Holiday Shopping Starts Now. Are You Ready?

by guest blogger Mckenna Hallett




Are you ready?

The holiday season will be here in a snap. Are you going to bundle up some great gift ideas, put together a campaign, and capture multiple sales for your art business? You can do this.

You may think that you can’t compete with the giant chain stores with their millions of dollars spent on massive ad campaigns, but you would be wrong. There is a growing movement to buy original and handcrafted art from North American Artists. And buying from local small businesses has its own shopping day, Small Business Saturday. Consider having an open studio on that day!

This movement to support small businesses is growing and is even gaining some traction in other countries around the world. And while that day is not as well known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is easy to get yourself on the shopper’s gift buying list with a little brainstorming and planning. It could mean many hundreds of dollars for many of you reading this.

It never hurts to try.

If you have anything that would qualify as “gift priced” that can be replicated easily and is easy to ship, you should pull out your calendar and if needed, put in a call your webmaster or cyber-mentor.

What is that price? For most of you, it’s the same amount you are likely to spend on your friends and family: $35 to several hundred dollars. Yes, that is a big range, but if parents are willing to spend $500 on an X-box, who’s to say they won’t spend a few hundred on your art for their spouse?

Let the shopping begin!

Holiday shoppers are in thinking mode and putting their loved ones on lists and setting up budgets. You know this because you are probably doing it, too. Certainly, many are waiting for certain purchases when the sales hit the big boxes, but that doesn’t mean they won’t want more personal and meaningful gifts to give this year.

Not sure if you have that “gift” price point? You might have time to put something together:

  • Giftwrap – consider using cloth/light canvas. But more affordable is hand painted paper or paper printed with your art. That becomes a gift all on its own!
  • Judaica subjects
  • Smaller original paintings
  • Open edition prints
  • Calendars, gift cards, and other accessory items are hugely popular as gifts and also get your work exposed to an entirely new network who might want to own your originals. Hurry to your local printer or online producer.

This is a very short list. But you don’t have time to read the long list of possibilities. At the time of publication, Thanksgiving is just three weeks away. Get your email lists together. (This is not a Facebook project, nor can you tweet this kind of personal invitation.) Your subscribers are thinking about gifts and you have gifts. Don’t let them down. Be on their radar. And be in their inbox. You can follow up with social media, but start with your email list where your collectors have volunteered to hear from you and you can have their undivided attention as loyal subscribers.

But first, get your holiday gifts page up and running on your website. If you don’t have one, get a shopping cart set up. (My favorite is Square Market – it’s free and very Fine Arts and Crafts oriented.)

Curate your collection and be sure to include your higher-end work as well. If possible, have a cross section of price points, different age groups and so forth. Your collectors may have a big list and you might be able to fill several gift needs. There is a growing trend among couples to not shop for each other. Many now indulge in a “Household” gift to enjoy together and to avoid the “who-bought-who-the-best-gift” syndrome. One of your collectors might just finally want to indulge themselves in a more valued piece from your studio.

While smaller price tags are the focus this time of year, anything is possible when you are in a trusted relationship with your collectors. They want to buy your work. They want to support your career; it’s why they remain as subscribers to your emails! Honor them by making sure they hear from you at least three times between now and the New Year and help them find the perfect gift. They will be grateful for your contact especially if they can just click and buy!


Artist and Marketing Guru Mckenna Hallett has a successful studio business. She works with artists to supercharge their marketing and grow their businesses.


Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Click below to sign up for our twice-monthly email. You’ll get all this plus opportunities and special offers that you can’t get anywhere else!

Sign Up For Updates!


  1. Square Market. I have never heard of the marketplace until now although I have a Square account. Their site looks clean and organized, and I like it. Maybe I should try putting some of my works there too.

    Thank you very much for the great post!

  2. Thanks for the compliment! It’s a subject I am very busy proselytizing right now!

    AND yes… Keiko, do investigate Square Market and put it to work for you. It’s totally free and automatically there for you if you have the square reader. If anyone reading this wants to use the site, just sign-up. You do not need to have or even ever use the reader. I use it for my wholesale jewelry business and I have a separate account for my consulting practice. In both cases, I have never used the reader. You can even send invoices, so if someone calls and wants to make a purchase, just create an invoice in square market and send that. They pay online and you get the confirmation and voila – the 2.75% is ALL the fee ever will be.

    For anyone who is scrambling to get something on line for the holidays – just do this for now and build the rest of your online presence over time.

    GOOD photos! The competition requires pro-quality. It’s a gorgeous site.

    Let me know if you need help with it. I have put up dozens of items for many of my clients.

  3. Fantastic advice. Thank you! I’m not ready for Small Business Saturday this year but will be opening up my studio for a Collectors Open House the following weekend. Still, your post helped make me realize that while my Home Studio isn’t open for business that day, my online shop can be! With more purchases needed to meet my 2014 revenue goal, following your lead just might be the ticket to get there.

    Do you have any recommendations for printers for gift wrap and other high quality products derived from 2D art?

    Thanks again!

  4. I don’t have any specific source, Jill. But the google machine is right above – LOL. Maybe someone reading this can provide some links?

    But there are companies that will print on just about anything. Quantities are another issue. Good prices come with volume ordering. You need to have a long term marketing plan and make sure your items are not too “seasonal”. You need fast turnaround, so that may limit you this late in the game or you may have to pay a premium for rush delivery.

    However, if you “package” your offer properly and present it well, you may be able to get the right profit margin on gift wrap created by a local printer – with no shipping, it could happen faster.

    Make your own? One artist I know got the “end rolls” from her local newspaper and created her own with big sponge “stamps” using her “colors”. She just kept unrolling and stamping. It was quick and simple. She sold a 5 sheet package for $20. She signed each one and put her website on each and encouraged re-using. She said she actually got a small sale. The person loved her wrapping and went to her site.

    You could also use brown wrapping paper – it comes in rolls and is cheap (and more durable). Just think big stamps or even rollers. Think fast and make sure it’s quick drying!

Speak Your Mind