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I just lowered prices on my originals by 15%. I have not sold anything in the last few shows I've done. I feel bad doing it, but I do not think I have a choice in this economy. I might go another 15% if things don't start moving soon. Bummed.
JL, I gave up on prints. I was not super happy with the print quality -- they'd print too dark -- and they were not selling anyway. I decided to focus my efforts on originals. I use my Artist Website as a catalog of originals instead of prints.
As to the print copies being too dark:
Either, they were not scanned/photographed properly in the first place, or you could make another version (from a properly photographed images) and easily lighten them in Photoshop.
I have been doing the exact opposite as you...I have been raising my prices. Why is it when all around us the cost of living and prices on goods are going up but we artists are supposed to lower ours. Something is wrong with this picture David. Nah, I will continuer to raise my prices. As far as my originals are concerned, I will raise those prices because as far as I'm concerned if I never sell another one I don't care.
David by lowering the prices on your originals you are devaluating the value of them. If any of your customers purchased an original from you they would be very unhappy to hear this. Because by lowering the prices of your originals you are also lowering the value of the paintings they purchased from you.
Les, basically, the only way I could get the print quality I want is to do test prints of every painting in my catalog, dialing it in until it's perfect. I'm pretty picky. I told myself, if I were to do that, I'd want to do limited run, signed, prints. That way I have complete control over what my customer gets. I've given up on POD.
Well, I can't see a problem in making a good copy.
It may not have the 3D appearance and texture of the original (even the colors may be slightly off), but a properly done reproduction print might work quite well.
You created the original, now you can create a second product from it.
Personally, I don't put value on limited editions, but that's another subject.
Hal, I had a couple of near misses (all with the same painting). Twice now, I came within inches of selling a painting and no dice right at the last second. I feel like if my price was in line with what they wanted, they would have pulled the trigger. I'm just realigning myself to what the market can bear.
Les, I think the keywords in your statement are "properly done." To do it properly, I'd have to front a bunch of money in test prints until I got it right. At this point I opt for no prints, rather than untested prints.
David, be careful about lowering your prices. There is a perception that inexpensively priced art, no matter how good it is, must somehow be cheap, a fake, paint by numbers, whatever. People who really want the art don't really care what it costs (within reason, of course). I used to think like you and was constantly tinkering with my prices, figuring if I could just find the right price point, my stuff would just fly out of my booth. Never happened.
Then I spent a lot of time learning how to sell, something I wasn't very good at. I developed a "patter" that emphasized the quality of the materials I use and the lengths I go to to get a good photograph. I learned how to approach people without doing a hard sell. And I also worked hard to find the right kind of show. A lot of "fine art" shows are anything but. You really need to be in the right marketplace to get the price you deserve.
I finally did a show last month that was the right show for me, a genuine fine art show, and I got a chance to really hone my little patter. And you know what? Best show I've ever done. My stuff really did fly out of the booth -- at prices higher than what I was charging all last summer. Not a single person gave me a funny look and said "You want $xxx for a pitchurr???"
Before you lower your prices, go read a couple of books on salesmanship and how to use the right buzzwords to let people know that your work has value and worth. And read some reviews of the shows you've been doing, maybe research doing different shows. The market is there for good artwork; you just have to work a little harder to find it.
David have you tried scanning your paintings instead of photographing them? I agree that digitalizing your paintings is a whole new medium to learn, but in this economy and especially for FAA and online markets then is essential.
Mary Ellen, if there was a good ROI on paying someone to scan my work, then maybe. However, I had print prices on my FAA listings for a year and half, and sold nothing. I'm afraid what would happen is I'd pay someone to scan my work and still would sell nothing, which is not a good ROI.
The reality of selling prints on FAA and that at best you sell onesies and twosies here and there; I never even did that. I don't see a good return spending money to dial those prints in to something I'd feel comfortable selling, whether is be by scanning images, doing test prints, (or more likely both).
I gave POD a good run. It never did anything for me, so I changed my strategy, and focused on originals. I'm still struggling with that obviously if I'm talking about lowering my prices, but I'm not ready to give up on that yet.
