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The Making of the Artifcts Brand: A One-Year Lookback

Ellen Goodwin, Artifcts
January 05, 2022

Making the career leap from enterprise to consumer brand was not just about a shift from defining a value proposition to appealing to the individual's needs. It's not about creating a brand guide either. For Heather and me it was the A to Z of how we would build our corporate values and policies to how we will reinforce the same through every part of Artifcts. "Okay, but what does that mean, Ellen?" Let me tell you!

Privacy First

Our prior lives were about "need to know." Out here in the private sector it's about delivering value to consumers with the least intrusion possible on their personal information and identity. At the very least, putting decisions about privacy in their hands, not ours. We defaulted all settings to private, created restrictions on what information is shareable to social media (to avoid spilling sensitive information), and ruled out commentary and view stats to avoid unwanted and sometimes demoralizing vibes.

Authenticity

A word often abused, I know, but it has permeated every daily meeting between myself and Heather as we've built Artifcts over the last year. Take our brand video, for example: Our decision to hide behind the camera was not about our CIA backgrounds (although that didn't help), but a reflection of the reality of Artifcts - it's about the objects of our lives and the humanity captured by them, not us as co-founders. It's about real people, memories, connections, and experiences, and, of course, stuff.

Everyday collector's love artifcting

We've stayed true to our values and used our growth this past year to collaborate with other "underrepresented entrepreneurs" along the way. Did you catch our recent competition with Brooke Robinson's Goodtype lettering community? You will see this theme persist. In an upcoming ARTIcle we'll share our interview with a female entrepreneur out of Austin, Texas, who stepped out on her own during the COVID pandemic to offer workshops and services for archival preservation - what's old is new again!

Playfulness

Our logo taps as pages load, have you noticed? You can even view the original inspiration for it in this Artifct about the creation of our logo. We think it will flip its tiles, too, one day to the great discomfort of our creative director. Our primary brand color is a vibrant, life-reflecting green. We have a kid flying on our 404 error page. (We hope you haven't seen that yet!) We launched our company with teaser videos about how not to Artifct, starting with a dog digging frantically on a beach. Speaking of, one of our original product personas was pets! If we are going to become a "museum of humanity," in the words of one of our original community members, we can't take ourselves too seriously, and we must always reflect our community and be approachable. (HELLO! Did you catch our new year's day post on social media?)

 

Sustainability

Sustainability is another foundational element of our brand. We believe that Artifcts provides Arti Community members a forum to appreciate the stuff they have and impart the meaning of it to future generations. We are evaluating how we can bring sustainability into all parts of our business from expectations we have of our cloud services provider to the Artifcts we feature on our website and the content we publish, including pieces we have published about upcycled, custom textiles from a New York-based clothing designer and an Austin-based home goods artist. It also means that as we dream up Artifcts-branded swag for our team and ambassadors, we're seeking out individual illustrators and lettering artists, sustainable product materials, and Artifctable-goods. This holiday we even reminded our audience that you can gift the Artifct experience without so much as a bow wasted!

Singular (but Evolutionary) Focus

Parents, you've probably heard this expression, "Are your listening ears on?" It's product suicide if you do not have built-in mechanisms to collect information about your product. If you've checked out my LinkedIn profile you've seen this concept reflected another way: "When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time." (Byron Katie)

At Artifcts we are loyal to our DNA and laser focused on the stuff in people's lives and the meaning behind those objects. But we're at the beginning of our consumer brand journey. We have a lot to learn from consumers and how Artifcts will serve them over the years to come. During the earliest days of Artifcts, we found, for example, that only by directly addressing, "What is an Artifct?" could we then help people over the hurdle of what to Artifct first. Now we tell people we're redefining 'artifacts' because Artifcts are not restricted to items of historical relevance, high dollar value, heirloom status, or parts of collections. Artifcts are objects that have meaning to you. That's it. This 'stuff' helps to define parts of you, your legacy, and your relationships with others.

On that note ... 

... What would you say are the defining elements of your company's brand? Or, you, dear consumer, what helps solidify in your mind what a brand is all about? Let us know at Hello@Artifcts.com. We'd love to learn from others who have tread this consumer brand path before us to help reshape the world around us.

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc.

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What's New at Artifcts
Show Me the Favorite Moment in Your House

From mementos to heirlooms, your home’s interior can be as colorful as you and your Artifcts. Some of us skew maximalist in nature, maybe because life is busy and we accumulate stuff, maybe because we’re our family keepers and don’t want to let go of it. Others of us tend toward minimalism, but maybe still rebuff the idea of a strict minimalist home lifestyle. Personally, I need to be surrounded by color, texture, and 3D ‘stuff’ that is meaningful to me. Don't tell me to digitize all of my stuff and be happy to let it go either. 

