Saturday, April 28, 2012

So Not Practical and Other Traits

Practical Traits?

Last night as I was playing my final round of internet MahJong waiting to get sleepy, I had a thought hit me like a blue bolt out of the heavens.  OMG!  I used the word "practical" in the tag line for my new blog. What part of my history has ever been described as practical?  Yesterday's tag line was "Practical Advice for Online Selling".  Yet, my post was all about having a unique product.  "Practical" is like "nice"...boring!  As you will notice we now have a new tag line "The Nitty-Gritty Nuggets of Selling Art Online".  I'm not sure that is the final tag line, but I couldn't sleep with the word "practical" hovering in my dreams. Watch for future updates.

I'm the kind of "practical" that makes a first trip to the Oregon coast for a weekend, and before the weekend is up has talked my husband into signing on a contract to purchase an expensive ocean-view condo.  (We had no down payment mind you!)  It did fall through after about six months of trying to make it work, but now before we travel anywhere my husband makes me pinky-promise we are not buying property on the first weekend.

Now that we have established practical is not one of my strengths, let me say I am "inquisitive, passionate, a show-off, risk-taker and dreamer".  For selling your artwork online you need to have at least one of these traits, if not all five-that's in addition to creative and artistic.

You need the "what happens if I do this?" or the "can't wait to show what I just painted" mindset, and a little bit of gambler's blood coursing through your veins. Selling your art online is a way of life.

"Back Alley Girls" 6 x 6 Oil on Gessobord

Where I Show Off (we'll talk about social media another time.)

I have two types of sites, "exposure sites" and "selling sites".  I use the exposure sites to drive all my traffic to my selling sites.

My selling sites:

Littleton Studio on Etsy - I've had my shop since September of 2008.  It has evolved over the last four years as I've learned what products sell, and what my marketing strategy is. Etsy is where I sell my smaller and daily paintings.  I sell both oils and pastels in my shop currrently. Etsy charges when you list and sell products, which you pay once a month. This cost varies, but usually runs about $8-10.  I've tried other online markets, some had real promise like 1000 Markets (which later sold to Bonanzle...ugh!), Lollishops (went under), and too many to remember or check to see if they are still functioning.  Etsy has name Xerox or Kleenex.  They promote their site, and you promote your shop.  Works for me.

Cynthia Haase Fine Art - This is my official website which I have through Fine Art Studio Online.  It costs me $28 a month for the Gold Plan. This price includes a free entry into their monthly Bold Brush competition (a $14 value).  My website comes with some cool functionality: blog, email newsletter, statistics, and a killer support staff.  The paintings I offer at my website are my larger, more expensive pastels.  I've not sold anything from the website. (I don't know about you but I would have a hard time buying a $1200 painting online, but they are for sale on the website, nonetheless.)  I don't post all of my smaller and daily paintings on the website, just enough to keep a good portfolio, and those that I do post all have links back to my Etsy shop.

I could sell directly from my blog, Cynthia Haase Fine Art, but after four years I have quite a following on Etsy and there are opportunities for others to promote your work there through "Favorites", "Circles", "Teams" and "Treasuries". Etsy also has seller functions that I would have to reinvent on my blog like shipping notifications, feedback, and tracking.

My exposure sites:

Because I identify my product with the daily painting process, I chose exposure sites with other daily painters.  I tried a few but am most happy with the first two. Carol and David Marine are the brainchilds (or is it brainchildren?) behind Daily Paintworks.  It's a happening place.  Although I have sold about 4 paintings through their auction function as an experiment, I'm not a big fan of the auction process in general. Some obviously have figured it out, but alas, I have not. I've also tried E-Bay, again too much work for not enough return.

Since I paint fruits and vegetable alot in my smaller sizes, I'm thinking of trying to find some exposure on cooking, gardening or organic sites.  I'll report on any findings here in the blog.

Daily Paintworks  $12.95 a month
Daily Painter Originals $7.00 a month

Christine Sharp, is the owner of this online gallery, and she is a big promoter of the arts. She has a Facebook presence and I appreciate her efforts, so I stay with her.  It's one of those "maybe a good opportunity will come of this" places.
Sharp Art Gallery  $10.00 a month

What Next?

1.  What strengths do you have to make selling your art online part of your life? Be honest.
2.  Decide on your main selling site(s) .  (Don't have more than's too much work.)
3.  What exposure sites are right for your product? Be creative. What's your budget for exposure sites?

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