1. They know their audience
Artists who are confident in understanding their target market can tailor their efforts in developing their line into collections that appeal to those customers, whether they are selling at retail or wholesale. This encourages customers to become collectors. Artists who know their audience also brand their line, website, marketing materials and communications accordingly.
2. They understand how to price their work
This can be a huge sticking point for many artists and craftspeople. If you can’t pay yourself adequately, or price for profit and growth, you may end up out of business. Get an understanding of your costs, and use a formula for pricing that includes profit at wholesale. Mark your work up to retail prices without undercutting your wholesale accounts.
3. They manage their time and priorities
Having a regular, consistent studio practice is crucial. Successful artists create systems within their business, scheduling time to produce work, time to manage their business and personal time as well. Finding this balance, and persistently acting to keep all of your priorities in line is key to success.
4. They are skilled at building relationships
Repeat sales are incredibly important to any successful artist. It is more than five times as hard to gain a new customer as it is to sell more of your work to an existing customer. This works on both wholesale and retail levels. Building relationships may be through in-person meetings, at openings, trade shows, retail shows, or online. Communicate with clients and important contacts through emails, invitations, newsletters, and social media. This helps you stay in touch with those customers to encourage repeat sales. Fans and collectors also act as catalysts to drive referral business.
5. They create fresh work
Successful artists don’t rest on their laurels. They produce new work to present and sell to existing and new customers. Gallery owners and retailers always want to know “What’s new?” so they can stock fresh items that appeal to their own clientele. Artists who sell at wholesale normally create about 30% new work each year to keep up with this need.
What else do you consider important to success as an artist? Please share.
Want to learn how to market your art or craft effectively? Check out our popular e-course “Marketing for Artists & Craftspeople” available exclusively through The Arts Business Institute.