Deborah, I think Tucson is a weird market. There is not the money here like there is in say Scottsdale. I'm trying to find the right price for this market. Obviously, price is just one element to landing a sale. You've got to have the right marketing skills, personality, and so on. I have not found the right formula yet. I'm going to try the new price for a bit to see if it helps me crack the Tucson market. If that does not work, I'll try something else.
We all need money,it is a fact,and in certain periods we might need more than usual..BUT....lowering the prices of one's work,is,in my modest opinion,a mistake.....people KNOW that cheap art and reproductions can be found easily in mass cheap shops...her in Australia we have shops like Red Dot or Things or The Reject shop and similar,that sell crap art from China and Asia cheap as dirt.....and it is better that my potential customers do not put me in that category.....so,I think that lowering the prices could be a wrong move,may be discounts can be offered on specials or quantity....that is my 5 cents...
I'm not trying to compete with cheep goods. Take the painting below, one of my more popular ones. I've lowered the price from $849 to $699. It still takes a chunk of cash to afford $699. $699 is not the price of junk. However, in cash strapped economy, that might make a difference to someone. At least that is what I'm hoping.
Never undersell your artwork.
People that buy your work will not be happy if they bought a print or the original for say $500, then 3 months later, its on sale for $400.
Art is supposed to go up in value, not down.
Way back in the day when I had been painting and selling watercolors for about 5 years, things were slow. I was doing shows and winning awards, but sales were slow. One of my friends who was a true professional at that time, making a living on here watercolors, and I were doing a show and I was kind of glum about sales. He advice - you need to put a one in front of your prices - I was barely making $15 when one sold. I sold every image at that show and won two really nice purchase awards. At every show I did over the next two years, I would almost always sell out, even my large ones. Her philosophy - if you price your work cheap - people think your work is cheap.
I started out selling very little art. I lowered my pricing and sold very little art. For that matter, I sold even worse at that price.
This was when I still had a good day job and didn't really need to sell. One day, I decided that if I wasn't selling my art I might as well not be selling very expensive art and raised my prices to triple what I originally set in the first place. To my amazement, I started selling and selling well.
Take that for what it is worth. I can't really say what will work for you but can tell you what seemed to work for me. I will say this; you have outstanding work and IMO an original painting should sell for more than I could sell my photographic prints. I have sold prints for the price you now have on your originals.
I donít think pricing is the most important part if a work sold. Base on my own experience both as an artist and art buyer: it is a combination of the art, ípersonality and the meaning behind the art. Of the three, an artistís personally is the most important element of an art sold.
I just done a outdoor art show which has over 400 artists, in order to stood out among all those artists a likable artist likely sell better than others. I found the buyers brought my works because they like me and the stories behind the works. I was surprised after looking at my works and a conversation some even wanted to have a photo of me!
lowering won't help you. raising them will mostly due to perception. i don't think the economy is to blame, but perhaps to the people your showing them too. if you keep lowering it, eventually you'll be paying people to take it.
i also suggest you start selling your work as prints again because not everyone wants or can afford the original.
also let the viewer decide if it's too dark or not. but it does sound more like your screen is faultering and your releasing it that way. you'll have a harder time selling the original than a copy. and if your not selling the copy, your probably not advertising it to the right people. i can think of a number of places where your art would fit in.
Just another opinion here... speaking as a traditional painter, I agree with what Hal and Robert said...
You are an accomplished artist with great skill - I think lowering prices is not always the smartest of moves for a traditional painter in a turned-down economy. Lots of psychological thinking involved in buyers' minds... just saying.
what i can tell you is this - i increased my prices and actually increased my sales. once people like your work they advertise for you. but if your putting things here and thinking they will sell, it usually won't happen. for you, you need to advertise to the food and wine industry and friend people like that. those are the types who would go for your work.
David - just a thought - make your prices round numbers. Giving a price of $699 vs $700 makes it look like you're selling it in a department store. And for a 24" original looks cheap to me!
I know people on here selling originals smaller than that at over $1k... the problem is likely not the economy, it's that you need to find your buyers, your audience. Because your work is amazing.
