For a business like Mucho Más Art Studio, which celebrates and sells Mexican American art and crafts, it’s National Hispanic Heritage month all year-round. The Phoenix-based small business was founded in 2017 by Kathy Cano-Murillo, her husband Patrick Murillo, and their friend Emily Costello as a pop-up shop with the goal of sharing their art for one year.
“Once it got rolling, we found that our community was so receptive. My husband and I always had a dream to open a local shop, and between the three of us, we realized it was a lot easier than we thought it would be,” Cano-Murillo said. “It allows us the opportunity to contribute to the story of what is happening locally and represent our culture in a positive way.”
Social media enabled Cano-Murillo and her partners to turn Mucho Más into a business that they hope to run forever. Today, the business is housed in a collaborative market with three other non-competing small businesses in central Phoenix. Through the studio’s Facebook and Instagram pages, the trio offers workshops and sells their own handmade art pieces.
Prior to opening Mucho Más Art Studio, Cano-Murillo built a successful online business, CraftyChica.com, and has authored seven craft books, two novels and multiple national product lines. She learned from that experience how important social media is to establish a loyal clientele; she garnered an international following with her online business.
“After focusing on Crafty Chica for so long and having an experience with an online community across the world, I realized I was really missing the local aspect of connecting with people face to face,” Cano-Murillo said. “Using Facebook and Instagram has been the strongest foundation for our brick and mortar business as well. It doesn’t matter how many things we make, if no one sees them, we can’t thrive.”
Social media allows her to test out the reception to different art and craft projects to find out what resonates with her audience. The more buzz a particular project generates, the more likely it will do well as a hands-on workshop. Cano-Murillo recently noticed a significant amount of online chatter about the new Day of the Dead Barbie, which is selling on eBay for several hundred dollars. Her creative, do-it-yourself project tutorial garnered enough interest online to fill two local workshops and provided her customers with a fun, affordable option to create their very own Day of the Dead Barbies.
“The interest generated by my initial project post made me realize it would be a successful workshop, so I set up a Facebook Event and filled two classes,” Cano-Murillo said. “Social media is a daily process and requires work, but if you put in the time to really engage with your followers, you will see results.”
Her advice to other small businesses looking to grow? “Get out of the struggle mindset. Look at social media resources as tools that can really help you expand. Pay attention to what is working on your page, and generate more content like that. Utilize stories to start conversations. Show your excitement through behind-the-scenes content. Engage with your audience and know that everything doesn’t have to be perfect and polished. We’re all real.”
For more information on Mucho Más Art Studio in Phoenix, visit www.muchomasartstudio.com or connect via social media @muchomasartstudio.