by Carolyn Edlund
The other day, while my husband and I were walking our dogs in the park, we met a young man with a really unusual and impressive bicycle. We couldn’t help but stop and speak with him about it.
What kind of bike was this? We’d never seen anything like it. The cyclist explained that it was made of carbon fiber, a material that is light, strong and nearly indestructible. We took a closer look, amazed at its construction and appearance.
“How much does a bicycle of this type cost?” my husband inquired.
“I paid $13,500 for it,” he responded, beaming.
Turns out that this passionate (and incredibly fit) young man was a triathlete. A big smile lit his face as he shared with us highlights of the sport and his experiences participating in triathlon events.
This extraordinary cyclist is a perfect example of a niche consumer. He’s proud to have spent tons of money for his bike and other gear. He is focused on an activity that he pursues with intense interest, which he finds pleasurable, challenging and satisfying. Cycling is more than a sport to him; it is a lifestyle.
Niche markets are excellent places for artists to find passionate customers, to whom money is not often a factor when making acquisitions that reflect their strong interests. These markets come in many flavors. Sports niches are common, ranging from football and baseball to tournament fishing, equestrian sports, duck hunting, and much farther afield.
Whether you cater to people who are interested in music, pets, fashion, dance, or any of thousands of other possibilities, selling art to customers in these niches is big business and offers big opportunities.
Some niches are broad (for example the Christian marketplace is over $4 billion per year) and some are very narrow, but all have possibilities for creative entrepreneurs who want to connect and do business with avid buyers.
Artists who sell their work into niche markets have several advantages:
- They can easily find where their customers congregate, publications and blogs that they read, and events that they attend.
- They can charge higher prices for their work to buyers who already have a keen interest and are willing to pay for artwork related to what they love.
- They have the opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond, gaining name recognition more easily, or possibly being the only artist who specializes in a small niche.
- They can use their own authentic interest in a niche to drive the emotional connection they make with potential collectors.
- They can become strategic partners with others in the niche to help promote each other to the same audience.
- They can easily network within their niche, driving referral business.
Does your art clearly fit into a niche? How has this enhanced your opportunities and sales?
Artwork credit: Mark B. Hill