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Dave you do fantastic work and you know I am a fan. If your prices were overly high, or even what your paintings are actually worth you might consider lowering them. I don't think taking the prices down 15% will matter much in terms of sales. You will just make a little less when the paintings sell.
I lowered my print prices here a few months ago and it hasn't brought me any sales so I am thinking about putting them back up. Might as well not sell at a higher price as not sell at the lower one. I have never tried to sell my originals. I'm a really bad salesperson so I don't think I could do it.
David, truly you are a very accomplished artists and you should be getting way higher prices on your originals. I came back to art just after the first of this year, and have sold many prints (all but 1 off FAA). The only print I've sold on FAA was +$600. True FAA keeps half but I'm selling my prints in the price range that you are selling originals. Wouldn't you much rather sell a print at these low prices then your babies (the originals)?
I don't understand why you wouldn't sell the prints? The cheap scanning system I use works. I've seen the prints because I hang in my gallery and take them to fairs to sell them. I consider digitizing my work as a new medium and I'm learning, but you can get good reproductions made cheaply. The way out of the scramble to cut prices or commercialize your art starts in not having to do that to generate income. Simply having prints available that can sell over and over if popular buffers you from being artistically locked into it.
You truly have nothing to lose selling prints here. There is a 30 day return and if the buyer is happy then what is your issue? Concentrating on marketing your originals could only help print sales too, and not promoting prints probably won't hurt original sells. It really is a shame with all the blogging and WIP demos etc. that I know you've been doing that your prints weren't available.
David, the artistic quality is there in your work, you're just not marketing it correctly. You need to channel any desperation and panic into marketing for awhile; and especially leveraging your promotion efforts. Last week was the first time this year I've had time to picked up a paintbrush. Even though I've come back to paint, I need to validate those efforts to myself but mostly to the people in my life that are sacrificing my attention to them. Part of that validation is selling but I soon discovered that the sheer market requirements in pricing, volume of work needed to penetrate the market, and time, were going to make it impossible for me alone to paint my way into the market and keep artistic integrity. Today then the competition is every master in history and most art dealers are making more money off artists then for artists. You just have to deal with this, but as an economist and can tell you that you can't compete in the supply and demand game on originals alone (at least if you're currently unknown). Prints are the logical first step.
This conversation seems to have taken a turn about people wishing to discuss my lack of print pricing. I understand people's concerns. It was just a business decision on my part to abandon that. I'm going to attempt to bring this thread more toward originals again.
I think the reason why I target the middle class for my originals is because that is who is coming to art shows and galleries in Tucson. Middle class is king in Tucson. It is a middle class town. The only way to get my art in front of the more affluent -- people with money -- is to look beyond Tucson. I would have to do shows in Scottsdale, where the money is in Arizona. That is about 100 miles from me, near Phoenix.
I guess I could look at galleries there. I understand it is hard to get into those galleries, though. Scottsdale is a hard nut to crack. Other artists who live there say I would do well if I could get in, saying that my work is kind of what they are looking for. The only thing that would hold me back is that I do not do southwest art, a common theme for artwork there.
Painting is not my day job, so if I were to look at other markets, it would have to be a weekend gig. I am limited in my time off. Painting is easy to do in my off time, when I have an hour here or there. Doing shows is much harder because of the time commitment.
Along those lines, I had an artist friend who did a show at a very prestigious gallery here in Tucson called DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun. It was a week long show, and she was expected to be there from open to close every day. I think I could do well in a show like that, except for the time commitment. That is much harder when you pay the bills with your day job.
I had to pass on another show, a tent show, because it was Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I could do Saturday and Sunday, but not Friday.
Well David, I'm not sure what you want us to say. It sounds pretty unanimous that cutting prices will not help sales and that you should have prints available because most people at fairs, FAA, middle-class don't care if it's an painting or not. Or whether you're a known name or not. The collector's needs (the guy that cares if its a painting or a photograph) is much rarer (% of buyers) then it use to be. The decorator, souvenir, gift, etc. market will only support a certain price range. I could personally not be profitable on just originals alone at these venues. I can neither paint cheaply enough or fast enough to do this.And as you have said, getting into galleries and shows may not be a viable option.
