Akquiring Clients being Nude
I don’t know how the bizarre anti-tradition of me finding clients while I’m nude started, but recognizing this funny pattern exists, I know it is a story that has to be told.
I guess it’s nothing new that sex sells – advertisers have been teaching that for years. And even in the design world, it’s nothing new as masterminds Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh sent out Christmas cards of them in the nude – as a means to acquire new clients. Strange, right? Well, I’m not here to judge…
Act I The one I regret
A couple of years ago when I first tried my hands at being a freelancer I had a date with a guy that didn’t go very well. I cut the date short because I planned on going to a club with friends anyways, I just hadn’t decided beforehand if I was going to be there early or late. Little did I know that I shouldn’t have mentioned to him which club I was going to because after a couple of hours he stood there having decided that we were going to spend time together. Oh boy!
I didn’t plan on seeing him again but during our date he had mentioned he was starting a business and I had mentioned that I was a designer, so he invited me to his home to discuss me doing designs for him. I should have listened to the bad feeling in my gut but I was in a phase of starting out and didn’t say ‘No’ to any possible opportunity.
When I arrived at his place things got weird. So weird, I called a friend in the middle to tell her where I was. Just to be sure. His whole apartment style was ‘minimalism’ which meant that the place was empty and he barely had any furniture. He even wanted to gift me one of his ten shirts because he owned too many. I’m all about bringing some Zen into life but this was taking it too far! Somewhere between him trying to convince me that pyramid marketing was awesome and that he was considering starting a cult, he decided that he wanted to be more minimal himself and started undressing. And stupidly enough, I thought this was such an interesting turn of events, that I wanted to follow along and see how it feels to keep talking business with our business all out in the open. It was a strange experience but not because of the nudity but because we just didn’t harmonize at all.
Act II The one who got free advice
Fast forward to last fall, some days before the second Lockdown in Austria. A couple of friends and I had decided that we wanted to spend the last day of freedom at our favorite spa and enjoy some sauna relaxation. When we arrived, I met a guy I knew from a gay bar that had closed a couple of years ago. I wandered around through the facilities and ran into him again on a cigarette break. He wanted to go back inside when I came outside, so I pushed myself over an imaginary cliff and started talking to him, ended the conversation with ‘I hope I’m gonna run into you again’.
What followed was the steamiest sauna innuendo imaginable. We ran into each other from time to time, casually flirted with each other, first trying to keep our eyes of what was so out in the open, then not trying to keep our eyes anywhere. We ended up in a whirlpool talking about our lives and what we had been doing. He ended up telling me about his business and how he might need some design help. Nothing more happened and when the sauna closed we went our separate way. Until this day I ask myself if this story will ever continue. He did, however, send me some preliminary designs to give feedback to, which I did. We never actually ended up working together though.
Act III The one that worked out
As you may or may not know, I was part of the opening ceremony of a big local drag ball in 2020. In the show, 16 naked people were making out engaging in a fake-orgy in the background of a local drag singer who later joined in on the fun. On this occasion I did not only meet lots of nice people I feel incredibly close to (being nude is really bonding!) but also got into talking to the woman who choreographed the show.
She coincidentally is also involved with a local business that develops apps for students. Later that year, after having become a full-time Freelancer I remembered her telling me this and when I was looking for new clients, reached out to her and told her I had capacities for projects. Long story short, I made some of my favorite designs of 2020 for her company and got a couple of follow-up projects as they were really happy with the work I did for them. So, finally, it paid off being naked so much! Cheers!
Suggested further reading (German & English):