Make Your Art More Collectible

by Carolyn Edlund

Increase repeat sales by creating art that inspires collectors to buy again and again.


Display of jewelry designer Mckenna Hallett's collection


Does your art or handmade work fall into the “collectible” category? Use these strategies to add appeal and sales:

Build on a natural theme

Do you have a really cohesive body of work that naturally fits into a niche? Reach out to fans who want to own work that reflects their hobby or interest. Painter Shannon Fannin’s portfolio is focused on vintage cars, and would appeal to any auto buff with a penchant for old autos. Why choose only one, when there are so many? Just keep collecting! If the work you sell just naturally goes together, you might want to sell them as a bundle – a diptych, triptych, or other set – and bump up the ticket on your sale.

Mix and match

When your collection has common elements that run through it, many times you don’t have to be so matchy-matchy and customers can collect with abandon. Jewelry designer Mckenna Hallett makes necklaces, earrings and other pieces out of old radiators, roof flashing, and upcycled junk. She offers a variety of pieces that work well together, depending on the customer’s preference. She doesn’t have to worry about selling part of a set without having a replacement.

Work in a series

There are all types of series to create, stemming from one underlying theme. This can range from a large-term project, such as Matt Beard’s paintings that document the entire coastline of California, to a smaller project using variations on a theme. You might want to create multiple series to appeal to different segments of your market.

Make your art in a modular size

When your work is all in the same size and shape, it’s just natural that they are perfect in a grouping, which could be purchased at once or over time. A common size also adds flexibility, which could mean that your work can be displayed vertically, horizontally, or in another arrangement. Depending on your collector and the space they have for display, they can acquire as many pieces as they want or need.

Limit your editions

Add urgency into the mix and command a higher price when you make only a limited number of pieces for collectors to buy. When you retire a design, single pieces can skyrocket in value if they come up for sale again.

Stagger releases

Customers always want to know “What’s new?” and releasing work in your series on a regular basis (but not too often) adds excitement and anticipation. You might want to continue older themes, or introduce whole new collections that will be in a series.

Stay in touch with buyers

When your art is inherently collectible, it leads to repeat sales. Repeat business grows business, and that’s good news to an entrepreneur who has collectible work for sale. But you must stay in touch with your customers to share your newest work and encourage collecting. This can be done with email marketing, direct mail, social media, and other marketing methods. Make it a priority to reach out to your existing customers and bring them back for the next sale.



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