HOW TO SELL ART (OR CRAFT) ONLINE AND LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER 1

 

Do you get that Monday morning feeling?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No I don’t thankfully, and I don’t like to pose this question to Christina who works for me on a Monday.   She assures me she loves her work and I would now struggle without her as she cheerily sorts out my admin for me once a week, does my accounts, dispatches orders and arranges art canvas shipments around the globe.      Monday started off with 6 canvas orders to print, frame and pack and a handful of A4 and A3 prints.    This represents a quiet Monday, but it is January and is rather soon after the big spend of Christmas.   The upside of this is that Chris and I can have a lengthy coffee break in which to catch up on family gossip.   Lengthy breaks aside I make a note in my bullet journal to boost something to generate sales.  This is a photo of the “coal face”.   I admit it doesn’t look much like an artist’s studio  but the business side of my enterprise has rather taken over and all the necessary technology of running a business has invaded my creative space.    Note “Bill” and “Ben” in the foreground which are Canon IPF6400 canvas printers working super efficiently unless displaying the “I am cleaning my nozzles”  of “I’m agitating” alert when all grinds to a halt.

 

Boosting a post on facebook

Returning to my decision to promote something to generate sales.  Do you or don’t you boost on facebook?   I’ve been to digital workshops where the logic seems to be that you can promote yourself for free on facebook so why pay?    In my world you don’t get owt for nowt and facebook is, after all, a business.     I run a business and look after my customers who pay me for my product in return for which I give them the best service possible.     If I pay facebook by boosting a post I expect something in return.   I am the customer and facebook better deliver – they do!   The boot is on the other foot and I am a demanding customer.

Personally I find boosting works best for me as it enables me to target a particular product.     I don’t do a whopper of a boost, spending squillions, but find £8 a day, coupled with a short competition for a £45 canvas prize, works well.    This generates healthy sales without the tail wagging the dog.

My boost this week is a competition to win a canvas of a snowdrop so I was expecting the snowdrop sales department to report brisk order.   So how many sales of snowdrop print this week?

A printed canvas of the Wallace Monument type of week

Zilch, not a single order for the snowdrops but a high demand for Wallace Monument canvases, A4 and A3 prints, followed closely by prints of the Falkirk Wheel and Paisley Mill.     The usual thistle and thistle combinations orders arrive daily (sometimes hourly) so business isn’t too bad as I can always rely on my thistle.    My canvases are printed from my original watercolours, the subject matter of which is Scotland and anything Scottish.    (My husband, a proud Scot, accuses me of exploiting the Scottish brand!).   I have a contemporary style which is a bit splashy in a controlled kind of way and my passion is the industrial architecture of Scotland.  Continued sales in my buildings, harbours, bridges, mills, makes me a very happy bunny.     I do other stuff of course, mainly thistle related but that will be a later blog.

 

 

Highland Dance Companies

Another order from a USA Highland Dance Company popped into my inbox on Wednesday.    Last year I sold A4, A3 and A5 prints to Highland Dance Companies in Canada and the USA.    These they frame and award as trophies to the winners in dance competitions.   I don’t generally sell my prints as A5 but an order can be £800 worth of prints so I’m happy to oblige.   This time it was for my Highland Dance Pump print.  I use J&B Print in Newton Stewart so a quick call to John with a grovel grovel “can I collect these tomorrow please” request.

I am keen to cultivate all of these contacts and am considering a trip to Canada next year.   This will be a whopping business expense to reduce my whopping tax demand which I have to find each year and it causes me a whopping headache each January and July.

Fedex makes me very shouty!

I’ve kept fedex busy every day this week which is unusual as it’s normally only twice or three times a week that I schedule a pick up.  I use Hermes for UK deliveries and Fedex for international shipments.   Despite receiving a fair amount of criticism I find Hermes very good and booking out a parcel on their website is a piece of cake.  Alec and Jacqui the drivers are great and work their backsides off in all kinds of hostile weather.    Fedex is very efficient also (I can get a canvas to the USA in 2 days) but their booking out form makes me shout rather a lot at the screen which is very ageing.    I used to use Parcels2Go but fedex came a-courting and I succumbed.