All of us want to paint for the collector market but be purchased like it's wall decor. That requires 2 different products for 2 different markets. Unless you can paint as fast and cheaply as a printer then you're just chasing your tail. I've started a hybrid gallery funded on prints where our goal is to pay for every artists costs of being an artists. Goal is to fund the cost of selling our originals with revenue from prints. That means that if you do sell an original it's all gravy. They never have to sell a single original to be successful artists.
I know you want to just talk about selling originals but the things you've been doing blogging, demos, fairs, etc. are all exactly right or you'd never sell, but by not offering prints then you are just ignoring the majority of your markets needs. You say it was just a business decision you made to quite POD, but it's a costly decision and is leading you to undercut your value. I really do think this course is disastrous.
Diversify David and offer both products: prints and originals. Take prints and originals to your fairs. Sell the prints at the FAA successful prices and use a $ per inch or other $ for labor/skill on your originals. The products have different buyers. Can you make collector art cheap enough that a decorator will buy? Maybe, but probably not profitably. You have to sell to the decorator differently then you sell to a collector (I recently wrote a blog about wanting your art to match sofa cushions). Learning how that's done will take clear understanding of the differences between them. You can't change a markets (buyers) needs or parameters (price range, qty of, etc), you can only offer products that meet them.
After reading your last post, I realized your problems is not about lowering your prices. it is more about time commitment.
Being an artist,a long term commitment is a must, not only time to create art also time to market and promote yourself which is more than a full time job. Every time you started a thread I would check on your galleries but found the same paintings..
My advise would be not to waste your valuable time for those weekend shows but spent your weekends painting as your part time job.Enter as many local and national juries shows to build your name and promote your paintings.once you got accepted into more shows it will help you when submitting to galleries later on..
i don't see how it's a business decision by removing the ability to have a copy of something. selling art has always been hard. people have been struggling for a long time selling originals, then one day POD's came out and people can now sell. i'm betting if i stood in the hot sun all day i wouldn't sell a thing, because my stuff only works well in volume where people can take the time to get something. there's almost no point in being here if your not set up to sell prints here. by placing it here and advertising a few a day, you can start selling, and it doesn't take that much work, and you can sell elsewhere or do whatever you do. removing that ability just hurts you. and so what if it doesn't sell, how does it hurt having it here?
Here's an article on pricing that caught my eye a long time ago. What caught my eye was the defining of different markets, and how your prices can effect which art buying type is interested in your products.
And I agree with Mike, being so picky about how this and that prints, or how the framing looks, etc to the point you have to baby each print that goes out the door, and thus give up making prints all together because it becomes a big hassle, is like giving up a good paying job because you don't like something trivial about your boss, the office environment, etc. If you really want to make a living at this, which you may not, you have get past your number one road block, which is probably yourself. And I say that not in a personal sense, as it afflicts myself and many others that suck at marketing and selling.
This conversation always comes back to prints for some reason. People don't want to give it up. Really, this should be my last word on the subject:
I gave it a go, for a year and a half! I really did! I sold nothing, nada, zilch, nil, the big goose egg! It is not like I did not promote it! I did! It is a dead end for me! POD and I did not work!
POD works for some people! I get it! It did not work for me! I was not totally happy with the product, and I DID NOT SELL ANYTHING! Something had to change! I'm done with POD! I tried it! It did not work!
I HAD to change my tactics! The tactics I chose were to focus on originals, and do more promotion locally! Do local shows! Do juried shows! Get people in front of my art! Talk to people! See them face to face! That is what I'm doing this year! In fact, I dropped off an original today to see if I can get into a juried show!
I'm not trying to convince people not to do POD! I'm trying to convince you that IT DID NOT WORK FOR ME!
Now, I'm stepping off my soap box! Let's discuss pricing and tactics to sell originals.
Alfred, I agree, time is an issue. There is only so much time in the day. My library of originals on my Artist Website grows very modestly. I make about 10 paintings a year.
I do two Open Studio shows a year. I've been in one juried show this year. I just entered into another show today (we'll see if I get accepted by the jury). I had to pass on one show because I could not get Friday off from my day job. I've been talking to a gallery. That is likely to round out my year.
Doing all that and painting too takes up most of my free time, which is very precious because I work full time on top of it.
