May 25, 2008

People love your Imperfections

I was at the Odessa Art & Craft Show yesterday, which overall was a very quite show to say the least thanks to the first sunny weekend of the year! And at the very last minute of the show a customer reminded me of a fault that all us artists have -- we critique our own art too much.

I have a good friend who is an amazing DJ and spin artist. For years we have been begging him to make us a CD. Finally after 7 years of begging we finally got one and do you know what he said? "It's not perfect so please don't share it with anyone else." So we listened and do you know what? To us it was perfect, it was fantastic!

So back to the Odessa Show, the customer wanted to buy an Inushuk that I had made out of beach glass (of course). The only thing is that in my mind it wasn't for sale because it was really just a prototype and not perfect. You could see some of the glue, the legs were too close together, etc. So when he asked to buy it I was shocked and do you know what I said? "Well it really wasn't for sale, you can see the glue." He said, he didn't care or notice and loved it anyway. He didn't pay full-pop for it, but probably would have if I asked him to.

If we wait until it's perfect, we'll never leave the studio. The point of the story is, you don't need to spend all your time making it perfect from your point of view, just perfect enough from the customers view - they love your imperfections, it's what makes it one-of-a-kind.

May 17, 2008

When Supply is Good

For beach glass artists May is the month to celebrate. It is prime time for finding unique and large quantities of beach glass. So today when I was out collecting it made me thinking about supply and demand.

Most artists that I know, including myself for everything other then my glass, buy supplies as they need them. In fact, I can often be found at the local bead store buying 10 specific beads to finish a project in the works. The problem with this method is that it doesn't always make the most financial sense.

If there are times in your industry where supplies are plentiful (like May for me) it may be a time to buy in bulk and stock up for later, as often that's when store owners apply discounts. Not only will you save by buying in bulk but also by taking advantage of buying during a sale. The same reason people buy holiday wrapping paper in January!

It also made me think about what happens when your product isn't available anymore... but we'll save that for another day.

May 9, 2008

Name Your Price

I went to the Arts Council Juried Art Salon last night and was amazed (not surprised though) at the diversity of price of the art in the show. For what seemed to be similar pieces to me (an untrained eye, but definitely a consumer of art) prices ranged from $210-$4,000. Wow!

Pricing is one of the most common questions I get asked by artists (next to where do I get money :-) ). And pricing your art is a challenge for sure. Here are somethings to consider when trying to price your art:
  1. Cost of materials
  2. Cost of running the business (advertising, rent, website)
  3. Time into the piece
  4. Time on training this far to be able to create this piece
  5. And yes, personal attachment does come into play (I had a good example of this the other day. I had a very rare piece of orange beach glass with a star etched in it, I sold it within 48hrs of posting it to my website, but felt remorse right after).

Now that you've taken all that into consideration you piece is probably worth $50,000 right? Well, you have at least 2 other things to consider:

  1. Competitors price
  2. Market demand (what are consumers willing to pay for this)

The last thing to consider is the concept of premium pricing. When I first started selling my jewellery I priced things very low because for the 4 considerations where very low so I didn't think I could price them higher. As time went on I started to integrate higher pricing based on the last two consideration and WOW what a difference, sales increased by 40% and I made more profit on each piece. If premium pricing didn't work, Starbucks wouldn't still be in business!

May 6, 2008

The Art of Being Social Workshop

I am presenting a workshop for TIA (Thousand Islands Arts) on June 3rd from 7-9pm. Here's an overview of the session. If you want to attend contact TIA, if you can't attend but wish you could, let me know and I'll let you know when the next one is.

Social networking and marketing online are key to any successful business in today's competitive world, especially for artists! These two hours will be spent going over the basics of online marketing including Facebook, Youtube, Blogging, your own website and yes even Second Life. Come learn how you can profit from the web instead of spending money on it!

May 5, 2008

Duct Tape Doesn't Hold Everything!

I'm sure I'm not the only one to experience the limits of duct tape and I probably not the only one to experience a problem with an art show. Well, this goof up would make Red Green think twice about his endorsement of the sticky product.

Last Thursday, while having an already very hectic week, I was rushed to hang my work at the local Starbucks for a show I have on this month. When I got there I realized that I didn't have the proper hangers for their wall mount system. I thought no worries, I have duct tape and it holds anything! Now my work isn't heavy, but just in case I put lots of tape on it and made loops on the back of the canvases that would work with their hooks (or so I thought). A few hours later I got a call from Starbucks, I was hoping someone wanted to buy a piece, but no...

A piece fittingly called 'A Good De-ed' had fallen off the wall and hit a poor customer on the head. So I retrieved my work, attached the right hooks and rehung everything the following day. The morale of the story, well there's two:

1. Taking short cuts doesn't really save you anytime.
2. Duct tape doesn't hold everything, especially when you're counting on it!