Artists Reaching Global Markets

Dora Ann Hatch  |  3/25/2010 7:56:05 PM

Dora Ann Hatch is the LSU AgCenter's Area Community Rural Development Agent in the North Central Region

This article originally ran in the Ruston Daily Leader on October 27, 2009.

Artists are online selling a variety of items. Some sell quilts, paintings, metal work, glass, jewelry, toys, furniture, fiber, needlework, basketry and much more.

The artisan population contributes more than $13.8 billion to our annual economy. Research shows that 60 percent of an artist’s sales are from their home state. Most of these sales are made through craft fairs and festivals.

Globally, 445 million people use the Internet; in the United States, 70 million use the internet. People ages 35-54 make up the largest group of shoppers in the United States.

Many businesses have found the Internet useful in reaching new markets. Gary Weeks, owner of Gary Weeks and Co. Furniture Makers says, “The Internet has been the source of much of our business. Patrons find us in a search of rocking chairs.”

As all business owners know, marketing is costly. However, through the use of online strategies businesses can save money and increase their volume of marketing. Here’s how:

  • Create an online portfolio showing your art. It is possible to display more work online than at tradeshows, fairs, festivals and art shows. Online displays allow customers to study the art piece, show it to others, and make their decision without pressure. When potential buyers share your portfolio with others they are expanding your market base.
  • Tell your artisan story online. Customers are not just buying a work of art, they are buying a piece inspired by someone. Buyers are interested in your story. How did you get started? What was your inspiration? How long have you been an artisan? Answers to these questions help brand your work.
  • Use the Web site as a tool to work faster. E-mail a photo of a completed work of art, or e-mail photos showing the progress of a commissioned piece instead of using traditional forms of mailing or delivery. This eliminates costs and builds a relationship between the buyer and you.
  • Network with other artisans and suppliers through e-mail, instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, or blogging. Networking can create new venues for your works of art. It can also connect you to new and cost-saving suppliers.

Artists can also find online assistance. This Web site has loads of information on how and why you should start an online artisan Web site.

For more information, please contact me.

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