Now, don't get me wrong, like many, I dream of hiring an interior designer to simplify and beautify my space. I follow several on social media. But I’ve also always imagined a designer’s work to be incredibly challenging. Or is it only a client like me that's challenging? 

The last thing I want is a house full of thingamabobs from your local mega chain store, upscale design house, or otherwise. It feels impersonal, as though I’m living in a hotel - brilliant (maybe) but benign enough to please most. I want to be surrounded by family, friends, and memories, and that takes custom "Been there, done that," "She gave it to me when I was 10," "I got it when I traveled through Italy," stuff. The stuff of Artifcts. 

So, I met up recently with a couple interior architects and designers to ask, almost like therapy, “Am I difficult?” It turns out that, no, I’m not difficult or alone in this quest for meaningful stuff and life moments to surround me in my home.  

Allison Shields, Founder of AM Shields based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, shared with me how a home interior she designed recently moved her to reflect on how very different her personal design view sometimes is from her clients’ perspectives. And guess what? ‘Stuff’ was at the heart of it. 

"Everything I own has a specific story, a relationship to where it started. An object can throw me into a vortex of remembrance of that trip I went on. Even as a child, everything was curated and meaningful to our family. This client I had recently was the opposite. It was a shocking experience. They were not just minimalists. There wasn’t a book they’d read or photo of a family member incorporated into their new home. Nothing personal, and yet they loved the results.” 

 

Hallway with gallery of dozens of framed artwork on a deep red wall@AMSHIELDS "Hallway to Heaven" featuring her mother's art collection.

This type of depersonalized living is probably on the extreme end of home interior design. Maryana Grinshpun, the Founding Partner and Design Director at Mammoth Projects NYC, remarked that often people in NYC, no matter their wealth, do not have the luxury of stuff and clutter. There’s just no space! 

But even then, some piece or another will typically make an appearance in the design. “Clients usually will tell me even before I show up that they have something important, something that connects them with their story, that needs to be incorporated. For one client it’s grandma’s stool from the old country; for another, a surfboard. And why not? Telling stories through objects is compelling. And my job is to see the world through my client’s eyes, create that curated view, and build a design story around it.” 

Maryana and Allison agreed, too, that the greatest challenge as designer is that you start with a blank page each time. And the first line can be the hardest to put down. It starts to reveal the character of the people who live in a space and the space itself.  

Each Artifct can help define the first line in a more personal way than any Pinterest board you might pull together. As you look around at the moments that fill your space, we want to leave you with a few thoughtful tips and a few of our own personal Artifcted moments in our spaces to help inspire you: 

  • Here's a quick and easy fix: Try re-arranging. Space at a premium? No budget for a new look. Ask a friend or neighbor for ideas on how they would rearrange a key room in your home, like the living room. Then try each arrangment. You might be suprised how it breathes new life into your space. 
  • Sometimes it's not the space. It’s how you’re living in it. Don’t love living in your space anymore? Has stuff been relegated to the back of your closet or other storage space when it would bring you more happiness to be able to display and enjoy it? Might be time for a little help for a designer who can help you balance what comes out and make it pleasant and functional, too.
  • If you bring in a pro, try oversharing. You might have a lot of stuff, even too much stuff, but little or no inclination towards design. That’s okay. Be honest about your obstacles to date in designing your living space and bring the stuff into the discussion. Let the designer know, “This art is meaningful to us. Can you do something with it?” 
  • Objects can help with tight budgets. Few people have five and six figure budgets to commit to home interior design, so then what? Look again at what you already own and consider how your possessions can play into a new look and feel for your home. You might just realize you have this thing or a collection of those things that will help get the job done whether you're doing it on your own or bringing in professional reinforcements! 

   

Click any image for a peek into a "favorite moment" incorporated into one of our co-founder's homes.  

We’d love to be inspired by your Artifcted moments at home, too! Share with us on Instagram (@theartilife) or on Facebook (Artifcts). 

Happy Artifcting! 

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ABOUT THE FEATURED DESIGNERS

A.M. Shields. A design and interior architecture firm creating thoughtful, inspiring and unexpected spaces for commercial and residential clients. The A.M. Shields web site and portfolio are under their own redesign at amshields.com and am.shields.interiors (Instagram). Contact Allison at allison@amshields.com for a consult. 

Mammoth. A NYC-based design-build studio and one-stop shop for a seamless renovation, including interior design, construction, and furnishing. Check out Mammoth online at mammothnewyork.com or mammoth_projects (Instagram).

© 2022 Artifcts, Inc.

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Latest Features and Improvements | June 2022

In our March product update, we asked you all for feedback. Every conversation and every email since has been all about what you love most and what leaves you wanting more as you learn your way around Artifcts. Today we're delighted to announce two new *beta* features direct from the Arti Community available to you on Artifcts.com.

More photo options? More friends? We've got you covered!

