The Evolution of Scottish Tourism

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Marketing, Museums, Publicity

The National Museum of Scotland boasts exhibits from all over the world including the only place you can see an Ancient Mummy outside of Egypt, limestone sculptures from Ancient Assyria and a dodo from Mauritius.  But what was one of the major complaints I received from tourists back when I worked as an Edinburgh Tour Guide?  It isn’t Scottish enough!

 

Crazy, right?!

 

So, what does the National Museum of Scotland do to combat this?  Well every couple of years, over the summer, which is peak season for tourism, they put on an exhibition that is all about Scotland.

 

And this year they have really hit the nail on the head with their latest paid entry exhibition: ‘Wild and Majestic’ which is about the history of the Scottish tourism industry.

 

It explores how the Romantic Movement during the 18th and 19th century, including poets like Wordsworth or Byron and painters like Knox, captured the imaginations of the world and so the idealised depiction of Scotland was born.

 

Through both artistic perception and real artefacts, the National Museum of Scotland differentiates between what the real Scotland is and the glamorised vision spread worldwide throughout history.  In particular, it explores the monarchy of the UK focusing on both George IV’s royal visit and Queen Victoria’s fascination with the Highlands leading to her eventual purchase of Balmoral castle.

 

The development of Balmoral gives an interesting insight into the overall development of Scotland to keep up with the surge of tourism.  The rural area, which had been untouched for centuries, was now being – somewhat begrudgingly- taken over by the upper classes.  This led to the development of the travel networks and buildings all over the Highlands.  It tells us that in order to preserve the history that attracts visitors, we must also be prepared to evolve.

 

Another brilliant move the National Museum of Scotland has made is to pair up with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig College on Skye, which is part of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).  Together they wrote copy and content for the displays which were then translated into Gaelic as well as discussing the impact that the language and culture have had on Scotland’s evolution.  This aspect will not only encourage those from the North to experience the Museum but should also appeal to specialist societies and charities looking to preserve this ancient language.

 

In short, the travellers who come to Edinburgh can see their perfect and stereotyped vision of Scotland: everything from Tartan to Bagpipes, whereas the locals can see how Scotland was (and still is) essentially rebranded for the sake of the tourism industry.  An insightful way to make the exhibition accessible to all.

 

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Find the Perfect Idea to Start your Arts Business

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Business Skills, Creative Industries, Start Ups

Why Start an Arts Business?

 

It’s terrifying putting yourself out there and letting out your artistic endeavours in the world.

 

I hear excuses almost daily about why brilliant artists and entrepreneurs shouldn’t start businesses in the Creative Industries.  Generally, these people are amongst the most hard-working, inventive and organised individuals but they are scared of the risks often entailed with starting a new enterprise.

 

But, there are numerous reasons to set up a new arts business:

 

  • Creating (or manufacturing) new work (products or services) which can be seen and directly sold, whether that is a new piece of art for someone’s mantelpiece or a performance that you want to be seen by the right audiences.  This type of business can be taken directly to the customer.

 

  • The want to distribute others work – you could be a gallery owner, a receiving house, a fringe venue, a music academy, a poetry publisher, a producer, the list goes on.  You can take this work either straight to the audience or to other businesses so there are two avenues you can go down.

 

  • Running events or finding a product you think someone else will benefit from. Think your Theatre in Education (TIE), art workshops and school holiday activities.  Not for profit organisations or charities come with plenty of perks to like claiming Gift Aid on donations and the ability to claim back VAT.

 

  • Some people are simply on the lookout for business opportunities where an investment, either monetary help (funding or equipment) or through giving time and advice to help others start a business, or in many cases in the Arts run themselves as a business, is traded for a return on their outlays later.  This is the agents and producers of the industry or opportunities like residencies provided by galleries.

 

Most Arts Organisations start out in one of these categories and then quickly diversify in order to turn over profit to drive the main organisation aim. Once you have thought of your initial idea then you can branch out:

 

As an example think of a specialist antique shop that collect their stock and run their business in different ways:

  • Some stock they buy in from markets and sell on
  • Some shelves or sections they rent to clients and sell the stock on their behalf
  • Some products they display for free and split the profits with the owner
  • Some articles are faux vintage bought in new to sell on at a more substantial margin
  • Some items are handmade from recycled antiques
  • Some run a café alongside their shop
  • Some host specialist auctions at weekends
  • Some run courses to teach hobbyists more about antiques

You get the idea.  There are always multiple strings on their bow to help sustain their business and, more importantly, their passion.  So, think about your passion and how it can be funded.

 

Have you come up with your great idea but don’t know where to start?  Or maybe you’ve diversified your portfolio to fund your passion.  Tell us in the comments below!

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APP OF THE MONTH: Etsy

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Business Skills, E-Commerse
Name Etsy
Product Description A specialised selling (e-commerce) platform/online shop tailored to vintage and handmade products and craft supplies.
Availability Through Browser at https://www.etsy.com/ and as an app especially designed for sellers from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store
Key Features Unique items sold by small, independent businesses and individuals worldwide through a secure payment system.

The app consists of:

·         A Dashboard in which you can easily see your Shop Overview and any News and Activity from your shop.

·         A Stats (or analytics) section to see your views and visits along with information of where your traffic is coming from and a list displaying the order of your best performing products.

·         An Orders tab where you can see both open and completed orders

·         Conversations (or messages) where you can talk to other members and customers – a great feature of this is that Etsy will save ‘Snippets’ or your personal commonly used phrases to add to your conversations.

·         A place to view listings, your shop, reviews and finances.

·         The ability to shout out about your shop items across all your Social Media Platforms.

·         Etsy Ads in which you can budget what to spend each day in order to rank higher in both Google and Etsy.

·         Links to educational videos and articles about how to get the best out of your Etsy store.

Prices and Plans The app itself is free.  To list an item on Etsy is $0.20 (which with the current exchange rate is around £0.17).  Your listings will be active on Etsy for 4 months or until that item is sold.  When sold Etsy will take a 5% commission and charge a processing payment of 4% plus £0.20 per transaction.  So, if you sell an item for £10.00 Etsy would receive around £1.27.

They now offer Etsy Plus for £8.30 a month which includes 15 free listings, £4.20 to spend on Etsy Ads, a custom web address, email stock alerts for customers and new personalisation options for your store.

Later in the year they will be launching ‘Etsy Premium’ although pricing plans a full spec are yet to be announced.

Biggest Pro Unlike Amazon and eBay on which you can buy anything and everything Etsy is specifically targeted towards sellers of vintage and handcrafted things meaning this is where designers and makers can find their target audience immediately.
Biggest Con Of course, this can also be a con as there is a lot of competition on Etsy.  There is also no way to ‘patent’ your ideas, so to speak, which means similar designs to yours may appear and there is little you can do about it.

 

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