Sell Your Customers on Value

By Carolyn Edlund

What your customers can tell you about where you fit in the marketplace.


Handmade clothing booth with shopper

Artist credit: Nellie Rose Textiles


Your artwork has value. Not everyone will appreciate that value, however. In fact, most members of the American public don’t buy original art or prints, or purchase handcrafted items. Let’s put those people into the category called “not your customers.”

That’s OK, because it’s important to narrow down and define those target customers who fit the bill and who value what you have to offer. I like to suggest to artists that they do some “retail research” to find their ideal customer and make a profile. This might include exhibiting at art and craft fairs, opening your studio to the public, or connecting with interested prospects who visit your website and getting to know them better.

The profile you make of your target customer may include gender, marital status, age, profession, or where they live. What are their interests? Are they passionate about a cause that you support with your work? What do they share in common with you?

Talk to the people who visit your studio or walk into your booth. Your conversations with people considering your art should be 30% talking and 70% listening.  Why are they attracted to your work? What do you have to offer them that they find appealing?

  • Could it be the nostalgic images you paint, your theme, or calming beautiful color palette?
  • Does your jewelry make a knockout fashion statement that suits their personality?
  • Are your images related to a sport they love?
  • Does your work appeal to their off-beat sense of humor?
  • Do they love the fact that you can customize a portrait of their family?

Art and craft has value in and of itself. It takes talent and ability to make what you make. Don’t ever sell yourself short or make apologies for your work. If you are not confident, work hard to develop your skills and create a cohesive body of work you are happy with and proud to display.

Then – get out there and make connections. Meet people and pay attention to conversations. Find out where your work fits in the art world. You will undoubtedly find out a lot of places where your work doesn’t fit, but that’s valuable too. As you begin to define your target customer, and what they care about, sell your customer on what they value when presenting your work.



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  1. I have found that defining my audience (buyer) has come gradually, after showing and selling my work at over 50 art fairs and after painting for many years. If you haven’t sold anything, how can you know? After all, you can only believe about 50% of what “lookers” tell you! lol
    #maineart #wildlifeart

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