Q: Where can I sell my work?
A: Isn’t it interesting how difficult, really complex questions can be stated so simply? There are so many variables that effect the answer. Let's examine some of those underlying factors, then you can answer the question yourself!
1) When you visualize yourself selling your art, what do you see? Are you in a gallery… a coffee house… a farmers market… an online store…?
2) How much time do you have available to promote your work?
Every successful artist is a marketer. Don’t let that term scare you. There are a lot of ways to “market” your work. Do you like to write emails to friends? One of the most effective marketing techniques is a newsletter distributed via email. A newsletter is just an email that you send to a lot of friends at the same time! There are email services that you can use for free to get your newsletter rolling- Mailchimp (https://mailchimp.com/), and Constant Contact (https://www.constantcontact.com/index.jsp) are two of my favorites. You build your email list by encouraging everyone you come in contact with to opt in. put a form on your website, Facebook page, email that you send out, make a QR code that you can put on printed pieces, and any posts or online profile you share with others. (here’s ours in case you aren’t signed up http://jdapdx.com/SignUp/) If you get lost or discouraged, we can help you.
3) How well are you known already?
If you are selling everything you make currently for many thousands of dollars, you probably don’t need my advice about promoting your work, nor are you at a loss for places to display your work. However, most artists struggle with name recognition. Let’s face it, The Internet is a wonderful place to get found but unless people know your name, you will probably be invisible except by accident. I’ve written previously about how to help potential clients find you (see http://jdapdx.com/Blog/files/tag-marketing-art002c-keywords002c-social-media002c-video002c-youtube002c-blogs002c-long-tail-keywords.html) and I’m sure will again. This is the field called SEO- Search Engine Optimization.
4) How brave and direct are you? How committed are you to success?
Professional artists are in business, and, like every business, success is something you need to plan for and work (hard) for to achieve. Life is exciting, rewarding, joyful, and , well, fun! But it’s not for the faint hearted. There aren’t any do overs. There are no mulligans, Just one time around the shell. Make the most of it and don’t be timid about it! Always have something you can hand a potential client, gallery owner, or venue manager. At the very least a business card… something with a link to a webpage with your work displayed. It can be your website, an Etsy or Ebay store, a gallery’s website anyplace that can be reached online. Keep a copy of your portfolio in your car. We recently created a portfolio for one of clients that he takes with him whenever he travels. It was designed to leave behind with gallerists, and he’s had marvelous responses to it. He credits it with helping get accepted at several high end galleries in 4 different States! Again, give us a call, we can help you with all of this stuff.
My company deals with hundreds of artists, some very well known, some just getting started. When I'm asked questions like this one, my answer is always, "How involved in your success are you willing to be?"
It is relatively easy to find a place to hang your work. We have clients who have had successful shows and installations in coffee houses, cafés, insurance offices, dentist offices, pubs, and restaurants. They sell in galleries, farmers markets, holiday bazaars, furniture stores, as well as there own studios and, of course, online. The pattern here is there isn't one. Any place that attracts people is a potential venue for your work. My local Red Cross has an art display that changes monthly. Portland has several churches that feature artwork from the community and sponsor terrific openings.
OK, so people can see your work, but how do they buy it? Well, except for galleries, most of these venues aren't staffed by people who are qualified or interested in selling your art. The barista making that double half caff mocha latté with a sprinkle of imported Brazilian organic raw sugar, literally could not care less about selling your paintings. Often these venues don't even tell their employees how to ring up the sale. So should you skip them altogether? No, of course not! These venues attract hundreds sometimes thousands of people you would otherwise never touch. The key is to get them to a place where they can buy the work online right on their phone or tablet. How? well the easiest way is using a QR code that links with an appropriate page on the Internet. Now that can be an eCommerce page on your website, an Etsy or EBay product page, or one of the many art sales sites (like Saatchi). QR Codes are one of the earlier implementations of the new field of Augmented Reality. Watch for more to come in that space (look up "Live Portrait"). In fact, the new iPhone X is implementing some AR features.
I'm a strong proponent of the Internet. Not because it will generate sales while you sit back and watch, but because, with the proper promotion it can expose your work to a tremendous number of people. Services like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. even twitter and LinkedIn can be invaluable resources- especially if you are willing to invest a few bucks in promoting posts, and many hours building a following.
One more thing, consider having items that the average person can afford. Perhaps Giclée prints, Metal prints, or maybe something as mundane as a coffee mug or a t-shirt. All these can be sold for prices that the average person can and will afford online. It's relatively easy to sell a $40 small Giclée or a $20 coffee mug- it's much harder to sell a $500+ original. The same is true for smaller venues that aren't frequented specifically for the art on the walls. Talk with that coffee shop owner about a coffee mug featuring your art that is completely unique to his shop. We will be happy to help facilitate the design with you.
