Saturday, January 3, 2009

Selling Art in a Coffeeshop

Midlife artist Pam Boutilier mentioned coffeeshops in her response to my last post. While I haven't done that myself, I'd like to. And I have a very close artist friend who did well...very a coffeeshop in the tourists/artsy side of town and I'll tell you exactly what I think he did that made the difference between sales and just decorating someone else's business. I know I speak for all of us here (we have a LOT of lurkers!!) that any other ideas are most welcome.

Here'w what he did: He had a lot of pieces. BIG pieces. Pieces that fit verticle spaces, pieces that fit horizonal spaces. And all "fit" could tell the same artist painted them all.

He mounted a small tag next to each one with title, dimension and price. Double stick tape.

He mounted small, framed price lists with thumbnails in several areas.

He bought card holders and placed them in various spots including next to the register.

He gave the staff a stack of cards to fill up the holders.

He told the staff he'd be in every Tuesday and Friday at 5 and would hang around til 8 in case anyone wanted to meet him, but he'd be willing to come in and meet anyone who called.

He did that. But he also stopped by often in between, and thanked the staff profusely when they told him anyone was interested.

He gave each waitstaff member and the owner a small, signed, original framed drawing to thank them for their help. They sold his stuff! They passed on the info about when he'd be there, introduced him, gave out his card and most of all, gushed about his art.

He sold out in 6 weeks, all of it priced in the $700 - $1,200 range.

Do you have experience selling in a coffeeshop? If so, we'd love to hear your experience and ideas to make it a really positive and lucrative experience!


Tina Mammoser said...

Have to say that after bookmarking this to refer to later myself, I've already given the link here 3 times on other forums to people! Such a great story and great ideas.

Cat-in-a-Box said...

Hey - thanks for linking me Robin!

I have art in one coffee shop now - it's not in the busiest part of town but I noticed that they had other art hanging. That is really just for exposure and there have been no sales there. I have a card with price, etc in the lower right corner of the frame.

Because we're near a very touristy area there area a couple of popular places (a coffee shop and a restaurant) that have a long waiting list - so I'm signed up to show for one month at each of those places next fall. They have their system all worked out - there are small tags stuck to the wall beside the art and an artist bio posted just inside the door.

I'm also hanging things in local vet clinics (that was less scary for me than the coffee shops LOL! But it's weird to go in not for a consult but to pitch my art!). And am speaking with local groomers and pet boutiques. Basically - my pictures of cats and dogs wouldn't look good in a restaurant, so I look for businesses that suit the subject matter - where both the business owner and I can benefit.

Lastly - I am trying to branch out. Within the things that artistically intrigue me I'm trying to make some art that I think will be of interest to some of the .. less eager local venues. We'll see what happens with that.

I hope other people post what they are doing!!

- Pam

Robin said...

Thanks, Tina!
Pam, I'm sorry I have to disagree, I think dog and cat art goes EVERYWHERE!!

I have had a lot of success with vets offices, too. Great that you have your appt. to show in the good coffee shops! It's nice to have a goal to work toward.

Steve said...

Great story!

It's basic sales/marketing.

That's what ya gotta do. Follow up and get other people to help sell your work the way he did.


Robin said...

Steve, you know, ppl think "sales" means some kind of mind game. I've seen in my "real life" and with art that often it's giving information, being available and being okay if they pass.

Thanks for joining us!

Joni said...

i have been thinking about oing to vets and groomers with cards and a painting and you all have given me the courage to do it :) Thanks

Robin said...

Joni, welcome here! Go for it, girl! Don't forget pet stores and doggie daycares, either.

mongoose1 said...

Thank you for sharing that story. Your friend had a very laid back but thorough approach.