I noticed that I sold more when I raised my prices. In art sometimes people see the low price as a turn off(odd way of thinking). I did look at some of your work and it seems that you need people to see your work. The few keywords does not help and the descriptions are not enough for the buyer to connect or for the images to be found by search engines. Good luck on what ever you decide to do and hope it increases your sales
of course it does, this is a print on demand site.
a year and a half with someone who doesn't have a name yet online is like having your work up for a day and a half, especially if you don't advertise it. so it didn't work - you pulled it? it's not the expensive to be here, and your not making sales anyway, why pull it?
the selling of prints leads to sales to the originals. that's often how it works. but how is selling the originals working out for you?
we are talking here because you can't sell the originals either.
here is the advantage to selling prints - you cover many people over the entire world. where as a local show - a few people see it. you have to go with the numbers. many people won't ask about the original - if they can find it. if you have limited notes and words, and don't advertise it, you won't sell it here either. selling art was never easy, thinking you were going to make a landslide in sales in that amount of time and not advertise them - well that just doesn't work well.
I have been only raising my prices this year. I did the whole lower my price thing for 2 or 3 years when the recession hit us here but sold next to nothing. Funnily enough, this year thinks have picked up immensely and I go by the adage now, 'if you Don't Ask then you Don't Get', it's that simple.
David, idea for you: know any teenager? either your own or nieces, nephews? buy them a scanner and let them run your FAA account for you.and don't come back to the discussion page until you sold the first print or original
I understand about the free time issue. I am a full time mother and wife and it limits my art time. Today due to unfortunate coincidences: I got our hot water heater replaced; got the washing machine fixed; set up my booth at a fair, grocery shopped for a week; ran and folded a load of laundry; and made dinner plus a dinner for during the fair. I don't do all that many art fairs fairs a year for just this reason.
But, while I tried lowering prices, it didn't increase original sales. Actually upping the price for originals did increase sales. People are odd. And no Salem, Oregon is not an upper end market---to the contrary we've felt the great recession rather hard here.
I do have a suggestion about printing here at FAA. Take one of your paintings. Make it look like it should on your monitor. Paste it onto about one eighth of an 11 x 14 image. Then change the brightness of the monitor make it look good at that brightness paste it to the 11 x 14 file. Repeat until you have eight images on one file. Make sure you label each change so you can reproduce it. Upload the multi-image file in a private gallery 0n FAA. Order a print. Take the best looking image and set your monitor to that image's setting. Alter all your files to match thatb monitor setting. I haven't done that on FAA, but I have done it with a local printer. Everything done that way looks great.
Gallery Three, many people on this thread have mentioned raising prices to sell more. It seems a little counterintuitive to me, but so many people have said it, I might look into it. I'm going to try my new prices for the next two shows, and then I'll readjust again.
Dianne, I'm glad things are picking up for you. I hope it does for me too. The recession hit everyone hard.
Jenny, homeownership can sometimes be overrated LOL! My wife informed me today that our water bill quadrupled this month. That means this weekend I have to dig up another water leak in the yard in triple digit heat, instead of paint.
see you can't worry about the economy, because if people don't have a job, they are not buying art or any other luxury. your targeting those with money, so raising your prices is a good thing. but if your only doing shows, and most of your work is 30" or tall, most people are not going to carry this thing around with them, it might not fit in the car, and they may not be able to visualize the huge thing on their walls. many don't have the space for a large thing like that. you have have smaller things - something that can fit in a shopping bag.
then in your booth you can tell people you also sell prints of different sizes if they don't want to buy an original, and you have other originals in the store so they can take their time. you set up cards to tell them this. and this is another way you sell things. since it's no extra work for you i still don't see why your so against the idea of selling prints. forget about your decision, you won't know until you try. and not selling them you don't know if they won't sell if you don't keep them there longer.
like right now there are a number of people who don't have jobs, yet i raised my prices and have been selling more. i'm sure there is a tipping point which is why i inch slowly up when i raise things. not everyone can afford these things. but i raise them because i work hard and it's time consuming and it's my salary. 1 out of 50 people will complain about a price... and oh well.
