Recently, I sat down with Nancy from Small Impressions to discuss how she got started out on Etsy and the secret to her success over the past 11 years.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS
I create 2-D art using a variety of materials. While most of my works on Etsy are small oil paintings, both representational and abstract, I also create works using acrylic, gouache, and mixed media. I love to play with color, texture, and composition.
I began selling my work online in 2007 though I have been creating art most of my life. Etsy was my first online venue and remains my favorite.
ANY ADVICE FOR ARTISTS SELLING ON ETSY
My advice for people starting on Etsy is to anticipate that it will take time and effort to grow your business. I’ve talked to a lot of people who don’t realize that it isn’t enough to just post some work on line or in your shop. It requires time and effort to promote your product. Be patient and consistent. Read and learn. Don’t give up.
DO YOU SELL ANYWHERE ELSE?
I have sold my work both on and off line, but online sales remains my favorite venue. Currently, in addition to Etsy, I sell prints through Pixels nancy-merkle.pixels.com and larger original landscape paintings through Ugallery at www.ugallery.com/artist/nancy-merkle.
In the past I have sold at brick and mortar galleries but have come to prefer online sales.
For several years I had my work displayed in a furniture shop that specialized in one of a kind handmade wooden furniture in a high traffic Seattle tourist destination. There was good foot traffic and I sold quite a few paintings, but I didn’t like the high commission, the additional cost of framing, or the time and expense of transportation to the venue. I found that I could sell the same work online and not incur the extra expenses involved with the venue. Eventually I chose not to continue the relationship.
HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR CLIENTS?
I’m not sure that I discovered my clients, it seems more that they have discovered me. I actively share my work on social media and try to make sure that my SEO is well executed and functions effectively both on Etsy and in Google searches.
HOW DO YOU PRICE YOUR ART
When I establish my prices, I calculate based on a linear inch formula (length x width x $). I price my work so that it is in the middle range with my competitors. Usually I list shipping separately, but I am experimenting with some changes that include shipping in the sales price. I’m not sure yet what direction I will go with this option.
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS OF WORKING ON COMMISSION
I seldom work on commission anymore. When I did work on commission, I learned that it was important to ask for a large percentage of the sales price up front, usually half at the start of the commission and the other half after completion. Without the upfront commission, people sometimes will change their minds and you could end up with a painting that might not be sellable. Also, I recommend that if a client asks for changes after the painting is begun, there is a charge attached. Without that I discovered that there are some clients who would ask for a continuous stream of changes.
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