Thursday, February 25, 2016

Art, artists and artisans in business

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     Artists and artisans sometimes have a difficult time in business. It should not be that way. Furthermore, we are in transitional times.

     Largely, the market for art works depends on discretionary income. People who can afford realistic prices for art are mostly in higher income brackets. But changes are afoot in the marketplace for art.

     Young people are spending more on art, artworks and handmade things than ever before. They view the marketplace with eyes quite different from those of previous generations.

     Example: Lisa bought a gift shop. It was a traditional operation and sales were declining, so Lisa got the place at a discounted price. She had an idea to make it into a very different type of operation. She began contacting artists and artisans in her area and beyond, arranging to carry their works on a consignment basis. Soon, Lisa's shelves were bulging with handmade jewelry, glass, small paintings, clothing accessories, items made in wood and iron, and more. Daily, she posted a new item on Facebook, and more people were attracted to the shop. Gradually, Lisa expanded the gift shop and turned it into a successful operation. 

     Example: Jonah worked only in oils. His paintings were very large and commanded high prices. He had some gallery showings and sold a few of his works, but it was not enough income to sustain Jonah. He decided to produce a series of very small oil paintings, quickly produced, and priced reasonably. He was targeting the gift market (like consignment gift shops) as well as attendees who came to shows where he displayed his works. He also put these smaller works on social media. The small works sold well, providing Jonah with income to support his ultimate goal--to produce large oils priced to a different, and higher-end market. It was a transitional marketing strategy for Jonah that worked for him. 

     Example: Judy was a fiber artist. She made scarves, hats, pins, belts, and other accessories which she sold directly from her working studio. In the beginning, Judy priced everything low to compete with department store merchandise. Judy decided that there was a good market for handmade, one-of-a-kind items, and she decided to emphasize the fact that her items were direct from the creator. When she doubled her prices, she lost some customers looking for a bargain. But overall, she realized more total income and built a new following on social media.

     Secrets to success selling art lies in the marketplace. Figure out your target market. Then go for it, and never look back. 

     All artists and artisans are creative types. Put some of your creativity to work for yourself in that vast marketplace out there.    

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