Q&A: Identifying Market Opportunities
So, Christina, do you pay attention? Toe likes and favorites during sales slumps when not enough sales air coming in to get data from. I think this is how do you pay attention the likes and favorites during sales slumps. So this is where getting off line is really important because you really do need a big audience to start to get this data from online. It's really for my business only been in the last maybe two years, where I felt like I have enough people. Teoh gauge audience response online and I have been in business for 10 years. So this is the case. We're going back, Teoh that really that list that put together all the different ways that you can get your work out there. So can you do a craft show? Can you do a farmer's market? I know some of these aren't totally applicable to paintings, but you can you ask friends to come over and look at work and you work with coffeehouses, whatever it is. I mean, in your case, Carson, maybe you work with ah coffeehouse or some other venue wher...
e you hang the work and then you literally like hang out there all day and try to over hear people's conversations. I know that might be hard because it's a little bit more of a background, but the idea is to really actually get work out there in person and as many places as possible. So this is actually a situation of like hustling a little bit more to get the data. Awesome. All right, next question. Okay, so as a newbie to selling my art and illustrations, I'm wondering, should I try and get my designs to a company or design house first, Or put it out there to the public using sites like Spoon Flour Ran Bubble Society six etcetera, or start with NFI shop selling prints and other stuff? Where to start? So, Annie, this is a really great question, and a little bit depends on how cohesive your body of work is. So a company or design house is really going to want a pretty full, robust, cohesive portfolio. They're not going to pick somebody up with just a handful of prince, so if you're not there yet, that option kind of goes away. So the challenge with like spoon flour, red Bubble Society six all of those is that you have to drive people to your work and you're getting a very low percentage of those things for driving people to your work. So that sort of leaves the Etsy shop by default in your question. But again, this is a case where I would really encourage you to get off line if you can. So I think getting some of your prints made is a good place to start because it gives you a physical product. But then seeing if you can dio a couple of craft shows a farmer's market, something a pop up shop that's, you know, a trunk show going into your local store and think, Hey, will you host me for a trunk show or pop up shop? Whatever that is really focusing on. Actually, getting your work into people is going to be the best way to get that market feedback. And then after that, you might say, OK, I think these things were selling. I'm gonna goto on Etsy shop. I'm gonna put some stuff up there, but I can tell you from experience I the first year that I was running my business, I put things on FP in February. And I think the first thing I sold was like June, and that was back in the good old days when Etc would pick etc. Proper would pick people to be on the front page. And when you were on the front page, everybody saw you on the front page, right? In 2007 those were the days, and in that time I think I probably did six craft shows that a broad and way more money and be told me so much more about my line because when I started on etc. I had earrings and bracelets and I started doing all these shows and people would come and I was wearing earrings by long hair of the time. So you never saw my earrings and they walk up to me in the booth and they look at me and they'd say You're not wearing any of your jewelry. Was like but no look, earrings and bracelets, right? But they're like staring at my chest wall are asking the question. So I started making necklaces purely from that response. Necklaces are my best seller, far and away my bestselling product category, which never would have happened had I not been standing in front of people having these conversations day in and day out. So really, the more you can get your work in front of people, the better off you'll be. I think we have one more question. OK, so how does marketplace reaction affect a visual artist or an illustrator? So in this case, they're more likely to impact subject matter than technique or even type of product, so you might find that people are really attracted. Teoh the work we use funny puns. So you're gonna do more of that. I think the really perfect example of this is looking at like Emily McDowell's greeting cards. If any of you guys know the story of Emily McDowell, she did this card. That was a Valentine's Day card that was like, I know we're not together anymore, but I know I feel like I shouldn't ignore this day, so I wanted to send you something. But this isn't a Valentine's Day card. So, like OK, it's just a card. Forget I even sent it and this one like crazy viral for her and she's an illustrator, like That's how you have to find her work, and then suddenly she was like, Oh, people really need cards for, like, these awkward situations. And then she told the sign of empathy cards based on her experience having cancer. And then she collaborated with someone to write a book called There is No Good Card for this, So that is a perfect example of someone that's doing that kind of work. Who really evolved, See, like what? The marketplace was reacting Teoh. So it could be subject matter, and that's really kind of the biggest thing I think. But it's just seeing what people like. I mean, you take prints and you've got, like, three cats and three dogs and three turtles, and everyone loves the turtles to draw more turtles, right? So it can be really as simple as that. Or like, I seem to sell more paintings that have a lot of red in them. I'm gonna pay more with reading today, like this is one of those where you don't have to overthink it. It really can be that simple. Awesome. All right, So, yeah, I want to address a concern that I think was sort of coming through a helmet and Kirsten's question which is what do you dio if you've put your work into the marketplace and nothing is selling? So first of all, have you tried all the market places? This is not like I put three things on etc. On nothing sold six months, guys. Six months, nothing sold. But while that was happening as I was out hustling and selling things and putting my work in front of people, not every craft show was great. But I had enough of them that I was hedging my bets and learning things. So if you're asking this question, what do you do if nothing is selling? I really want you to think about Have I put myself out there enough That said, you may not be so great at sales and that is not your fault. That is because art school gives you criticism and not confidence and confidence is the number one skill that you need to be a great sales person and that is whether you're selling in person or online, because you know what that confidence piece comes through and how you're writing your product descriptions as well