Whether or not you sell prints on a POD site or not, selling prints and licensing your work is part of the revenue stream for artists. If you don't make reproduction quality scan or photographs of your work and are successful in selling originals you will end up with your work scattered all over and you will lose all residual income from that work, which is important for any artist of any type.
The idea that people that are cash strapped are going to buy your work if you reduce the prices is absolutely false. Cash strapped people buy prints. Rich people but originals, And the rich are getting richer. Lowering prices will not get you more noticed by them. Raising prices might.
Frankly you give up way to easily. And you have a bit of a high expectation for POD working in such a short time with only 35 things for visitors to choose from. I have been at this game for nearly 4 years, and have over a thousand images for sell at various sites. Does it get any easier with that many? Somewhat, but I am not making a killing. Figure I need alot more before I can make a real go of it, especially without really pushing the marketing.
And the reason I push prints, has nothing to do with POD. Prints of paintings were around long before the Internet, to solve a very basic reality of market demand, and artist survival. Only one person can own an original, but an infinite number can own a copy. And there are far more people out there that want a copy of a painting, who for practical reasons can't own the original (ie because its someone else's property), or can't afford the cost of the original.
Take a marketing lesson from Thomas Kinkaid on this one. There are books, postcards, prints, and who knows what else of his stuff. Thousands if not millions own a piece of his vision. That would never happened if all he ever did was sell his originals to a handful of rich people that could afford a one of a kind. And Thomas' heirs would be poorer for it.
And I would personally never be a painter if I didn't have the ability to maximize my profit from each painting created. Far more time goes into the average painting then goes into a photograph. And there is a lot more risk if you don't produce something people want.
Wouldn't be worth it to me if I could only sale it to one person, especially when I have to go through the effort of finding the one person that will spend enough money on it for me to recoup all the time and expense that went into its creation.
Okay, Iiterally speaking I am raising this discussion to the top of the forum! ;) lol I need some
advice. I am currently haggling with a customer about purchasing one of my new paintings,
"Fler De Lis Mermaid", acrylic on stretched canvas, 8.5 x 11 inches. My asking price
$150.00. The buyer wants to purchase it for $100.00 I had originally sent him back an
email saying, $125.00. I did not hear back from him, waited two weeks & just sent him
an email asking if he was still interested. He shot me back an email said Yes, but
can only afford to pay $100.00. I need money. What should I do? See the link below:
if you really need the money then sell it to him if you think its worth it. but underselling yourself just because some guy wants to haggle the money from you - if they do that each time you'll lose. maybe for this one you let it go for that price, then raise your prices so at least if they haggle something at $250, and get it for $200 - they think they've won something.
Genevieve -- you say "I can see you like the painting and I want you to have it. Here's what I will do. This painting is $150. For that price I'll send you the painting AND I'll also send you a signed artist's certificate for $50, which you may use toward purchase of any of my other paintings. I'll make it good for six months. Does that work for you?"
@Mike: i don't want to undersell myself, you're right. Let me think this one over. =) I actually did raise the prices on my paintings before the customer saw this, so I may just go for the $100.00. I do need money right now too.
@Dan: I like your selling tool! Very good advice!!! I will think this one over also. I just might do this. Lots of things to think about here! =)
Thank you so much gentlemen for your time and attention. It is greatly appreciated!!! =)
Gary, I will never have thousands of images to sell. This year I have 35. Next year I will have 45. The following year 55. A photographer can take 500 photos during an outing. I am lucky if I can create one painting. In fact, I will be lucky if I create 500 paintings in my entire lifetime. A good painting can take weeks or months to create, for me at least. Out of the 10 paintings I create in a year, maybe one or two will be spectacular, maybe three or four will be decent, and the rest will be meh. That is my reality as an artist.
if you make them large and detailed then it will take a while. if you make them smaller, it should be faster. also don't assume that just because a photographer takes a lot that we edit a lot, or that we edit really fast. it might take me a few hours to a day to do one. if you didn't make 30" paintings and made the same thing at a 12x16 - how long would that take? but even if it is slow, that's why you offer your art in other forms. as long as the customer likes it - who cares if you think it looks dark, that might be the reason they bought it.