How to Host a Studio Sale Online
A few years ago, I started selling my work online. It was a very slow and natural progression from getting a friend of a friend to buy a piece to eventually meeting new collectors from across the globe. I learned a ton of lessons from my experiences and wanted to share them with you.
Hosting a sale a few times per year is a great way to make room in your studio and fund your next project or exhibition. Over the years, this strategy became an integral part of my artist business plan and introduced me to many incredible art lovers. So, whether you have an overflow of inventory, are looking to make some money, or want to find new collectors, these tips on hosting an online studio sale will help you with all the above. I will be using these techniques and strategies right along with you. Let’s plan for a successful season of selling our art!
Here are three important elements you need to help make your sale a success.
1. Organize your inventory.
This is the tedious and mundane part, but it will help you make the rest of the process very simple.
1. Select every piece of art that you want to sell and is available to pack and ship right away. Make sure all the artwork that you feature is something you are proud of and would want someone to have in their home. Don’t try to dump your entire inventory, because the client will know if it’s not your best work. Use a special series, pieces that recently became available, or a collection you made specifically for the sale. You can curate this experience in any way you choose, but make it meaningful and unique.
2. Photograph each piece, if you haven’t already, and organize the files with labels that you will know how to find. Take beautiful, crystal clear images that show your work in its best light. More quick tips on photographing your work here.
3. Keep the files in a place you can remember and have a document with titles, sizes, media, and prices in the same folder for easy reference. Label your work in a consistent way within that folder. For example: (yourname_paintingtitle_dimensions_price.jpeg ).
I keep images and information of my art on Dropbox because even if I don’t have my computer with me, I can still have access to the best quality files in case I need them.
2. Plan your shop.
There are a ton of free and affordable web tools that make it super easy for artists to sell online. When I first started doing this, I would create an album on Facebook and mark items off as they sold. At one point, I used a simple PDF with available works that I e-mailed interested patrons. These days, I use the shop feature on my Squarespace hosted site and send a “secret” link to those who are interested. A lot of web hosting services offer free or affordable options for customers to checkout using PayPal or Stripe. You can also create a simple link with a piece if you are selling your work on a one to one basis. paypal.me
Another option is to use an online gallery like Saatchi to sell work for you. They take a small commission fee, so you would have to calculate your prices accordingly.
Once you decide on your option, upload your work and details, and set up how you want to get paid. It’s up to you if you want to keep the shop and prices private, or share with everyone. Here is great article by Saatchi that may help you price your work. https://canvas.saatchiart.com/art/how-to-price-your-artwork
3. Spread the word.
Chances are you probably already have a community you created online on Facebook, Instagram or your e-mail list. It doesn’t matter how big your following is, as long as you have a genuine connection with at least a few people. Make a simple announcement that lets your audience know that you are excited and your work is on sale. Invite others to share the news with their community. Sometimes people need to be reminded that they can own the beautiful paintings they have been looking at for months on your profile!
I remember feeling so nervous when I launched my first sale online. It only featured a few pieces, but I had the worst imposter syndrome and doubt just flooded my mind. Thoughts like “What if no-one buys anything?”, “Am I charging too high or too low?”, and so on would paralyze me. I finally committed to putting myself out there and e-mailed a few people I had on my Mailchimp list.
For a whole day or so I did not hear from anyone, which then inspired me to make an announcement on my Facebook page and Instagram. I paid $10 to run a little “boosted post” on Facebook to broaden my reach. A few days later I started getting messages and made my first big sale. Whenever I feel doubt again, I think back to the amazing feeling I had when I sold a big painting to a stranger across the country. I was on cloud nine for weeks!
If it’s your first time putting your art out there, don’t be scared! The worst that can happen is nothing at all or everyone will want to buy your work and you will have an empty studio and a full wallet.
Remember to be confident about your art and accomplishments. Think back to any exhibitions, publications or any other accolades you received so far. If you are a newbie, think about a time that someone complimented your work and how proud it made you feel.
P.S. Once you make the sale, make sure you pack it like a pro. Learn how here: https://www.saatchiart.com/packaging
Check back and let me know if any of these tips worked for you at firstname.lastname@example.org!