Entrepreneurship for Creatives | E-commerce & Internationalisation

Malta might be an island but that does not stop creatives from using their resources, expanding their horizons and to adopt to internationalisation. From their first-hand experiences, during this session, we have a chat with Simshar’s Co-writer and Director, Rebecca Cremona, and Local Artist and Surface Pattern Designer, Stephanie Borg.

If you are start-up creative or perhaps, a student transitioning to a full-time creative, as she shares her journey, Rebecca has some excellent first-hand tips especially for you.

Get to know your industry. Familiarise yourself by taking opportunities and working in the industry itself. This will surely help you to gain insights while providing an opportunity to build your portfolio and create your networks and contacts. See what the current industry has to offer and make use of it, in order to gain experience, to get a holistic internal view of how things get done and thus, to truly understand what the field entails. For sure, this opportunity provides you a chance to balance your theoretical knowledge with your hands-on experience.

Use what you gain as part of your build-up process while additionally keeping focus on what you want to manifest including on any possible potential opportunities that might be coming your way.

For success, “it’s all about the content and the packaging of the content”, says Rebecca. Think about Angles. How can you make things make sense in a broader view? Do your research. Try using your networks and establish links. Whether, it’s linking your themes and sub-genre, or linking your past projects and successes, or your contacts with famous persons, it is all about establishing patterns and connections.

Yet in a different creative industry, Stephanie also has her process and tips to share. At a creative’s inception, every opening seems as an opportunity to showcase your creations. By time, as you gain more experience, you start choosing more carefully every opportunity provided in order to realise what best fits and eventually build up your image and reputation. In fact, in comparison to Rebecca’s industry, Stephanie’s industry is more tangible and as she rightly says, “it’s never a one size fits all kind of approach”. Therefore, what Stephanie suggests is finding out what works best for your case and one useful tip for this process is: selectivity.

As Stephanie explains, selectivity was an important aspect for her; from selecting her target audience to her point of access and reference to them as well as her choice of platforms. She describes how she targets her market audience and then finds out at which geographical locations are most likely to find or attract them.  She also outlines the way she targets her audience through different platforms including through their physical experience in her studio, through her website – which is also used as her work portfolio – and her e-commerce platform. She interesting explains how the international audience who visit Malta are very fond of our Maltese cultures and so, highlights the way the audience enjoys the physical experience when visiting her studio. At other times, although the online experience is quite different, her work portfolio provides a different yet similar view. She continues that following both kinds of experiences, it is her international services i.e. the ability to ship her products worldwide, which links everything together.

Reaching the international audience and networking with the right people is not about where you base yourself but rather how you use your inspiration and surroundings. It’s about using your inspiration and channelling your creation to a wider audience through the ideal platforms and sources. On the other hand, one should expand their views beyond his own environment. Getting out of your comfort zone is part of the process. Experience a different perspective that broadens your horizons and enrich your creative and cultures views. Get a taste of what’s out there.  As our speaks state, your understanding of your surroundings, your perspective on things and the connections you make are more important that your geographical location.

Rebecca and Stephanie’s experiences could not be made possible without the right set of skills. From creating, to becoming a promoter and a financial expert, a creative is nothing but a Jack of all trades; which is why multitasking and time management become your mission. Moreover, it is all embedded in obtaining the right mindset. There is no right or wrong way of approaching your sector. However, an honest self-assessment is essential to balance and focus on identifying your strengths, weaknesses and potential improvements.

Another important concept in any creative sector is adaptability. A class example of how creatives had to adopt to the unexpected and to any unforeseen situation is the COVID-19 pandemic. While remaining focused on their targets and goals, creatives had to reinvent themselves. They had to face conflicting views between having clear aims, plans and strategies and then, risking their efforts and working with uncertainty.

To sum up, our conversation with both exceptional speakers Rebecca Caruana and Stephanie Borg has taught us how to take opportunities, learn from them, expand your strengths and knowledge and eventually manifest your targets into reality. There is no one size fits all approach but rather a process of growth, improvement and adoptability.