Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Artists and artisans

     Free daily tips, information and advice for people in small business
     from someone who has been there, done that in several small businesses.

     Painters and sculptors, photographers, jewelry makers and wood turners--all these have trouble connecting with a buying public and supporting themselves. 

     Creative and talented artists and artisans tend to be immersed in their work. They also frequently disparage the arts of advertising, merchandising, marketing and selling. But they ignore these at their own peril.

     Art galleries have helped to bridge this gap in the past. Increasingly, however, art galleries are turning themselves into high end gift shops. The focus is on the up-scale buyer. Bringing together the works of many artists and artisans in one place attracts customers looking for things that are not mass-produced.

     Example: As a youngster, Judy loved to making bracelets and necklaces out of unusual materials. As an adult, she moved into semi-precious stones, silver and gold. Her designs attracted attention, but many of her works languished on the shelf. She connected with a high-end gift shop and experienced immediate success. They displayed Judy's works, handled the sales, and promoted her jewelry. The shop arranged a special open house to meet the artist. As time passed, prices for her jewelry doubled and then tripled. Judy is now in the process of making similar arrangements with other high-end gift shops in other cities.

     Brick and mortar locations can become destinations for serious shoppers. But the Internet reaches out worldwide.

     Example: John spends full time in his workshop. Wood turning is a special love, and he has always been fascinated with the machinery used. He earned a nice living turning out wooden bowls, and, as a profitable sideline, reconditioning old lathes and selling them to other wood turners. He decided to up his game by using the Etsy website and Facebook. He took some time to create--not bowls, but spectacular sculptures using different woods and finishes. The result was exposure to a vast audience. He tapped into the client base that was previously unavailable to him. Now he earns more than just a nice living. 

     Using the Internet has opened up vast markets to artists and artisans. They can now reach out far beyond the space where they do their special creations.

     Questions? I retired when I turned 75 and spend my time now writing and coaching. You can email me your questions at and put BLOG in the subject line so I don't delete. My 40+ years experience is at your disposal, and I always respect your privacy.

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