What Would You Do to Sell More Art?

By Carolyn Edlund

Take a look at your sales strategies.

I’ve spoken with several artists lately who are broadening their offering to increase sales, and feel that it is necessary to keep their businesses viable.  Perhaps you are rethinking some strategies for your own art business.

Are you exclusively selling originals? Have you increased your price point spread by working smaller, or offering collections in various price ranges? Have you considered selling prints, either open or limited edition? Would you consider selling images of your work on other products, such as t-shirts or mugs, via Print on Demand websites?


"Gringo Beach" courtesy of Kara Rane


Other artists are thinking in terms of changing their marketing and sales strategies, rather than their body of work. Some are frustrated with fairs and festivals, seeking wholesale markets or trying their luck online. What’s your experience?

The market is in a huge transition, fueled by economic changes and the internet revolution. How are you changing and creating ways to increase your sales opportunities?



  1. Great question Carolyn! This is exactly the problem we are solving at Meylah…we have created the ability for artists create their own online store and also to connect those stores virtually to each other and create online marketplaces so they can sell together with their chosen peers. This innovative online platform with the power of community and working together can and does increase an individual’s sales opportunities.

    • Thanks, Jason. It’s the number one problem that my clients have when they seek a consultation. They feel that as artists they have great creative skills, but it’s those strategies to market and sell that trip people up all the time.

      You offer a great service, and one that readers should definitely check out! Thanks for all the help you give artists. That’s why I’m a regular reader at Meylah!

  2. I just opened an Etsy shop (as in TODAY!). I’ve ordered a few things from vistaprint and may broaden my items to those that vistaprint and other online printers offer…pens, mugs, etc. I’ve tried CafePress and Zazzle, but I either lack the marketing know-how or the items just don’t excite customers. I’m hoping Etsy will be a great one stop shop. It’s a work in progress. 😉

    • Etsy IS vast, and they do put on a lot of webinar-type training to help new vendors there. I would suggest that you get involved with some discussion groups as well to get input on how to be successful there.

      I’m currently running an Etsy group for The Arts Business Institute, where we discuss growing beyond Etsy, including wholesale topics and also retailing at shows and fairs. Please join us!

  3. I’m glad I came to the site to read the comments today. I’ll be checking out the Etsy group for sure. I’ve had an Etsy shop for quite a while with very little sales, but I’m starting to re-invest in it because it’s taken the back burner for a while now. I closed my ArtFire shop due to no sales after 6 months. I have opened up a FineArtAmerica.com gallery with different items from my Etsy and wonder if that is a good idea or not. I guess time will tell. I love the idea of them doing all the work besides the actual creating!

    I haven’t heard of Meylah but like I said, I’m glad to check the comments and will see what it is all about.

    Thanks Carolyn for all the great articles you provide. I learn a lot and find all kinds of links with possibilities. Your site is a goldmine!

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments, Jaime. I look forward to your request to join on the Etsy group page.
      I can’t say whether you will be succcessful on Fine Art America, although I know it is a well-respected site and quite a few artists use it. Currently, I am working with an artist who has a gallery on FolioTwist.com. It’s very easy to use, and they do guarantee traffic.
      Good luck with your gallery!

  4. Great ideas but keep in mind that this is not art as traditionally considered….this is craft.If you put images on teacups for a living you are a craftsperson.That is fine…..I have a Zazzle store where I hope to place my tea cups.But I only can hope that history does not judge me too harshly.
    I would rather paint and give my tea cups away as party favors.

    • It certainly isn’t traditional art! These days artists are using many formats, from originals to giclees to print-on-demand, and it’s fascinating to see the evolution of the market.

      I once spoke with an expert on giclee printing and he spoke about digital images and how they can be manipulated beyond what traditional mediums can do – and he speculated that at some point in the future we may be viewing images in ways we had never imagined.

  5. Carolyn,
    Your articles about building a cohesive body of work and your advice about not to underestimate ones own potential, gives a perspective and a sense of direction to go for emerging artists like me , who come from a totally different background and careers.
    Thank you.
    Nirmala Jetty

    • Nirmala, Thank you for your kind comments. I have walked in those shoes, and am happy to share my experiences – and to present the knowledge of the many experts I have been privileged to speak with.

      The art community is full of wonderful people who make this all worth it.

  6. My club is having an Unframed Sale. We will take our unframed painting to a local frame shop and try to sell them to the customers walking by in the shopping center. The frame shop does frame-on-demand for many things. We did it last year in another location and sold over 40 small to medium size paintings. This is known as guerilla marketing.

  7. Carolyn,
    Thank you for the info and explaining the logistics between retailing and wholesaling of art via Alysons art biz coach program. We have to get real at times regarding prices, especially us artists.
    Nirmala Jetty

  8. Yeah this is a good idea – I sell prints and gift items on Zazzle as well as original portraits. I find that I get the most sales though when I take part in discussion groups which can be time consuming but I guess being an artist is a labor of love!

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