I guess the answer to the question is not so much Where to sell but How and What to to sell. Venues are literally all around you. The challenge is preparing to be successful. Building a following both in the physical world and the virtual one. In addition to Social Media, you need to develop that email list, perhaps even a "snail mail" list, to let your fans know what you are doing. A regular newsletter is terrific. What are you working on? Where are you showing? What has sold recently? What new products are available (e.g. a pair of coffee mugs and a pound of coffee as a Valentine's Day package). This is the kind of thing that successful galleries do.
So, ask your favorite places if they will display your work and start building up the infrastructure to take advantage of the increased viewers!
As many of you may know, this last year has been very challenging for JDA and many of our colleagues in the printing industry. All too many businesses have experienced serious financial difficulties over that period of time… some only experienced sever slowdowns, others shut their doors. Fortunately, JDA has been in the former category not the latter.
We moved to the Sumner St. location with exciting plans and great expectations. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out as we hoped. Consequently, we had to vacate this space precipitously. In an effort to catch our breath and regroup, we are making some changes that we hope will be beneficial to all of us.
First, since Matt has been doing all the photography, printing, and most of the color correction for many years, he has moved these functions to his home studio. He is up and running and able to do your projects now. He only asks that you make an appointment to bring work by. (See his contact info below)
The Dye Sublimation Project will move to Jim and Dolores’ home offices. Jim will still be doing Photoshop projects as well as the dye sub business. Jim will also be assisting in Matt’s studio as needed.
Our phone numbers will stay the same, and are active now, so feel free to call 503-525-0846.
We are asking that you give us a call when you have a project so that we can discuss what you need and arrange a time for you to drop it off - or for us to pick it up!
I want to emphasize, JDA is not going away. We will still provide all the services we do now. We are looking forward to trying this new arrangement. It will take some time to settle in, but I think it will be very advantagous for everyone in the end.
Thanks for your continued support!
One of the great things about Dye Sublimation printing is that our clients keep having great ideas that we didn’t know could be done. Last weeks project was pillow cases for a Pee Wee Hockey Team! The process has the great advantage of easily personalizing each item, so each child has there name on the pillowcase along with there team photo. It was kind of a rush job, but we got it done in time for their awards dinner… and under budget!
Next up: T-Shirts for a Veteran Submariner!
Well, we’ve been talking about it for a long time, and we’ve finally taken the first steps into ecommerce.
Those of you who are clients of ours know how important we think online marketing and sales can be to the artist and photographer. Many have expressed various levels of discomfort with the whole process and the desire to find someone to “do it for you”. Well, this is the beginnings of fulfilling that wish.
In the beginning, we are featuring our own items. Some of those items are our own art and photos, some are photos from NASA , we’ll have nostalgic art deco images from the our national parks, historic baseball card pictures, and new things as we find them. The images will be available on metal prints of various sizes, coffee mugs, Ceramic tiles, and t-shirts.
Let me describe a little about our process in getting here.
Building a store involves a lot of decisions and efforts that go far beyond the mere selection of pieces and finding photos of the work…
- What ecommerce platform to use?
- Should I create a space on my website?
- Do I have to worry about security?
- What items should I sell?
- What prices should I have?
- How can I leverage other peoples marketing efforts and SEO so that customers will find my work?
- How do I best promote my store?
Building and marketing a store is as if not more complex and time consuming as building a full website. There are so many things to plan for that go well afield of just choosing which pieces to feature.
We chose to use Etsy as our ecommerce base. They are very inexpensive, accept virtually all credit/debit cards, have a strong security team, they have both internal search tools and the “Google Juice” to get front page results with Google and other search engines, they make items available internationally, calculate shipping costs and provide tools to reduce the cost of mailing. Many folks use Etsy all by itself, relying on their internal search to make sales, but we realized we could leverage the power of Etsy with strong organic and paid Social Media and website optimization to supercharge exposure. We also realized this would be a system that would benefit our clients!
Why are we doing this?
The goal here is to develop a scalable marketing system that we can expand to include our clients. We want to find the best methods to promote their artwork and photography. Which products will work best. Which price points are most effective in getting their creative endeavors into the hands of the people who admire them. And, of course, the best way to promote them online.
We are hoping to role out new items at least weekly. Please watch for our posts on Facebook and twitter our Pinterest boards and Instagram postings and feel free to share them across your networks too.
The JDA Store
JDA Has Moved
When we moved to the 6th and Pine address nearly 10 years ago, we loved the location. It was a funky old building with wood floors, great big windows, close to downtown, and had plenty of free parking.
Well, the area has changed drastically. I won’t enumerate all the details, except the ones that directly affected our clients convenience and safety. Those of you who visited frequently have seen an increase in petty crimes (graffiti, broken windows, panhandlers, and the like) and a marked decrease in available parking.
There wasn’t anything we could do to improve the location, so we decided to move.
Our new location is in the Parkrose Business Center on 122nd just north of Sandy Blvd.
It’s a beautiful place with trees and grass, and PLENTY OF FREE PARKING! (Are you sensing a theme here?)
Check out the map below.
We are still in the process of getting settled in, but all the equipment is up and running and we are open for business. I encourage you to stop in and see some of the new things we’re working on.
JDA Creative Color
12019 NE Sumner St.
Portland, OR 97220