Friday, May 4, 2012

It's a Wrap!

On Wednesday I sold two paintings shown in this post.  The oil painting was just shipped off to Virginia, and the pastel will be going to TX.

When I announce I’ve sold a painting my studio mate, JunieB, always wonders if they are a new collector and where they are from.  So for those who are also curious I’ll share my “What happens after you sell the painting” process.

Today’s Nitty-Gritty Nugget:
It’s not a “wrap” until the collector hangs their new painting on the wall, and maybe not even then.

"Me and My Shadow"
4 x 4 Oil on Gessobord

Who were the folks that bought these paintings?

Both of the buyers were new collectors, both paintings were sold through Etsy, but were seen other places.  (Remember my post about “exposure”sites?)  The pear painting went to a collector who found my work through Daily Paintworks.  How do I know that?  I did a search on the name, and found several references to her buying work there, and because this person does not have an Etsy shop profile, just a buyer’s profile.  The pastel painting was sold to an artist friend as she saw the painting roll by on her Facebook timeline.

How did they pay?

Etsy allows you several options for collecting payments.  I use “Paypal” and “Other” which comes in handy when a buyer wants to send you a check (only for people I know and never ship until the check clears the bank.)  I also use “Other” when trading with another Etsy seller.  (I’ve gotten some amazing products from folks I’ve traded with….another post on that sometime soon.)

Do you contact your collectors after the purchase?

ALWAYS!  I send them a “convo”, Etsy-speak for conversation, using the “contact” function.  I thank my collector for purchasing the painting, let them know when they can expect shipment, some little tidbit about the painting, and that I will be shipping with delivery confirmation.  (Oh…the horror stories I could tell about lost paintings.) I try to ship within a couple of days of purchase unless I’ve got a “wet paint” issue going on with an oil painting. I sell them right off the easel.

How do you package your paintings?

Because my oils are almost always painted on Gessobord (Masonite with a painting surface) I can ship them in a padded envelope.  So once the painting is dry and a touch-up varnish is applied, I sign the back with a Sharpie pen, place it in a small plastic sleeve and slide it into the padded envelope.  In addition, I include an information sheet about framing small oils, with links to where I buy my frames online.

I’ve just added pastels to my online shop because I finally figured out how to ship them!  I use a few pieces of drafting tape to adhere the corners of the painting to a piece of foam-core.  I cover the painting with a product like waxed paper called “glassine” (found at your art supply store).  The glassine protects the surface of the painting.  Then I cover that with another piece of foam-core and use a piece of tape to secure all four sides.  This little sandwich goes in a shipping box with padding on the top and bottom along with an informational sheet on framing pastels.

"Apple, Pear and Cup"
6 x 8" Pastel on Paper

How do you ship?

My shipping is free to the collector (only in the US), and how I figure it into the price is that the collector and I share the shipping costs.  I almost always ship first class which for the small oil paintings is $2.80, and the pastel packages vary based on size and destination.  I only insure the pastel paintings, and I buy the delivery confirmation for both.  My smart phone has an app called Package Buddy where you enter the delivery confirmation number and then can virtually see where the package is and breathe easy when you see the “Delivered” status.  I had a collector contact me last year and tell me she hadn’t received her painting and was indeed quite “huffy”.  I pulled out my phone, fired up Package Buddy and gave her the date it was “delivered”.  Turns out she was on vacation and a neighbor had been collecting the mail.  The package had been misplaced by the neighbor.  Be smart….track!

Did they like the painting?

Assuming the collector is happy they may leave you Feedback on your selling site (Etsy in this case.)  I never ask my collectors to specifically do the feedback thing…it feels like a pretty cheesy thing to request.  I’m always thrilled when they do.  I use the feedback I get (with only first names) to add to my art blog.  On my right sidebar I have a section called “Comments from Collectors”.  There’s comfort in buying something you know has a good track record.

Do they buy again?

Yes!  I have a collector who has purchased 10+ small oil paintings, many will buy 2 or 3 paintings, and some only have bought one…so far.  Quite a few of my collectors have become Facebook friends and I Iove following their stories.  One is an over the top collector of small paintings and will post pics of her home with all these paintings, one is a private chef in Maui, one has an organic seed business, another is a recycled-clothing designer and quite a few are other artist friends.

And my final nugget for today is:

Call your buyers “collectors”, it will change how you think about them and your work.

What's Next?
1.      Do you know where your collectors found you?  Take an inventory and see where you maybe need to spend more effort in your marketing.
2.      Do you have all your payment, packaging and shipping details worked out?
3.      Is your buying process a pleasant experience for the collector?  If you don’t know ask a friend to buy one of your products (you can always reimburse them.) Ask them for honest feedback about the whole process.
4.      What do you do with your Feedback from buyers?  Use it to your advantage.


  1. Wow - this is very useful information. Thanks! I would love to see a photo of the pastel packaging. Do you use regular foam-core from an art supply store as well? If you use drafting tape to secure the corners, I assume you keep a white border around your pastels? I need to print this much good info.

    1. Thank you Janae! I'm glad you are finding it useful information. I will do a more indepth post on the packing with some pictures. Thanks for the feedback.
      Cheers, Cindy

  2. Looking forward to the next subject
    I love it when artists share
    I've had people ask me questions and love sharing what I know
    Thanks again

  3. I love your new blog! Great info for all artists :)

  4. Thanks Barb! You are such an integral part of my art community, I couldn't do what I do without your encouragement.

  5. This is something I must get better at doing.... I always check on the buyer to make sure the drawing or painting arrived OK, but I feel like I should be a bit more proactive about it. Thank you for the tips, I'll be implementing them starting NOW.

    ***I also send business cards, stickers, and a postcard or two with any piece sold - just a little extra something as a thank you, but the personal correspondence should be the number one priority, and that is where I am lacking!

    Thank you!!!!

  6. Thanks Betsy for taking the time to leave such good feedback and comments. I'm glad you have found something useful!