Many arts students will be looking to companies for sponsorship in the coming months, the run up to degree shows is often the first time many students will face the ordeal of finding someone to pay for private view drinks, printing costs etc.

The rules of combat are fairly simple:

  1. Identify a brand that fits your own image / work
  2. Make the sponsorship relevant to the contributor
  3. Tell them exactly what you want and what they will get in return

Pleb Fiona Gall came in to our studio to visit us. When she told us that she was putting on an exhibition our first thought was ‘surely you’re getting an absinthe company to sponsor you?’ When Fiona confessed that she hadn’t even thought of it we were amazed, bearing in mind she called herself ‘Emerald Faerie’ – a blatant reference to Absinthe and she was holding the exhibition in the home of Absinthe in Switzerland, it seemed like a good bet.

She took us up on the idea and here’s what happened:

Her press release read:

‘A rare opportunity for you to meet Fiona Gall the artist behind Emerald faerie and purchase a unique piece of hand crafted art. She will be selling a range of pieces from her Faerie Antiques collection including faerie goblets, candelabras and butterfly cage candleholders.

How did you get the sponsorship – what did you say?

Basically I checked out their website, got the contact details, wrote an email and gave them a call. (They are small company I guess a bit like a family business) It was a bit awkward when I called the guy as he spoke French and I’m afraid that I do not. So he requested that I send him an email which I had already prepared. The next day he sent me a reply saying yes he would support my exhibition with bottles, fountains and some posters. That was it as easy as that! (Mind you he is based 20 mins away)

My email was as follows:

‘Dear Claude-Alain,

My name is Fiona Gall and I am a designer-maker, I create sculptural wire and glass lighting. I am based in London and my sister, however, lives and works in Neuchatel.

My work is all about ‘The Green Faerie’ and the concept of The Emerald Faerie was actually conceived after discovering absinthe 8 years ago at the time of the solar eclipse. Please take a look at the pdf file attached for the story of the emerald faerie; also refer to my website http://www.emeraldfaerie.com.

I will be exhibiting my work for the first time in Neuchatel at the end of March (31st) for one day only and though as it is the birth place of Absinthe it would be a wonderful idea/opportunity to make a connection between the ‘Artemisia distillery’ and my craft. And I also see from your site that you are celebrating ‘La Clandestine’s’ second birthday.

I am producing a flyer/invitation for the ‘opening’ on Saturday 31st, which will be mailed out a few weeks before hand, I am also planning to contact the local press to announce this event. I will be exhibiting/selling a mix of work from my Faerie Antiques and Twilight Garden collections at La Jouvence.

I believe that it will be a unique and interesting opportunity to promote The Artemisia craftsmanship in conjunction with emerald faeries creations!

Therefore I am hoping that you would be interested in supporting this venture by supplying a bottle or two for the exhibition, in exchange for free publicity and your logo on the flyer. Or indeed if you have any other suggestions, maybe we could display a few bottles along with the apparatus and business cards?

I look forward to your swift response as I have a very tight dead line for the printers.’

How did you negotiate the sponsorship?

I didn’t go in to detail re how many bottles etc as it is in Switzerland during the day and it will not be the same crowd as there is in London! A little will go a long way. I am going to his distillery next week to check it out and pick up all the bits.

What is the sponsorship deal?

Some bottles of ‘La Clandestine’ absinthe some fountains (for ice cold water to mix with the absinthe the traditional way)

What lessons have you learnt from getting the sponsorship?

Well firstly how easy it was, you just have to ask. To think a little bigger…I don’t have to do it all alone!


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