Saturday, May 5, 2012

Do You Sell Your Art at Walmart?

I’m using Walmart as a generic term for the one-stop shopping experience, you could insert Target, K-Mart, or Walgreens instead. I’m not bashing these fine stores, they do serve a purpose, but if you are like me I hate going in these stores. I would never think of buying fine art there. The only reason I go to Walgreens is to get my prescriptions filled.  I hate going in and hunting and pecking around for the things I need, let alone the things I don’t need.  I’m on online shopper, if I need something I do a quick search, read the customer reviews and hit “buy” if I’m impressed. I'm also a specialty store shopper.  Park in front, walk in, get what I want and walk out. Simple!

Over the last four years I have visited literally thousands of Etsy shops and other online selling sites.  I’ve looked at the hugely successful shops, and the ones who have never had a sale since they opened their shop.  The thing that ALWAYS amuses me is the Walmart  shops, you know, the ones who sell:

Vintage Shoes and Purses (and art)
Hair Accessories (and art)
Knitted Scarfs and Sweaters (and art)
Candles (and art)
Crafty things (and art)

You’re getting the drift, I’m sure.  And I ask again, “What Are You Really Selling?”  I’ve been asked to evaluate artists’ shops that haven’t had sales and what do I usually find?  They’re a “Walmart” shop. They tell me, “My vintage shoes are selling, but not my art...what's wrong?”
"Asparagus and Blue Rubber Band"
6 x 6 Oil on Gessobord
Available as a Print

Today's Nitty-Gritty Nugget: (and it’s a biggie today.)

        Get out of the “Walmart” business! That niche is already taken.

 Today's second Nitty-Gritty Nugget for today.  I'm feelin' generous today (and inspired!)

        Find your niche and be the best at it you can be!

If you’re selling freaking cool vintage shoes and purses, or knock-em-dead adorable hair accessories or killer candles…..TAKE YOUR ART OUT OF THE STORE…..and market the daylights out of what is selling!  You might be able to retire on your sales income and paint for the rest of your life.

You’ve heard marketing folks talk about a “brand”? That’s nothing more than who you are as an artist, what your story is and who your collectors are...your niche.  Start a whole new brand (and shop) for your art, tell your story as an artist.  Most people buy art because it touches  them (it’s hard to be touched if you’re admiring the killer candles.)  If you really want to sell your art, find your brand, your niche.

4 x 4 Oil on Gessobord

What's Next?

1.     Do you have a Walmart shop?  Take your art off NOW!  Start another shop with your art.

2.     Before you do... what is your story you have to tell with your art?  My story is “I love drama in my art and not in my life.”  I sell small paintings of fruits and vegetables that are lit in classical, old master ways.  Like a lemon on stage at the opera.  It's a small piece of drama.

3.      Find a niche for your art.  Do you know how many artists are selling online? People are not going to stumble across your art while shopping for hair accessories and go “Wow, I gotta have that painting!”

4.      If you do the first three…this is where you give yourself a GOLD STAR! Well done!


  1. great advice as usual
    I have an Art Shop and a Fiber Shop and really like keeping them separate

  2. Smart Donnarose! Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback.