When I started selling my art 7 months ago, one of my marketing/sales strategies was to get my work up in local cafes or shops to increase my visibility. This last week I sold off all but 1 painting from a local cafe and I am pretty pleased. I have been trying to analyze what went RIGHT to make this happen and I have a few ideas. Here is what worked for me:
1. I cold-called about 10-20 places that I thought would be a good fit for hanging my art. I used a phone script and left a lot of voice messages. Luckily I heard back from a bunch of shops.
2. Of the people who got back to me, I made sure that the owners did not want to take any commission and I visited the cafes to see if there was a lot of traffic. I also asked if prior artists had sold much artwork.
3. Just Go For IT! I was nervous for my first cafe set up being "perfect" but I knew I had to just get my stuff out there. The first place I chose was a cute cafe with a lot of traffic but I didn't sell anything. This was because of the cafe location - a student/younger adult neighborhood. I don't think people at this particular cafe had money OR owned homes. Definitely choose a place in a neighborhood filled with people who are 35 plus and own homes.
4. Learning through trial and error: I committed to staying at the first cafe for only 1 month. This was a good decision since I didn't have any sales and was able to move on quickly. I was able to learn a lot about how to display the art, the materials I would need and the time it takes. (Email me if you want more info on the set up process.)
5. Location is everything: My second location was an Ice Cream Shop called The Daily Scoop. Good things about this location: in an artsy neighborhood, in a neighborhood with homes, (not apartments), shop has a retro/crafty vibe and is known for displaying local art.
Photo Credit: David Olender
6. Self promotion on-site: I bought a plastic business card/flyer display at Staples and used it to display cards and a personal flyer (with info on my blog, etsy site, website, and a photo).
7. Success! Sure enough, at this new location, I have sold 7 out of 8 paintings that were displayed. My prints did not sell but I am finding that people want original, affordable art for their homes.
8. Follow up - I have contacted all the people who purchased my art at The Daily Scoop and have received additional sales from these collectors!
All in all, finding a good location is KEY to sales success at a cafe. The above steps worked for me and I'd love to hear what has worked for you! If you have any questions about the steps, please email me for details! Luckily I found a hot spot and I hope that it continues to be a profitable location. If not, I'll be sure to chronicle what NOT to do in a future post. :-)