SENECA CREEK STUDIOS
WOW Provides Support, Ideas and Marketing for New Artist
Allison Pluda-John of Laramie, WY, was working as a full time, professional geologist, when she just couldn’t shake her love of nature and photography as just a hobby. She realized that she had found a true signature style that would sell, and that she could combine her love of geology, nature and art. When she decided to take the leap from professional geologist to full time artist and business owner, it took a bit of time to find her groove putting it all into play. And Works of Wyoming in Laramie helped her with just that, and Pluda-John’s success took off quickly.
Seneca Creek Studios started 9 years ago as a hobby, and is now a full-fledged brick and mortar gallery in downtown Laramie.
“I’ve been full-time for 2 years as a fine art, nature, landscape and full portrait studio and gallery,” said Pluda-John.
But how did she land her success so smoothly? Three years ago, she began displaying her photography art – mostly metal prints – at Works of Wyoming (WOW) gallery in downtown Laramie, as a way to introduce her art to the public. Over the past three years she has expanded her entire product line, which grew from 5-10 photo cards to over 30 different cards, and mini metal products that launched last summer.
“I’ve been through a lot of growth and changes over the past couple years, and WOW has been through it with me,” said Pluda-John.
That growth started with initial trial and error with what sort of art Pluda-John would make and sell. She said the gallery had a big hand in helping her find what people wanted and what pieces sold the best. WOW’s location has been stellar for walk-ins, which she said helped her develop her photo line.
“There is a big difference in what I like and what other people want, and what pieces print and sell the best,” said Pluda-John. “Gail, Tara, and Lorena have almost been a mini-business support group as I was growing and building my brand. They were awesome just for that alone, and really helped me figure out what my market was. I have been able to use WOW in a way that I don’t with other galleries.”
Pluda-John said that working with WOW has been an important relationship in her business, especially as an owner doing all the work on her own.
“It’s great to go in there and have someone to talk to,” said Pluda-John. “As a solo artist, every time I go in there to restock, I end up talking to them to bounce ideas around.”
Pluda-John said that since displaying art with WOW three years ago, she has sold something with them every month. She is also now able to do custom orders through WOW. The gallery keeps portfolio books, and contacts Pluda-John when there is a piece not in stock with the gallery.
Although her Seneca Creek Studios brick and mortar studio is open on a need basis while she shoots in the field, she continues to use WOW to display her work.
“It’s so nice to have a gallery like WOW able to display my work consistently and build a relationship with clients while my studio is closed and I am out shooting,” said Pluda-John. “They are there to talk to people, and I just check in. That’s a nice relationship for an artist.”
Not only has Pluda-John relied on WOW to help her develop her product line and business, but she has also used WOW’s parent organization, Wyoming Women’s Business Center (WWBC), to help with the business side.
“I’ve spent a lot of time talking with Jonathan at WWBC on business things that I have no experience with,” said Pluda-John. “A year ago I sat down with him and just wanted to talk with someone about things like taxes and how to set up an LLC. I get tired of googling and trying figuring this out on my own. They give great advice because they’ve done this before.”
Pluda-John and Seneca Creek Studios continue to grow, and WOW and WWBC continue to be a part of that success. She said that now that she has a handle on product development and marketing with the help of the two organizations, she can continue to focus on making art.
“What they help with is the hard part,” said Pluda-John. “The fun part for me is making it.”