Be Where Your Buyers Are

One of my clients, Anna, recently tried to sell her photographs at a concert that one of her friends held at a hotel.  Anna‘s friend, Johnny has a small jazz band and was able to get his band booked for gig at the bar/lounge inside the hotel. Johnny also asked the hotel if they could have friends sell art and crafts in the lounge area.  The hotel approved as long as it was kept to a small space.  Johnny told Anna that other artists and crafts people were invited to sell their art there, and thought Anna‘s photos would be a great fit.  Anna and one other artist showed up.   Anna did not sell a single piece of artwork.  Neither did the other artist.  Anna felt defeated by the whole ordeal; especially given she already had a history of insecurity when it came to displaying her artwork.

I tried to put it into perspective for her.  First of all, 7pm on a Sunday night inside a hotel bar is not the ideal time or place for an art show.  I tried reassuring her that the reason why she didn’t sell any of her work had nothing to do with the quality of her photographs.  The venue was simply wrong.

Secondly, the hotel and her friend, Johnny, did nothing to promote that there would be any artwork.  The main event was the music.  Johnny was not the only act of the night; two other musicians performed.  The hotel website made no mention of the artwork.

I suggested to Anna that she needed to focus on getting her artwork to where the buyers are.  For example, if she wants to sell her photos for $200 a piece, a college coffee shop that’s next door to a taco shop is probably not the best location.  An upscale organic restaurant, however, might be a better fit, and expose her to the right people.  An art festival might be a better venue than… oh… I don’t know, a hotel bar?  Actually, any place would be better than a hotel bar.  That is unless you were selling photos of jazz singers at the Blue Note in New York.  Even that might be a stretch.

Anna has a limited budget and limited time.  It’s best if she focused her energy on where her buyers are, rather than where they aren’t.

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