In the beginning, I made art for myself. I have to make art to feel whole. It doesn’t matter if the end piece is every displayed. I simply have to make it to keep my sanity. Along the way, I learned that people wanted to buy my art. They want to hang it in their homes. They want to wear my scarves on their bodies. They find meaning in the pieces I create. They enjoy the play of color in my art. They like the way my pieces make them feel.
Income Stream #1 – My original pieces: My art prices are reasonable. I make sure I make enough money to cover all my supplies and I work to make sure my designs are simple enough that they can be created in the time I think I can charge myself and still keep the piece at a reasonable selling point. Yes my pieces can be more detailed and have more colors however I learned early on that to actually make money you have to work fast and in order to work fast and sharply/precisely – Simpler designs are best. I learned what shapes and lines I create the best and I perfected those elements keeping the quality very high and the sales happening.
Income Stream #2 – My Prints: I make a few prints when a piece has success on social media, out of my own studio. I do not make many because I am never sure which prints will be appreciated by tons of people and I do not want to be wasteful or throwing unsellable items in the trash. I make small prints, paper bookmarks and stickers that are easy to print up on my very nice printer and I print on really nice Moab paper or label paper. I work with Shop Vida and Fine Art America to have items printed on face masks, clothing and accessories. I am still looking to have some prints put on ceramic tiles to sell myself but it is not in my budget yet.
Income Stream #3 – YouTube. I started making YouTube videos for people who requested being able to watch me work. And I got followers! I thought, that with effort, making videos might overtake the cash flow of selling art in the future. YouTube videos are harder to make then they seem. Keeping it up regularly every week can get complicated. I had some large commissions that got in the way (I am not complaining in any way) but my studio has been over run with drying artwork over the last couple of months so YouTube video space gave way to drying racks – I will be making YouTube videos again starting next week. If you read up on YouTube monetizing you have to meet follower numbers and video watch minute minimum numbers per YouTube rules. When you meet their magic goal amounts you become “Monetized” and can get paid for having commercials run during your videos. Any success with this makes you a social influencer. From what I have learned a 10 minute video is good because of the amount of commercials it allows for. Your thumbprint photo makes or breaks people clicking on your video. You need to promote the heck out of your video channel which is where you videos are all located.
My YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_lRdP3S046N3IJ7YUjcHsg
Income Stream #4 – Affiliate programs. When you have a YouTube Video or blog or Facebook/Instagram (insert social media platform here) that gets a considerable amount of followers. I will say 1500 or more but it could be less or much higher depending on who you are and what your interests are. You may be asked by an advertiser to be an affiliate and/or you may inquire with a business about being an affiliate which means you put a link in your platform post to their product and if the product sells you get a percentage of the sale. From what I have read it is better to sell higher priced items as you do not have to sell as many to make money but if you have an lower priced item that sells in great bulk you can make money from it as well. Some affiliate programs are well advertised – Amazon has one for instance. Some are booming, but a lot less advertised (Target, Macy’s, insert any company selling anything here). You need to find a software that can connect you to such company offers. You can google affiliate marketing software and many names will pop up. You can look at your phones app store and see many names as well. Some offer better percentages than others. Some are set up and easier to navigate than others. You are looking for a software that will allow you to slip in a link on your site to exactly what you want to sell from the person selling it and notify you back whenever it is clicked on from your site so you know if you are getting paid for a sale made through your link or not. Any success with this makes you a social influencer.
Income Stream #5 Teaching classes: You can teach out of your studio. You can teach via Zoom. You can teach via workshops via skype. You can work with a company that provides educational courses online and already has a built in audience. The larger the class generally the more money you make and the less hands on you are. Pick your preference.
Income Stream #6 Art Shows: Art shows charge a jury fee to make sure your art is of good quality. You will be asked to submit a booth photo to show them you have a professional display. They want to make sure you will work with the demographics the show is catering too (age/sex/life preferences (drink beer/drink wine), shows by the sea often feature art by the sea, etc. and to make sure that they have a variety of artwork. They do not want 100 vendors of which 99 are jewelers. Unless it is a bead show the show organizers are going to want to spread out the type of artists they have coming to the show so that everyone has a chance to make a good sales income, people attending the shows see a variety of work and will likely find something that appeals to them. Then you have to pay for the booth itself. This can be done in different ways. They may make you pay outright for the booth. Booth fees for me have ranged from $25.00 to $800.00. You might be charged a minimum fee say $300.00 and then get charged 10% of your final sales which works if you are a new vendor and are not sure if your pieces will sell at the venue or not. It is not so good if you sell enough that your fees end up being $800.00 or more. Remember that larger shows may look at your sales amount the following year and let that number determine whether or not you will be accepted the following year. They want to make sure that you have a desirable booth and you are going to make them money. Please remember that making sales at a booth is not just up to the show. You need to use your social media to help get people to your booth. Your success is going to depend on how much work you put into it. And while at your booth you need to look appropriate for what you are selling. You need to be of good cheer and engage your guests/patrons. You need to show off your work and move it around in your booth to make it look its best. There is a skill and a talent to successful booth shows. Now days art shows often advertise their shows through businesses that specialize in this task. Zapplication.org is one such company but there are others as well.
Income Stream #7 Galleries: I put this last because I sadly, consider it last. Galleries take on average 40% – 50% of the purchase price of your artwork. We are not all going to get Picasso like prices for our work so if you are selling $50.00 clay pots at a gallery you are walking home with $25.00 per pot. That is a huge cut to the gallery. Kudos to them for their advertising and sales staff, etc. Perhaps their location is so ideal it is the perfect location for your work but I have had much more financial success selling my own work via income streams #1-#6 above.
Hopefully you find this information helpful. Good luck with your art sales!
Karla Kay Benjamin/Karla Kay Art