#wisdomwednesday is here again with Kristin Livingston sharing her thoughts and advice. What resonates with you the most?
Kristin Livingston- art teacher and owner of “My Art Your Horse”
Thank you for inviting me to share some of my thoughts and pearls of wisdom I have learned over the years.
Toot your own horn. A lot of artists don’t want to brag or show off their work but the more you share your work whether online or with family and friends the more exposure you will receive. If you believe your work is good, then others will too. Encourage other artists and support them as well because they will usually reciprocate by sharing your art and complimenting you. If someone has bought an item from another artist and was happy with the purchase and that artist recommends you that is another potential customer for you. Donate pieces to charities and auctions, people are usually more than willing to put out your information and promote your work and it puts you in a good light with others.
No Job is too small, sometimes those small commissions lead to bigger sales.
Sometimes we all get overwhelmed and get behind or life happens. Always communicate with your customer to let them know where you are at on their piece. Make them feel special and go the extra mile to include them in the process even if it is just a sneak peak, it gets them excited and make them feel good as they are spending their hard earned money. They could have picked a big box store or one of the thousands of online stores but they chose something hand made from an artist.
The better you treat your customers the more they come back. If you are going to miss the deadline you have given make sure you let them know. Try to allow for unforeseen things to happen. Don’t take on more than you can produce. Be accountable for your reputation. Establish a waiting list. Most people are reasonable and understand. The one time I did miss a deadline I offered to send a couple things for free which later worked in my benefit as she ordered from me again.
STICK TO WHAT WORKS
I think the best advice given to me is to find your niche in the art world and stick with it. When people see your work they should be able to say, “hey, that is so and so”. See what pieces get the most sales or attention and notice what you have done to create that and reproduce that style. I know it is hard to come up with a completely new idea or style but try to be as unique as possible. I know when something I make gets a lot of attention and shares I have found a style that works. Your favorite is not always the customer base favorite. Make what sells until it no longer sells and then wow them with something new! Don’t stretch yourself to thin and make too many different things in lots of mediums as the sensory overload can intimidate and overwhelm customers and yourself! Instead of focusing on how you stack up next to someone else, invest that energy into comparing your recent work with the work you made previously.
Only compare yourself to yourself. There will always be more talented artists and that’s ok.
Your reputation is what you make it, produce the best quality you can. Also for me, I would rather keep a good steady stream of income by keeping my prices reasonable than out of reach. I want people to enjoy my art and not have them sit in my studio gathering dust. I feel I am in the general population where price matters as I also have many other financial obligations and I try to put myself in my customer’s shoes. I would like to say that I do have a full time job as well so I am not solely relying on my art as income. Kudos to any artist that makes a living solely on their art sales. That is something I am working towards.
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”.
My own summary of what works for me. Work hard and be nice to people.
Thank you, Kristin for sharing your advice and words of wisdom this Wednesday!