The overseas sales this week have been mainly rolled canvases.  I print out on “Bill” or “Ben”, roll the canvas into postal tubes, enclose framing instructions and text “Bobo” the fedex driver to collect from my studio.  All the drivers that I deal with are great.

Where shall I sell my art on-line 

My website was busy at the start of this week and then quietened down a bit – only 3 sales this morning, Friday.   Sales on Etsy meanwhile have been good and those, combined with sales on Ebay and Amazon keep the wolves from the door.     I also sell on Made in Wigtownshire, a Highland Dance supplier website and have a range of products selling on RedBubble in the USA.    I recommend that you have as many “income streams” as you can handle and hopefully you end up with a fast flowing river rather than a dried up puddle.

Sell your art on-line now

I listen to Radio 4 whilst I stretch canvases and learned today that £1 in every £4 is spent on-line so my advice to any artist is SELL ON-LINE NOW!!!!     If you can’t afford a website then list on Artfinder, Etsy, Ebay and any other selling platform appropriate to your product.      Amazon needs barcodes but that’s easy as you can buy these online for approx. £1 a barcode.   (Amazon’s on-line listing form, like Fedex though, makes me very shouty!)

You have to be committed as customers want their purchases “NOW” and companies such as Next are promising next day delivery for anything ordered before noon the previous day.      I can’t do that and can only be crystal clear in all of my listing as to the time scale of delivery.     For smaller prints that is indeed next day via Royal Mail but the canvases take 3-5 working days.

A chap ordering through Amazon yesterday wanted it for a birthday on Saturday.   Unfortunately I couldn’t guarantee that but we sorted something out between us.   Most customers are reasonable, especially if you meet them half way.

Selling art on-line is a 9-5 job

In my case, its 8-4 (sometimes, if I’m honest its 8-3) and I do treat it as a full-time job.    I’m lucky in that I don’t work from home but commute half a mile up the road to my studio/office.    This means that I am not tempted to watch Homes Under The Hammer or vacuum the curtains during a working day.     I also dress for work.   In my case this is a flowing frock and doc marts and I don’t carry a briefcase.      My commute to work is up a country road where the only hazard is an occasional tractor or stray cow.   I “rent” space in the farm next door at a very reasonable rent i.e. zero.   I married the farmer instead!

Selling art via retail outlets

I had a message on Thursday, through my facebook page, from the owner a shop in the north of Scotland to enquire if I supply the trade.   I get these from time to time.    If this is where you wish to sell your art, you will need a trade price and a recommended retail price.      It’s not my area of expertise but a shop has massive overheads so will want a discount of at least 50% (probably more).  If you are selling online you will be expected to sell at your retail price as its very bad form to undercut your trade customers.        I don’t have a trade price but I do allow retailers to buy from my website (with a modest discount on 10 or more prints) and give them my blessing to generate as much profit as they think they can muster from my work.    That works for me.     Beware though of……..

“Let me hang your work in my hotel/café/shop for free…..

…..and I’ll tell everyone from whom I got the painting!”    Don’t be tempted to allow establishments to put your work up on their wall for free with the promise of it being great publicity for you.   It’s very cheeky and unfortunately all too common.    What do you think the plumber would say if he was asked to fix the overflowing loo for free in return for publicity?    Well, that should be your reply also!    It massively devalues your work so is a very naughty ask.  Tut! Tut!

How much time should I spend blogging and how much time should I spend doing the thing that I’m blogging about?

It’s a Friday afternoon and a couple of hours to go home so I need to wind up this blog in order to put the latest print up on my website.    I’m working my way through the Thistle and US state flowers and finished the Thistle with Nevada Sagebrush on Wednesday morning.    Next Monday I am leaving Chris in charge and am off on a field trip to Clydebank to photograph and sketch the Titan crane.   I’m very excited indeed about that (which is a bit weird I know) and I can’t wait to paint it in my own way.

 

Well I wrote a bit more than I planned to but there is more in my head that I at first thought.    It’s enough for now.   See you again.  Meanwhile have a great weekend.

Pauline