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Where should I start if I want to earn money by selling my art?

I'm a 19 year old high school graduate, I love to create art, I'm a self taught artist. I'm saving up money to be able to pay for college, but what I earn is not enough. I want to sell my art but don't know where to start.

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Sarah’s Answer

Etsy is an excellent platform for selling art and other handmade items. Setting up your shop and selling directly from there is a breeze. Another fantastic option is the Facebook marketplace. Look for platforms that are budget-friendly and don't charge a lot for advertising or selling your products. Here's to your success!
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Andreina’s Answer

This could be your golden ticket to becoming a successful entrepreneur!
Just like you, my daughter is a talented artist. She's currently in the process of transforming her art into wearable items, home decorations, and accessories, and she's about to launch her own store. I'm thrilled to be able to assist her in managing it. As many have pointed out, you're in a fantastic position to leverage social media platforms. These platforms offer excellent and cost-effective options for marketing campaigns. For instance, a two-week promotional campaign on Facebook and Instagram in the US can cost as little as $14 to $100. The cost varies depending on how much exposure you want, the target audience, or how wide-ranging you want your campaign to be (like targeting people aged 18-65).
I hope this information is helpful to you!
Wishing you all the best on your journey!
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Ellen’s Answer

Hi Alejandra
Good question! I answered a similar question back in November 2023 for another student, please see it below. As you will see, selling art is a business, and it can take hard work and effort to make a profit. However, you seem to be very motivated, which is great! Best Wishes!
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Hi
Good question about starting an art business. And it is a business, and like all businesses, it takes hard work and effort to make it successful. You have a double role, in that you are the artist creating the art, plus you are also the business manager running the business. I am a retired art teacher, who started my art business to sell my artwork online and at art and craft fairs. It was more work than I had anticipated, but also very satisfying to be able to sell my own artwork. Here is what I suggest.

1. Keep in mind that running a business, even selling your art, is about the numbers. You want to make a profit, so you need to keep track of your expenses for art materials, art related supplies, booth or table fees for art or craft venues, commissions that galleries take (20-50 percent of the sale price), as well as the time that it takes you to create your artwork. Keep a record of all your art and art related expenses ( save the receipts and online orders records) and a record of your studio and art related time. You balance your expenses against your pricing, and hopefully there will be a profit there. There are lots of tutorials out there to help you. Etsy, the online marketplace site (where I sell some of my work), has an excellent section on pricing and other tutorials for beginning sellers.

2. You need to go to your state government website and find out about licensing your business, registering your business's name, and paying sales taxes. You will get a tax reporting number, which most art and craft fairs require in order for you to sell with them. Most states have a section on their state websites for small businesses and will help you understand what you need to do for your state. If you start making sales, you will also have to report your profit to the IRS and your state as income. You have to do this, it is not very fun nor glamorous, but necessary.

3. Visit galleries and art and craft fairs in your area and see what other artists and crafts people are selling, and to get a sense of the prices. You might talk to some of the vendors about selling; tell them you are thinking of selling your artwork; most vendors would be happy to give you some info and tips. See if there is some sort of art or craft guild or organization you could join in your area; such organizations often sponsor craft fairs and have experienced crafts people and artists who are usually very helpful to newcomers.

4. After you've looked around at venues, look at your own artwork and decide what you want to sell. Then think about how you want to present your artwork. Your artwork will need to be matted or framed, and you'll need to make price tags or labels for them. If you are matting your artwork, you'll need those clear cello bags to protect them and keep them fresh from people handling them. For booth set up, at the very least you'll need a table and some table easels, but also possibly some metal grids from which to hang your artwork. Tablecloths to cover the table are often required by craft fair organizers. If you want to sell outside, you'll need your own collapsable tent and weights, and again the craft fair will usually have other requirements. Most of them require those square white topped tents. You can get most if not all of the above from Amazon. The mats, frames, cellobags, price tag labels, tents, tables, and metal grids will all be additional expenses that you need to factor into your profit margin. But they can all be deducted from your income taxes as business expenses.

So, as you can see, selling your artwork can be involved in terms of planning, expenses and time. Other people may suggest to "sell your artwork" without realizing the effort and steps it takes. But don't be discouraged if this is something you really want to do, go for it. Be patient, as with most beginning businesses, turning a profit takes time. To start, I suggest you look around for local holiday craft fairs; many churches and schools sponsor them from September- December (but be aware applications are often due in the Spring). These smaller venues are often have less expense booth/table fees, and are a great way to get started.

