February 28, 2010

Finding richer customers


(Some more sketches for my portfolio, which is almost ready for submission to the Academy of Art! I feel like I should add one still life in there, just to break things up a bit, but I haven't had the motivation to sit down and draw a bunch of stuff. I like drawing people, not stuff. On Saturday I'm going to the Academy's Open House event in San Francisco, where they'll show student work and have workshops and cool stuff like that. I'll take pictures and post them here.)

This is kind of embarrassing to admit online, but I'm going to be completely honest here. Since raising my prices last year, my Etsy business has come to quite a standstill. People seem to like my artwork, but no orders are coming in. Since I'm getting more promotion than last year, logically this leaves me with two conclusions:
  1. My prices are too high
  2. My customers are too poor.
As for #1, I think my prices are pretty reasonable. After taxes, I make about $15 per hour and my prices are similar to what other portrait artists charge. (Some people tell me I'm underpriced, even.)

Therefore, I need to reach a higher-income market - people who have $100-$200 to spend on anniversary and birthday gifts, such as my drawings. My target market would be high-income mothers and grandmothers. Communities of mothers and grandmothers are easy enough to find online, but how do I locate higher-income ones?

This has been much on my mind lately.


  1. One thing you may want to do is to start by "giving" away a few drawings on other blogs. It always draws traffic and promotes your work.
    I know your work will soon have a demand and you will be able to command a higher price. It takes time and patience and lots of "want!"

  2. Hang the higher-income ones outside and let the sand blast them clean.

  3. Have you considered doing a juried craft show? They tend to bring in people who are willing to spend more for a quality product. I know it can be frustrating but don't give up!

  4. the classic artisan struggle! don't ever doubt that your work is amazing and worth every penny! times are tough, but don't compromise! sending you good vibes that things will pick up (for all of us!) :D

  5. I know exactly what you mean, pricing is so difficult - and I have been going through a slow time too. It's kind of depressing after being so busy all through the holiday season...


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