In addition to this website, I have a wholesale site for gallery owners & buyers. (One of the reasons I stay too busy to spend much time on my blog!) The work I sell there is mainly my ‘dysfunctional functional line’. I don’t sell any of the bigger work, because they are each done as a “one-off” piece, rather than production style, like the smaller work (which is not to say those pieces are not all one-of-a-kind, they just have lots of kin folk which, while the family resemblance is remarkable, each have their own little personalities & quirks).
You can find my work in over 40 galleries nationwide, in such cool places as Laguna Beach CA, Eagle River AK, Sedona AZ, Dubuque (& Des Moines) IA, Milwaukee WI, Destin FL, New Orleans LA & many more.
This interview was posted on the buyer page, about 6 months ago, for the business that hosts my wholesale site. They emailed me the questions, then along with my answers this is what they featured with photos of my work. Thought you might like to get a glimpse of that side of selling artwork:
Describe your work.
All of my designs are original & spontaneous, with emphasis on figurative work, specifically the emotion behind the human form. My work is hand built (as opposed to wheel thrown) ceramic sculpture. I love to juxtapose monochromatic & neutral shades with “pops” of color.
How did you get started in the crafts business?
After feeding my need to create art, it was an easy step to begin to market the end result. It was that, or the little critters were going to take over my home & studio. It is a not too uncomplicated process, learning to let go, & sell art. But, my passion for clay meant that I was soon creating work at the speed of wildfire. It was the next logical & exciting stage for me.
How long have you been wholesaling?
A local gallery owner told me about Wholesalecrafts.com in January of 2006. It was a great fit for me. So this marks the start of my 7th year wholesaling.
What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?
I would say that roughly 50% of my work is wholesale, with 15% being commission, & 35% retail.
What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?
I am always looking out for galleries that would be a good fit for my work. Email is great, when I have my eye on a gallery, I’ll send them a link to WSC. Secondly, I rely heavily on the monthly featured item, & I now have an ad in the current Buyer’s Guide.
How has Wholesalecrafts.com/ACRE helped your business?
Wholesalecrafts.com has helped my business tremendously. I have been approached by people I have never met that wish to tell me they know my work through their local gallery. And, many is the time I will get a call or an email from a friend who said they saw my work at this or that “cool” (“awesome”, “fabulous”…) gallery while on vacation . All thanks to WSC.
What advice do you have for new craft artists? *Provide insight to new artists starting out in this business, trying to sell wholesale and attract gallery buyers, etc.
Stay true to your own talent. Never plagiarize. Gallery owners are watching. Provide original, unique works of art. If you can’t take great photos, have them taken professionally. Most of all, work, work, work. Make art as though you would die if you could not. It will show in the work. Lastly, the only difference between selling & not selling is how hard you are willing to work at it.
What advice do you have for new craft galleries? *Provide insight to anyone starting out in this business in relation to doing business with artists, promoting their artists/gallery, etc.
Maintain your passion. People are drawn to this. Let your artists know if you have ideas for custom work, or if you require something more from them. If artists feel part of the process, on the marketing end, they will, more often than not, go above & beyond the artist/gallery partnership to keep you happy. Also, customers love a “story”. Try to get to know your artists, & train your staff to sell art through knowing the artists’ stories. Maybe it’s about why the artist is drawn to red, or how the work reflects that artist’s childhood memories. People will buy the story along with the artwork.
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