's story is rather remarkable. How she got to this point in her career has been completely strategic from the get go and that comes through in this interview. Here are some of the topics covered in the interview.

  • Megh on work-life balance for an artist
  • What are some of Meghs "inputs" for staying creative
  • How to do the math to answer the question; when should I go full time as an artist?
  • Meghs superpower; how she reverse engineers demand.  Always start with a motivated audience.
  • How she approaches her social media posting and strategy (this was SO GOOD)
  • How she creates work β€” strategically β€” that can be sold as limited and open editions
  • How she sold so many Ted Lasso mug's her bank shut her down

πŸ“œHow Megh "Got Branded" a Mid-Western Artist

Brand and Niche are hot button topics with artists and photographers; always have been and likely always will be.

Do you even need one?  How do you establish one?  What is mine? How long will it take for people to know me as the __________ artist?

Sometimes β€” as I would argue is the case with Megh β€” you don't get to decide.  Your audience does it for you.  9 times  out of 10 its way more powerful that way and likely to take.

When it does, its best you roll with it.

Megh is such an interesting study here. A quick version told via her art.

She started with the KU JayHawks (she got an official license from the school).  It's her school, her team, and her love.  So it made sense to paint them.

After the JayHawks there was more KU related work. Below is the famous stadium they play their basketball games in. Megh is starting to be known as the KU gal.

Throughout she has created other pieces that represent her roots, vision, and creative passions.

Then both of your teams β€” The Kansas City Chiefs and KU β€” win the Superbowl and NCAA Championship (sometimes timing just works for you) πŸ‘‡

With Megh's brand firmly established at this point she can, in reality, paint whatever she wants and she does.  

Whether it's a donut, abstract vibes, Santa Clause or a celebrity...  It's all just wrapped into the Mid Western brand and the art that comes from Megh; who she is what makes her tick.

An artists brand, no different then roots on a tree, once established (the hard part) will start to produce leaves/growth in the business in unexpected ways.

Which is how her Ted Lasso story came about πŸ‘‡

β˜•The Mug that Broke the Internet

Interesting in the Ted Lasso story is the fictional character β€” played by SNL alum Jason Sudekis β€” is from Wichita, Kansas in the show.

When the gig came to Megh, for charity, she knew she had to take it.

What was interesting in all of it though was what happened after she did.

Yes she painted him, got to meet him , and he signed the piece that then went to charity.

Megh was left with the ability to sell prints and merch.

All of this sounds like a dream scenario so far; the mid-western gal gets to paint the mid-western character from the hit show.

Yet when Megh went to start selling the limited editions, which by all means most would of thought would of been a home run... it was crickets.

Luckily for Megh she has a proper lineup sorted β€” Don't worry I have an article about pricing that talks about this in detail for you β€” so the prints where no the only thing she had to sell.

It turned out while the prints didn't sell the mugs went crazy.

Gotta hear this from Megh in her own words πŸ‘‡

That simple additional item in her lineup above allowed Megh to acquire thousands of new customers for her business. 

Still think you don't need to have merch in your lineup?

Ok. 

Let's get to the questions and answer section πŸ‘‡

❓ Live Question and Answer Session with Megh

Megh dropped a ton of wisdom in the question session.  Below are some of the questions she replied to directly.

  • Her thoughts on coaches and mentors
  • Expectations when you are just getting started
  • How she gets permission for celerity portraits sand work (hint: she doesn't)
  • Megh talks about PR and how to leverage it in your business
  • How to think about commissions

Plus a whole bunch of other insights and responses.  Megh's experience 7 years into this and the lessons learned the hard way from selling over 1mm of her art really shine through.

πŸšΆβ€β™‚οΈ Next Steps

If you would like to learn more about Art Storefronts I would love to have you join me (Patrick) on one of my live webinars that I run 3x weekly. More info on those here.

Or if you want to have a chat about what your business could like at Art Storefronts we would love to show you. Hit the button below and fill out the form and we will setup a chat.

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