Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I learned to sell art from Tupperware!! REALLY!!

It's true!! I was thinking about this recently, someone was commenting that people don't like to buy from losers.

Here's a few things I do almost second nature that I learned from my Tupperware manager. (During my very brief, but wildly successful career).

1. Fake it til you make it. I don't feel uncomfortable anymore "being" an artist. When I was starting out with my dog portraits, though, I felt like a fraud. Who was I to sell art, I had no degree, no training, etc? But I pretended to be an artist long enough to become one!

2. Have a full book. When we were starting out, our manager had us write fake party dates in our appointment books. We put in all our friends, our aunts from out of state, etc., so that we LOOKED popular, and it worked. Before I HAD a waiting list, I pretended I did. I didn't actually lie. I said, "well, I have to finish up this golden retriever and then I have a cat portrait to do, I can put you in after that". Never told them that the golden and the cat were both samples for my site! Of course, after a while, I had a waiting list.

3. Tell people what you do. I'm naturally chatty, so this wasn't a problem. And it works, also.

4. Be stocked. My dad owns a kitchenware store in Okeechobee, FL, and he told me he has to have at least 5 of everything at all times. Somehow, when there's only 1 or 2 of a spatula left, nobody buys it! I noticed during the times I put work on my site that's for sale, if there's only one or 2, they don't sell. If I have a dozen, I'm way more likely. Same with Etsy. I realized I have to be stocked if I want to sell that way.

5. Keep in touch. I'm not that good at this. I swear I will get better.

6. Love your product. I never showed Tupperware pieces I thought were stupid. I showed the things I used myself. Love your art.

7. Don't be your best customer. Part of their plan is to sell to the sellers. In other words, they have you sitting there, and they sell you on the advantages of a product so much that you end up buying it and spending your profit on their product! It's not quite the same, but I try to keep a lid on overspending on art supplies especially if I haven't really earned it back. But I live near great art stores so don't need to stock up. But sometimes, I swear I did more buying than I did selling, and every time I clean the studio, I'm reminded of this...

8. Get your friends to help you get started. I did that with my dog portraits and that's how I'm going to do my human portraits, too.

9. And this is the big one...the harder I work, the more I'll make. And talking about working doesn't count!

I bet if you think of other situations/training you've had in your "other life" you can think of ways to translate it to your art.

Any of those suggestions would be greatly appreciated here! Please do post any hints!


Nancy Merkle said...

A great little analogy here with some very useful advice!

Robin said...

Hi Nancy! I think we all have "other experience" that can help us!

tlwest said...

This is a great List!

Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...

Awesome list, love your blog. Glad I found you!