We’ve all heard the phrase that it’s about the artist as much as it is the art when making a sale. This week I experienced this from the customer side of the scenario twice and I think it was such a great lesson for all of us to really hear because there are still a lot of us out there who think they can just let their art speak for itself. That will really only take you so far though! We need our customers to see something in US that they want to buy into. There are hundreds of other artists creating similar work to our own…we need to find a way to separate ourselves from them and give our customers a reason to choose us over them. So how can we do that?
Lower your Prices?
Many people think that if they just undercut the other artists who create similar work to their own that that will get them the sale. This does not work in most cases. AT. ALL. You have to remember that art is a luxury item. People aren’t looking for the cheapest they can find a roll of paper towels. This isn’t an item they need. It’s an item they WANT and that distinction is important. Most buyers don’t know a lot about what they’re seeing when they decide to spend a lot on a painting. Sometimes an item having a higher price tag is what tells the buyer “this is of value”.
As much as I understood the concept, I never experienced it from the other side until recently. There is a girl whose video of a puppet went viral. This girl makes weighted fantasy soft sculptures/dolls. Her items sell on ebay from $500-$2000 on average. I’ve been watching and drooling over her work for months now. Last week I realized that there were likely others who made similar styled creations that may cost a lot less. This girl’s work was in high demand and had been for years so hers were going to cost more.
I found some other artists and was thrilled with the find until I realized that I still wanted the more expensive ones. Wait what? Why would I choose to buy from the more expensive (by a LOT by the way) artist when I could get something similar for much much less. There are a couple of reasons.
- I don’t know a lot about these handmade animals and I find myself assuming the more expensive ones must be better. No amount of reasoning is going to convince me otherwise. It’s the weirdest thing that I can’t explain.
- I like the artist. I’ve been following her for a while and I love how she presents her work, her videos and her descriptions and photos.
If the more expensive artist’s name was on the exact same creation that I found from one of the lesser known artists I would jump all over that item. But it’s not. I want what SHE made because SHE made it and I’m willing to pay A LOT more because of it.
It’s not just about price!
Well does that mean you should just raise your prices? No, not unless you’re getting the sales to demand that action. It’s about the artist more than anything. The same week I decided I was ready to buy a second fairy soft sculpture to go with the one I already have. This blog post makes it sound like I have a huge doll/stuffed animal. I promise I don’t, but that means the ones I have have to be special to me in some way. My mom gave me this one a couple of years ago. I had planned to buy a second to go with her. We wouldn’t want my fairy to be lonely! My husband said that if we don’t please her she may kill us in the night. I am going to take that as a green light to buy another!
The same week I decided I was ready to buy a second fairy soft sculpture to go with the one I already have. This blog post makes it sound like I have a huge doll/stuffed animal collection along with 60 cats. I promise I don’t, but that means the ones I have have to be special to me in some way…well except for the cats, I don’t have any of those. My mom gave me this one a couple of years ago. I had planned to buy a second to go with her. We wouldn’t want my fairy to be lonely! My husband said that if we don’t please her she may kill us in the night. I am going to take that as a green light to buy another!
My mom gave me this one a couple of years ago. I had planned to buy a second to go with her. We wouldn’t want my fairy to be lonely! My husband said that if we don’t please her she may kill us in the night. I am going to take that as a green light to buy another! When looking at the facebook page of the lady who makes them I found that she stopped making them this summer to pursue a career as an author. NOOOOOOO!!!! I contacted her to see if she might have any left over she hadn’t sold yet. While waiting for her to respond I started looking on Etsy and eBay for similar handmade dolls. There were some nice options but it wasn’t the same because they weren’t made by THIS person.
The ones I was seeing cost about 3 times what these ones used to, so in this case, the higher price alone wasn’t what made me feel the item had value. It was the artist.
I am happy to share that the artist who made my original had two dolls left and gave me an amazing deal on them both. I’m still super excited about that!
How does this apply to you?
How then can we apply these lessons to our own art business? Well, we have to put ourselves out there…not just the art. That means photos of you on your website, photos of you on social media. Share bits of your life with your audience. Let them get to know and like you along with your art! Don’t just do the “well I’m a private person”. If you are serious about getting those sales and getting your name out there you have got to get YOU out there along with your art. You are your brand. No matter how awesome your work is, there is someone else out there creating something similar or even better. How are you going to make that person want to purchase from you?