Over the past 15 months, we’ve interviewed dozens of entrepreneurs from throughout the arts economy. In the 60+ podcast episodes we’ve released, themes are beginning to appear—and so far, those themes are occurring across all arts disciplines and around the world. The theme we’ll address in this post is the encouragement to take that first step on your journey as an arts entrepreneur. Or to paraphrase the many responses we’ve received, “Just start!”
What holds people back from starting? Here are some reasons I’ve been told in conversations with students and entrepreneurs, and my counterpoint:
According to Merriam-Webster.com (link below), a snob is “One who blatantly imitates, fawningly admires, or vulgarly seeks association with those regarded as social superiors.” While snobs are rarely like the exaggerated characters portrayed in films, they do share common traits in varying degrees that make them easily recognizable: it could be their desire to own exclusive or expensive items, or the need to demonstrate their refined tastes, or to share esoteric facts they know about a particular subject, and so on.
Because there are snobs, marketers have long known that snob appeal works for a customer segment that values some combination of scarcity, uniqueness, or a high price relative to similar items in the market. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many arts entrepreneurs and can personally attest that snob appeal is effective in carving out market share and generating additional revenue. It doesn’t matter if a portion of a venture’s offerings, or the entire catalogue, is positioned for exclusivity as long as the story they are telling about their offering is compelling. It can be contagious too, because many consumers have a fear of missing out, and that fear is amplified when scarcity is in the mix.