Sue O’Kieffe of Sacred Circle Mandalas (http://sacred-circle-mandalas.blogspot.com) recently wrote me “i am curious to know out of all the ways you sell your art, which is the most profitable for you and which is the most enjoyable?”
What a great question, Sue!!Â I know some other artists sometimes read my blog – I hope everyone will chime in – this could be very helpful to us all!Â There is a handful of sites that I use regularly and really enjoy.Â I am really looking forward to hearing from others too!Â This is mug from CafePress showcases my vibrant, colorful bubblescape painting of Violet Mist.
Violet Mist Mug Â© Diane Clancy
Today I am going to give an overview of the ways I sell my work offline – and what works about these ways and what doesn’t.Â Tomorrow I will give an overview of the online ways I sell my art. The next day I will talk about specific sites and venues and what I like. (This post was getting too long and I know I prefer to read shortish posts). But I will probably write them all today so they hang together.
There are 4 basic ways I sell – 2 offline and 2 online.Â Locally I sell to stores or have items on consignment.Â This is great because there is no running to the post office to send things off.Â Consignment doesn’t work as well as an outright sale of course because there is no money paid to me upfront and I may get my merchandise back with stickers and such or other damage, which gives me more work to deal with.Â I love selling my work locally and having people come up to me saying they have seen my work in a specific place and they like it.Â I am a big supporter of the local economy.
Of course in a rural area, there are only so many appropriate stores to sell to … and the local market is smallish – our whole county is only 70,000 people.Â I have gone to a bigger distance (I have sold in 3 states) but then the mileage eats up that much more profit.Â So it is a wonderful piece of the mix – but not enough to sustain my business.
The other local, offline way I sell is at art or craft fairs.Â I have not found my stride in this venue yet.Â My work hasn’t sold all that well at the local, inexpensive craft fairs.Â Art hasn’t tended to sell as well as functional items there.Â People don’t seem to be too much in the market for art at these things.Â The ones that are inexpensive represent low risk financially – yet they are also the ones that I am less likely to sell art at.
The expensive ones that cost a substantial amount (hundreds of dollars and up), I am leery of for me – I have never tried them.Â Some people have made these kinds of fairs a cornerstone of their art or craft business.Â I am concerned about such a big investment of time, energy and money. Also, many people say that market has changed substantially … yet I am sure that many artisans are still doing quite well.
For me personally, part of what doesn’t work well at art and craft fairs is the carrying things to the fair and the needing to be there to sell.Â As many of you know, I have substantial health issues, and this type of event wipes me out for a good week.Â That doesn’t seem like a good trade-off.
Yet last holiday season the Artists of Franklin County put on an Art Fair and it worked quite well for us.Â There was no entrance fee and we were competing with other artists.Â The networking was fabulous and we made more sales than we usually have.Â Part of what I think needs to happen is figuring out how to get more repeat buyers … they love my work and buy something to support me – but sometimes I think then that is that.
So it is great to potentially know my customers locally and to support the local economy.Â It is wonderful to meet the store owners and customers face to face and have that personal relationship potentially.Â Delivery is local.Â Those are big pluses.Â Tomorrow I will give an overview on online selling. Thank you for stopping by!!