Selling your art and thinking big

I stumbled on Rena Tom’s blog, and I absolutely loved this post of hers. She helps brands and creative businesses with their retail strategy; and in the article she talked about how adding art to their space will help the artist and retailer, and I couldn’t agree more.

If you’ve spent most of your time selling on Etsy or just via your own shop, it’s time to think a little bigger. If you’re selling your work on these online venues, it’s most likely that your marketing has been passive, instead of being active. It’s a lot harder to track sales from passive efforts such as blogging, product placements, front-page listings, etc; so I really want to see more artists go out there and put their works out there front and center. So when I say active, I mean proactively searching for clients and pitching your work out there to those who you think might benefit from your work and your style.  Only this time it’s not just in the hands of buyers – aim higher and envision your work on a bigger scale. Think out of the box and see how you can work with retail spaces, corporate offices and beyond and infuse them with your art!

Here’s what you can do right now:

  • Take note of the retail businesses around you – are you a good fit with their aesthetics? How can you help them jazz up their brand by injecting your work into theirs?
  • Send their marketing people a polite introductory email, along with a couple of low-resolution images (I cannot stress this enough – I get inbox rage when an artist sends me a 30MB email that blocks all my incoming mail, which promptly leads me to delete the offending email without even wanting to look at it (inbox rage, remember?) Tip: Anything less than 3 MB and you’re safe). Ask them if they’re the right person to talk to about this and if not, ask them to refer you to someone who is.
  • Follow up with a brief phone call to check if someone did read your email (don’t get offended if you didn’t get a reply – people can be just busy!) If they like your work, schedule an appointment so that you can come in and discuss what you can do for them.
  • Remember, there’s a fine line between following up and being a nuisance. Be polite, professional, and brief when discussing your work and collaboration possibilities, and don’t take it personally when you’ve been rejected. Perhaps the timing wasn’t right!

The notion of the starving artist should be long gone and dead. It’s all up to you to take matters into your own hands – you shouldn’t just sit back and wait for the phone to ring or your inbox to be flooded with commissions. Take a proactive way to spreading your art around and you’ll find that you’ll regain control of your work and life.

Photo: Esther Coombs’ London Fashion Week window display for Nicole Farhi

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