Traditionally artists are used to selling their work through exhibitions and galleries, so how do paintings and prints translate into sales online? We talk to artist Kitty Cooper to find out how she sells and promotes her artwork, the benefits of using your own name as your business name and why the price of a painting needs to cover more than materials and time…
When and how did you start your business?
I started selling work online in 2012, but it was quite sporadic and I was learning a lot at the time about the kind of paintings I was making. I think as I’ve got more work online now and in a variety of places, sales have steadily picked up and I registered as a business this summer.
Did you consider your brand identity before you opened your Folksy shop?
I decided to use my name as the shop title as it’s quite traditional for artists, and using my own name makes it easier for people to search for my work online. I’ve moved towards ‘Kitty Cooper Art’ now, so it’s self-explanatory what I do. I have a font I use which is the same on all my shops and website, so hopefully that creates a consistent look and vibe.
How and where do you sell your work?
I sell work mostly online across various marketplaces but I’m moving toward selling more on my website too. I have tried local galleries but not had much success with that – I’ve had a few sales from exhibiting but not a lot. It’s always fun to do though, so I do exhibitions whenever I can. Online is best for me because I can be organised and have more control over what’s happening with the paintings and it’s easier to keep track of what’s going on.
What’s been your best-selling piece so far?
My sky paintings and cloudscapes are probably my bestsellers, and landscapes in general. It is pretty random though and a variety of work sells well. I guess as each piece is unique, it’s harder to categorise.
Have you got a method for working out your pricing?
I mainly price by time taken and materials used. Size can also come into it, or if it is a particularly successful piece. I am starting to find though that I need to put up my prices to cover all the other work that goes into it, like packaging, time spent online, marketing, updating the shops, admin, plus all the photography and organisation. It all takes a lot of time! I hope in due course I can increase my prices a little more and work toward going full-time.
Do you work to commission?
I tend to avoid commissions at the moment. I’d be more inclined to do a landscape one but I’ve refused a few portrait requests as I seem to work much better from inspiration. Sometimes commissions don’t work well for me! This may be something I try to work on in the future though.
What’s the hardest part about being an artist?
The hardest part about being an artist is probably how much I want to do it full time but that I’m not yet able to! I can’t think of much other than that though – it’s my ideal job!
Finally, what piece of advice can you give us on how to stand out from the crowd when selling online?
I think just doing what you’re passionate about will hopefully make you stand out because everyone is different and has a different perspective. Be genuine and look after your customers, because you can’t do it without them!