10 Ways to Sell Your Art or Craft Work

Artists and craftspeople starting or building a business have lots of options, and ways to create multiple streams of income. How many do you have?


selling a customer


  • Retail – This traditional model can work well for many artists, and is a great way to connect with your customers, get feedback on your work and bring in cash during the show season. It works well in tandem with other methods as well. However, retail fairs can decline over time, are not sure bets because of the jury system, and can be washed out by bad weather. Plan your retail shows carefully so that you do the best shows you can qualify for – outstanding images of your work will help you get into them.
  • Wholesale – If you are able to make work in a production environment, and sell wholesale to retailers, galleries and shops, you can use this model as a great complement to retail shows and fairs. Wholesale relationships can be long-term, and include the component of repeat orders, which is essential for building a business.
  • Consignment – This model is traditional at fine art galleries, but is becoming more prevalent in some retail shops. Consignment is usually 50/50 these days, but is not always in the artist’s best interests because there is little risk on the part of the store, and it ties up your inventory. Make sure that you have a trusted relationship with the consignee who has your work. Follow up frequently and pull your work from these shops if they are not selling well. Consignment can work in tandem with wholesale for larger or one of a kind pieces in those galleries.
  • Pop Up galleries and temporary venues – This method helps gain exposure for artists without a big commitment, and provide space to sell during holidays or popular selling times.
  • Open Studio Events – Invite friends, your existing customers and others who are interested in to your studio for an intimate sales event. Use this opportunity to give a sneak preview of new work, present a collection for the holidays or as an annual event.
  • Licensing – Art licensing involves selling your 2D images for use by manufacturers who contract for use of certain artwork for use on products. Artists receive royalties, usually on a quarterly basis.What type of art is best for licensing? Check out this article.
  • Referrals – Nothing is quite as nice as getting word-of-mouth referrals from happy customers. Make it a regular part of your sales cycle to let customers know you appreciate referrals and encourage them. You can also ask for testimonials which will help your sales through the power of personal recommendation.
  • Commissions – Some artists mainly work on commission; others use this form of custom work as another source in additional to retailing, wholesaling or other forms of sales. When marketing, give prospective customers as much information as possible to increase their comfort level with commissioning a special piece from you.
  • Online Commerce – Selling online is a growing trend, and you should have an art website. You may have a shop there with a cart, use another third party site, or even a Print-on-Demand provider, which will accept payment, produce and ship for you. Find a huge directory of places to sell online right here.
  • Public Art – Interested in creating art for the public space? Communities and cities and other governmental bodies sometimes invite submissions for civic projects including sculpture, murals, and other types of art. Keep you eye on public art opportunities, which are often listed online, so that you can put together a proposal for projects that are a fit for your work.




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