RETRIEVE FILES FROM OTHER SOURCES

We hear you. Chaos in the digital age afflicts us all. Our clients consistently have to remember whether a video or photo they are looking for is somewhere in that great big "cloud," in one of numerous personal email accounts, on a desktop hard drive or removable backup, or somewhere else altogether. And if you're over a certain age, maybe you have CDs, floppies, or hardcopies yet to be digitized, too. Chaos, truly. 

Today we're moving another step forward to helping you Artifct despite the chaos. New to Artifcts.com, you may now add files from sources other than the device you're working on, including: Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, and Dropbox. This means less need to email, airdrop, or otherwise transfer files from place to place as you create your Artifcts. Just choose the file source and follow the prompts.

Create a new Artifct —> 

drag and drop or choose Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, or Box

 
 
 
 
Create an Artifct and try this new feature!
 
 
 

CREATE A NETWORK FOR EASY SHARING AND MORE

We also know clients feel frustrated when they have to dig for an email address or remember an Artifcts screen name to share an Artifct with someone. We're testing a second new feature that allows you to create a network to simplify sharing, searching, and inviting others to Artifct with you. You can add existing contacts from Gmail in a single click, add individuals one-by-one with name and email, or upload a CSV file that includes your contacts. Not sure what a CSV is or how to get your contacts into a CSV file? We have FAQs to help!

Create an Artifcts network with custom, Gmail, or CSV contacts

 
 
 
 
Build your network. Sign in and visit Account Settings > Content & Network.

Once you have added contacts to your network, you can click to 'Invite' them to join Artifcts for free. You can also follow them once they have joined Artifcts. 

Expand your Artifcts network —> 

 

And again, we're an email away at Hello@Artifcts.com if you'd like to share feedback as you give these features a test drive or as you dream of new blue sky features you'd enjoy as you make yourself at home at Artifcts.

Happy Artifcting!

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc.

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Father, World Traveler, and Now Downsizer: The True Story of One Man's Triumph Over 'Stuff'

World traveler and five kids. Need I say more to justify how so much stuff can accumulate over time?

At one point in my life, I was moving every few years - living in four different countries overseas in a span of what seemed like no time at all. I've lived the last 19 years in the same house without the natural “cleansing” of a move (although I’ll admit I once had a trash canwith trashthat got packed and moved). And now, as the fourth child goes to college and we have only one left at home, it's time to downsize. It's time to change the narrative of our daily lives.

The children's reactions so far have included stress, from the change, and frustration with the perceived erasing of memories as we ask them to realize they’re moving on and we want to as well. As a person who looks to logic to control emotion and justify circumstances, I try to rationalize that the memories are just that, memories that cannot be taken away. However, those memories are triggered by objects that connect me to a specific time or moment in my past. Objects that often have stories behind them. 

Picture of a cardboard box full of sticks, rocks, and railroad ties

 
 
 
 
Some people tell fish tales. This Artifct is about survival.
 
 
Click the image to view the Artifct.

I’ve realized during this downsizing process just how many of my memories exist in boxes that no one has laid eyes on for a decade or more. If I had collected an actual object to trigger each memory I wish I could recall, I would have run out of space long ago. I've also accepted that nobody, including me, will reminisce those forgotten times or places if those memory triggers are not available.

Along came Artifcts. As I downsize not only what's around the house, in my office, and otherwise a part of our daily lives, but also everything that remained in boxes for decades, I’ve started documenting them in Artifcts.

1980 yearbook from Stonewall "Sabres" Middle School in Manassas, Virginia

Well, hello yearbooks! Click to view the Artifct.

 

It’s much easier for me to share and show those objects, and more frequently recall and tell the stories, using the ‘story box’ (aka the Artifcts app) I now carry around in my phone. There’s little chance of me being near my real boxes of stuff when I want to humble-brag about an object or tell a story about a commonality I discover with someone I've just met. But I’m almost guaranteed to have my phone on hand and the Artifcts app with it.

With Artifcts, I’m also more apt to capture and preserve the objects and stories in the moment as I acquire something (or even sometimes skip the acquisition and just document the memory). Just as importantly, I realized I'm regularly using Artifcts to capture memories as I go through boxes with my mother and other family members, and I have them tell the stories. When a loved one is gone, or I’m gone, it gives me great solace to know my memories can carry on and be used to tell the next generation about what Dad or Grandpop had and did in life. All these little objects form a mosaic, painting a wonderful picture of why we are who we are.

Again, it's rarely the actual object that’s important. It’s the memories triggered by the objects. Artifcts has enabled me to let the objects go as I downsize, or consciously document the importance of an object I keep so my kids will understand what it is when I’m not around to tell the story. Until then, I want to easily access to my objects, or memory triggers, so I can tell the story in person. My kids will probably want a “number of stories told” counter added to Artifcts so they can limit the number of times I reminisce. But reminiscing is a parental right, right?

- Matt Ramsey

 

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc.

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