Monday, February 20, 2012

My first year selling art is over!

My first year as an artist, selling my work online, has come and passed.  In my first year selling my art I had: 38 new customers in 27 states and 3 international customers. This isn't counting the dozen repeat customers or those in KS :). Yeah! Not too shabby.

The lessons that I learned were learned the HARD way!  I thought I would share some of the wisdom that I picked up.  These should apply whether you are selling on Etsy, Yardsellr, or anywhere else.

Loyalties misplaced:

Don't be loyal to a business if they aren't up to your standards consistently.  I am a very loyal person, and I try to understand some mistakes.  But this wasted money, and was disappointing in the end.  I wanted to give my dollars to a local business and they weren't even there for me when they printed and item incorrectly.  They wanted me to pay double!  Their prices weren't discounted very much, there were too many employees, and not enough attention to detail.

How I fixed it:
Instead I called a local blueprint business (Topeka Blueprint), and asked some intensive questions.  They met AND exceeded my expectations.  I now make more of a profit from my prints, have quality service, and can talk to the same people every time I go in.

Handle with Care:

I sold a canvas painting for a little under $100.  Packed it up in an old box, making sure it was very safe from damage... and the shipping was TREMENDOUS!! ($60-$70).  Of course, I wasn't given any tips by the postal worker when I could've fixed this very easily.  When a tall and narrow box is shipped it isn't alot, as long as its not over 4 inches wide.   Umm ya... that was a $40 mistake.

How I fixed it:
I now tape a piece of cardboard over the front of the painting, then tape cardboard around the package.  This has been successful, no breakages and no extraordinary shipping costs! (just a little more money spent on tape!)  Also, any prints that I sell I pay for on Paypal.  Larger Items and International items are Much cheaper as a walk-in post office customer.  Priority mail boxes aren't a good idea unless your items is heavy, such as candles or glass.  (Anything else should be thrown in a big envelope or cardboard.)

Overall tips: 

Give your customers a return discount, repeat customers are awesome.  People would rather pay $10 for something than $5 plus  $5 shipping.  If you can do something custom for a customer.. do it.  And last of all, remember that online sales are not face to face.  Be overly nice and accommodating to avoid any misinterpretation.

That's all I have for now... please let me know if you have any tips that you've learned the hard way :)  We'd like to save some frustration too!