Thursday, December 17, 2009

How the Art Market for Pet Portraits has Changed

As I mentioned earlier, I was out of the market for 3 years.  Here and there a commission came in and I did it but I did zero marketing.

So when I began marketing again in September, I had an unusual opportunity to compare this niche market before and after the economic downturn.  Here's what I found out:

  1. The low and mid market is gone.  Before, I sold mostly my smaller, less expensive portraits.  Now, I sell the larger, more expensive ones.
  2. Selling cheaper doesn't bring in more sales.  Sales don't work.  Smaller pieces don't work.
  3. More people are comfy with looking for and buying online.
  4. People want more personal contact even if they find you online.  I've had more people call me to order in 3 months than I had before in 5 years.
  5. Printed materials have less of an impact than they did.  I used to get most of my orders through people who saw a card or flyer of mine.  Now, it's almost all online. 
I suspect others in the lower/mid markets of art are finding the same...

So, what am I going to do with this info?  Well, I am going to raise my prices.  People aren't deciding to/not to buy from me because of a few dollars.  How much more is a big issue I've been contemplating for a few weeks, and discussing with online and real life artist friends.  It's a difficult thing to know.  I don't want to price myself out of my market yet I think my work stands up to more money than I'm getting now.

I am working hard to increase my skills.  I hope there never comes a day when I don't feel I need to!

I am concentrating my marketing efforts online: Twitter, Facebook, etc. rather than running around town putting up cards.  I will still do that, but it's definitely "when I'm there, anyway" kind of thing.

I am upgrading all of the printed materials I do have.  I am having my work professionally photographed.  I need to reach more of the sophisticated buyers, and need to jump up a notch in my presentation.

Would love to hear your ideas and comments!! 

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