On the last day of CHA last week, 5 minutes before opening, there was a LINE of people waiting to get into the show. Excitement and lines like these are usually reserved for the first day only! But on this particular day, at 9am, Tim Holtz was giving out a limited number of SIGNED stamp sets from his newest collection.
As the doors opened, it was utter chaos as store owners, designers and even other manufacturers SPRINTED to get in line!
Regardless of your personal style, you must admit, Tim Holtz is a marketing genius! He has a charisma and a magic touch that most of us can only dream of. While I cannot begin to tell you Tim’s secrets of success, I can take a step back, analyze, and take away a few tips!
1. Find Your Style … and Remain True To it!
Tim has a signature style. We all recognize it right away when we see one of his new products. And while his style has evolved over time, in examining his signature style from 2003 and his style from 2012, the overall “feel” is still the same.
Screen Shot from Tim’s Website: Nov 2003
Tim hadn’t yet adopted his official “t!m” signature, but the site already had the look and feel that we still identify as his. And check out this Distressed Tag Journal he created for the Carol Duval HGTV show in late 2003 …
Here’s a look at Tim’s home page today.
Yes, updated, fresher and better technology, but still uniquely Tim … And of course, Tim still loves tags & all things distress!
Take Away: Find YOUR style. Read, take online classes, attend workshops and experiment until you know what styles best showcase you. Design teams and publications want to see that glimmer of YOU in your projects, not a replica of someone else. (See also, March 2012 DTC article “Find Your Style” by Wendy Morris.)
2. But Don’t Be Afraid to Evolve
Yes, Tim has a very recognizable signature style, but he’s also not afraid to evolve. Known for bringing the “grunge” and “distress” colors & stylings to the paper crafting industry, Tim also updates with the times. His latest series of Summer Seasonal Distress Inks in the bright colors showed that!
Take Away: Don’t get so trapped in “your” style that you don’t evolve. Even after finding your style, you should always continue to learn, absorb, grow, and evolve …
3. No Drama
We’ve discussed this one before (here). While Tim is quite approachable in person and loves sharing a bit about his travel adventures on his blog, Tim doesn’t share too much about his personal life. I’ve never once seen him ‘rant’ on his blog, via his facebook, or on twitter. He doesn’t air grievances or overshare. In fact, he doesn’t even post passive / aggressive Facebook status updates saying things like, “Some people just don’t get it” or “At least I know who my true friends are.” Etc.
Take Away: Think twice before posting negative Facebook posts. Even veiled, mysterious ones. Stay away from those who talk “smack” about others. Don’t air your dirty laundry, family dramas or overly personal medical ailments on your blog. And overall, do your best to stay POSITIVE at all times.
4. Work HARD!
We laughed that CHA Summer 2012 was the Tim Holtz show. HE was everywhere! Show hours are grueling. He was on his feet demo-ing, teaching, making & taking, filming, photo taking, smiling, talking, hand shaking, hugging and interacting for 8+ hours on the show floor each day —- and likely before & after as well. In addition to the work at the show, can you imagine the prep he did beforehand? Let’s face it. The man works hard!
Take Away: You have to work it. There are more designers & aspiring designers in this industry than there are opportunities recognized design team & publication work. Yes, Tim and his peers in the industry are extremely talented, but they also work harder than you can ever imagine. I haven’t had the opportunity to work directly with Tim, but I have worked with several of the other “big” names in the industry and I can tell you one commonality: They all work HARD. They love it! But it’s still work. EASY success in this industry doesn’t exist!
5. Help Others!
aka: A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
As mentioned above, Tim’s brand is everywhere. But why not? Tim has found several different brands that he can help and who can help him. The different brands don’t compete with each other, so in fact, they are ALL helped by him and each other! When Tim promote his Sizzix dies & embossing folders, his Idea-ology products benefit. When Tim promotes Ranger Distress Markers, his Stamper’s Anonymous Stamps benefit. And so on …
Take Away: If you’ve had some successes with one design team, think of others in the industry who might benefit from the exposure to that manufacturer or others on your team. Approach those with a specific cross promo idea. Reach out to those that YOU can help …. and in turn, you will meet others who eventually, help you…
Join Our Member Forums
You each have valuable insights, connections and experiences to share with each other. Members — take advantage of our member forums to chat & connect! In addition, each month we are featuring a Guest Adviser who has incredible design team, publication, or industry experience to draw upon as he/she answer questions, advises, provides gentle critiques and encouragement.
This month, the fabulous designer & entrepreneur Janna Werner (Prima, Pink Paislee, Crate Paper & more) is our official Guest Adviser. If you’re a member and you haven’t already, I hope you’ll join us over on the “Ask Janna” forum to see some of the incredible advice & honest feedback Janna has already provided. It’s good stuff!!
Stay tuned. I’m working on our future Guest Advisers line-up. NO — before you ask — I doubt very much that Tim Holtz will ever be one of our Guest Advisers …. But never say never!