The Holiday Art Market by M Theresa Brown

The next couple of months are crunch time for artists!  You hand create your art product and have time, energy, a bit of you and your creativity involved with each piece. And there is no doubt that you, along with every other merchant in the world sees the next few months of sales as critical to their finances!

So just how do you compete with all the latest electronics, clothes,toys, etc. that flood the market each fall in preparation for the Holidays? How do you get consumers to open up their wallets and spend their budgeted money with YOU and not with all the other merchants?

It's not about the price.  Most items purchased this time of year become obsolete, unused or broken within months or a few years!  A new iphone can be $500.00 . A new camera or computer can cost thousands.....and even a new, $45,000 car will be in the dump in 7 or 8 years.  New, expensive furniture becomes used furniture as soon as it enters the consumers home and every toy that is under the Christmas tree will be trashed by Easter!

 So if it is not about the price, then what is it about?

Did you realize that we just just shared two Unique Selling Features with you? Did you notice these?

1.  You hand create your art product and have time, energy, a bit of you and your creativity involved with each piece.
2. It's not about the price.  Most items purchased this time of year become obsolete or trash within months or a few years!

In your message to your prospects and collectors, you should be emphasizing at least these two unique selling features! 
You should know what they are anyway,  in comparison with another artist's similar products. 
The average cnsumer may like what you create, but you have to  market the "added value!"  People are taking far more notice of value today than 3 years ago. They want to make good decisions and they want the best for their money! It is YOUR job, as an artist, to share with them how your art will make that possible!

In all of your marketing, think like a consumer.
Think about why YOU would buy a piece of art.  I once was at a show where a man made some beautiful wooden, outdoor furniture.  For every man he must have heard tell his wife, "I can do that," he had come up with a solution.  A big sign hanging at his booth said "Sure you could do this, but will you?" and caught my attention. He had neatly and concisely eliminated the bragging men and confirmed what their wives already knew...and that was: Yes, they could  possibly make the outdoor furniture, but No, reality had shown the wives that they would not , so  they might as well buy from this seller! SMART marketing and addressing several issues at once! 

Think of why you would NOT buy from an artist for instance and see if it applies to your art product.
Then , as the woodworking artist did, fine a solution.  See your art as a benefit to the consumer. Look at it as though he/she NEEDS your product to make their life  complete. That is what every other retailer does when selling their product. You should be no different!

Be pro-active and pro-marketing and you'll discover that when you have your finger on the pulse of your buyers, you will have a GREAT Holiday season for your art sales!

Comments (3) -

Linda Everett

Thank you for this timely article!  Love the Sign story!


Excellent article.  As a mosaic artist I have a lot of people come to our booth who say, "I can make that".  We also have the sign up with a list of the proper steps and time it takes to make a few of our pieces.  It isn't the way they see it done on the reality shows so it often gets people asking questions.  Many times I learn they have already tried it and it didn't work the way it did on TV.  I will give a few tips then tell them it isn't fair to my paying students if I tell them anymore but I would be happy for them to join a class.  I get a lot of new students this way plus they typically buy something.  Maybe the purchase is a sort of pay back for taking up my time but I am happy.  Over half my students end up taking more than one class so the time I spend talking to people at art or craft shows pays off in the long run too.

I do think I am going to use some of your information comparing how long the recipient will enjoy the store bought gift compared to our handmade items.  I can see that done tastefully into a sign on my table.  Thanks for sharing that.   Even a child can be taught to appreciate art.

Marie Solon Coerver

Wonderful suggestions - we artists need to emphasize the unique and personal qualities of our work.  I like the comments about price - again I see artists who undervalue their work and as a result customers think less of their work and of them.  I sell, among other items, greeting cards at art festivals.  When I began, I was asking less than it cost me to produce them.  I sold very few and customers would try to buy them for even less.  Now my greeting cards feature prints of my paintings, a blurb about myself on the back and I have more than doubled that original price.  They now sell quickly and I sometimes run out of popular designs.  I also raised the price on my 8x10 matted prints by $5.00 and they now sell much better also.

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