Businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Take Jacqueline Poirier, for example. Affectionately known as The Crazy Plate Lady, Poirier is more than just an entrepreneur; she’s a world-famous painter, a small business owner, and TOCA/The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto’s Resident Artist. We spoke with her about achieving success and the importance of social media.
Shortly after I completed my first series of plates for The Ritz. I became obsessed with the endless number of ideas and creative imagery that I could paint on a plate. As I painted and created, I made sure to document my artwork and share it on social media.
My preferred platform quickly became Instagram; the more I shared, the more others were able to see and react to my artwork. Artist accounts from all over the globe showed interested in my work, and it wasn’t long before I was given the most amazing exposure by Instagram themselves. @thecrazyplatelady was featured in a blog and post on the Instagram website and account, which led to my art being exposed to over 70 million people in the spring of 2015. In a matter of days, my account grew by over 60,000 followers. I knew then that the reaction I was seeing from people all over the world was indicative of a niche market, and that I had tapped into it.
If plates could talk. Morgan Freeman is happy to receive his plate.
I don’t think that my business would be in the position it is today if it weren’t for social media or the Internet – Instagram in particular. That said, the internet is oversaturated with so much information that I try to keep my content current, light, and fresh. I try to be consistent with my posts by sharing every day around the same time, using consistent imagery and colours, and hashtagging relevant and lighthearted subjects.
Now that social media has such a massive presence in our society, it’s no surprise that companies turn to “influencers” to market their product or brand. It can be a challenge to find ways to incorporate a product into my Instagram feed without it looking like spam, but I love the challenge. Doing so has allowed me to gain more exposure and create partnerships that have helped my business immensely. I would recommend that others stay true to themselves and their brand, and to strive to constantly be creating. Don’t sell yourself short and don’t sell out. Be confident in yourself and your brand, and network, network, network! Stay connected with those you build relationships with, and be professional at PR events.
Jacqueline is the 2014 winner of the Best in Arts and Culture, Notable Award.
Printed replicas of my original plates that come in a variety of sizes and are dishwasher and microwave safe. I also love the idea of paper plates with my designs printed on them. Ideally, I would love to get the attention of Martha Stewart or Lauren Conrad – perhaps have my wares sold in Holt Renfrew or HomeSense. I also want to expand my online store since people love to shop online. And in addition to the plates, I’d love to do more live painting and explore some large scale installation jobs.