Explore ways to overcome the 'starving artists' mentality and find new strategies to touch the world with your creative gifts!
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If you are considering consignment, here is a good article to read and consider for additional research. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/consigning-arts-crafts-30281...
In addition to my post below about opening a gallery, I wanted to comment on the suggestion the other day about consignment. To be honest, getting your work in places on consignment is much easier to do than most think. The exception will be the higher end galleries. Most shops in towns want to have fresh merchandise and different looks in their stores. That means they have to either (1) increase inventory costs when money is tight; or (2) find folks who will grace their walls with artwork that doesn't cost them anything up front. So...does that mean we should all rush out and get our pieces out there on consignment? My answer and belief is no. You should be very selective about who and where your work is put on consignment. Also, for the times you do, make sure you have a detailed written consignment agreement. For instance, who is going to set the ultimate price to the end user....you or the store? Are you going to set a minimum price and then allow them to mark it up and keep the spread or receive a set percentage? Who is going to be responsible for selecting the way the art is displayed? Who is going to be responsible for loss if the work is damaged, stolen, etc. How long will the arrangement last? How will you guarantee getting paid if it sells, etc. There are many many details that need to be considered and figured out.
Ultimately, consignment decisions should be a deliberate and careful consideration that is part of an overall plan to market your work. Our shop is glad and thankful for the many local artists who trust us with their work from time-to-time. However, I would dare say that many artist give little consideration to who, where, and how their work will be displayed. Most are so excited about "having their work out there" that they do not stop and ask how is that advancing my bigger plan...how is that helping my bottom line by exposing my work to a demographic that would be a likely purchaser. It may sound crazy, but I cannot tell you how many times I have seen across the country folks who have contemporary work on display on consignment in a place that 95 percent of the audience would never buy contemporary art...or vice versa. So my thought is in that situation the artist would be better off without the consignment and being "out there" actually had a negative impact on their long term goals. Also, I have seen situations where the store has priced the work so unreasonable that the piece will most likely never sale. Again, what benefit is that b/c it creates a negative image in the mind of the consumer. Ultimately, if you could not envision yourself being a "partner" with someone, don't do the consignment arrangement with them either.
I am a big fan of consignment, but only when done strategically. But...if you find a place that is strategic for you, you might be pleasantly surprised to know just how easy it is to accomplish. Also, sometimes there are places other than the traditional galleries which might be excellent prospects. For instance, if you have art geared for kids....why not see if you can work out a deal with the local doctor and dentist office that treats kids. You might be surprised that they will display your work in their visiting room and give you publicity or even sell the work off their walls for a percentage.
Best of luck to you going that route.
Hi everyone. I used to post regularly and often, but has been a very long time. I read every post from my smartphone, but have been very busy. For those who have joined since my last post...welcome (even if belated!) As a background, my wife and I own a custom picture framing shop and art gallery in central Oklahoma. My wife is the creative one and has been very successful over the years in generating income with her art. Some of her work is seasonal and some is more or less year round. Myself...well I spend my time on business matters, consulting, and practicing law. My wife does the day to day operations of our shop and gallery, but I help her handle the marketing and business side. I practice law and have a lot of experience consulting, including owning my own media consulting business in which I represent a large national Christian retail chain. I have also consulted with and worked with a number of artists.
What compelled me to respond was Debra's question about opening up a gallery. We have owned our gallery 7 years (as of next week). We purchased it from a couple who had operated it for the prior 20 years. I would say without reservation and without trying to be discouraging, that I would think long and hard before advising anyone to start out right now with a brick and mortar gallery...at least not in the traditional sense. We survive mainly because of the framing services we offer. The economy has devastated many galleries. Our sales have decreased more than 75 percent from 3 years ago. It is getting harder and harder due to a number of factors, including: (1) economic hardships; (2) the ease of creating and printing your own art online so cheaply; (3) online sales; etc.
That is not to say it cannot be done and that there are not ways to make money. However, it is the high end galleries with significant overhead and inventory which are suited to survive on the one extreme....and those with low overhead and high margins on the other. The typical brick and mortar gallery...well they are becoming more and more difficult. Some will make it, but I would be cautious before starting up...unless you have a solid business plan, capital to survive for a few years before making money, and a desire to work hard with little return economically for a prolonged time.
Again, not trying to be negative, but part of an encouraging network is also to share realistic outlooks. If you go that route, I wish you the best! However, please please please have a sound business plan, look at the numbers realistically, and ultimately....trust God and follow His lead.
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