Best wishes!
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Karin’s Answer

Hi Alejandra,

You got some terrific advice already.

Get on social media and establish your brand. Some people sell on Twitter or Instagram. You'll need to figure out how you want to present yourself. Long-term you could have your own website, e.g. on Wordpress, or Wix, to showcase your portfolio.

Look also for small coffee shops (independent coffee shops, not Starbucks) that have a bit of an original, artsy atmosphere. Some are happy to hang some of your pieces as decoration and mark them "for sale".

I have also seen hospitals that decorate the hallways with artwork "for sale" on rotation.

Doctors offices might be another opportunity to get your work out there while brightening up a place.

Good luck!

KP
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Annie’s Answer

Hi, Alejandra!

How exciting that you are using your art as not only a means of expression, but also as a potential way to fund your future education. As others have said, you can certainly sell online using social media or platforms like Etsy. Other ways to sell your work locally are to find small shops that you or your parents might know who would consider selling your artwork. Farmers markets and festivals are a great way to sell local art--but if you don't want to set up a booth or table you might consider partnering with someone else who already has one, and would be willing to allow you to put a few pieces in the booth. If your neighborhood allows it, you could have a Yard Art Sale. Collaborate with other students, put up posters around town, and publicize on social media. There are also contests and schools that offer scholarships and grants for student artists. Good luck and let those creative ideas flow!
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Alejandra !

What an exciting career you have and I would be glad to share some advice for you.

The best place to start would be consignment shops right there in Clifton. I have left a link of the shops for you below. I would suggest going to each one in person with your hard copy book portfolio to show the shop owner examples of what you'd like to consign. I know, it sounds like a lot of work, but it will be worth it.

Another way to sell your art work is through the internet, but that might be slow and you'd have to set up a Pay Pal account or something similar to that in order to receive payment. I've left a link for you below to some art selling platforms. Read the website carefully because you will become aware of what is involved and be well informed.

I want to suggest selling your art at Flea Markets locally, but especially the flea markets in New York City (Manhattan). Many eyes will see your art on display to purchase because all of the flea markets in Manhattan have very heavy traffic/attendance so your chances are very good to sell. Manhattan is about 22 miles from where you live so I would take advantage of this. The only down side is parking and fee for parking. Go with a couple of friends or family members if you do the Manhattan flea markets. I especially love the one in Chelsea.

When the weather gets better, another good way to sell your art would be to hold a general garage/tag sale at your home. Gather anything that you no longer want and sell it and your art and have a section of your art displayed at the tag sale. You never know who may want to buy your art. Call your local town hall to see if you are required these days to get a garage/yard/tag sale permit because many places are requiring a permit now.

I know I could come up with many more ideas, but I will just advise that you can take these active steps and enjoy the journey. Do not give up and if any friends or family are willing to assist you that would be a big help. I wish you all the best going forward with your plans !

P.S. There's a great website about how to price your art at the website Dark Yellow Dot (dot com) . I left a link to the page about it below.

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

CONSIGNMENT SHOPS https://www.yellowpages.com/clifton-nj/consignment-shops
WEBSITES TO SELL YOUR ART ON https://www.theoffbeatlife.com/sell-art-online/
MANHATTAN/NYC FLEA MARKETS https://www.amny.com/entertainment/things-to-do/nyc-flea-markets-you-need-to-visit-1-10479720/
NYC FLEA MARKETS - A COMPLETE GUIDE https://www.travelcroc.com/flea-markets-in-nyc/
CLIFTON NJ WEBSITE https://www.cliftonnj.org/ PRICING YOUR ART https://www.darkyellowdot.com/how-to-price-your-artwork/
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Vidhi’s Answer

You can try Etsy and pinterest. It is a great place. You also have to share that with your friends and family and do networking and meet new people.

You can put up videos of your art on Social media and gain engagements and followers and sell your small art business.

You can submit your art in local community gallery with contacting your city's official persons. And try contacting local shops and hotels which attract crowd.
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Angela’s Answer

Hi Alejandra,

Good question! That's great that you're interested in art. I like art too! First things first, you can start by setting up a shop on Etsy. Create a name for your shop that represents what you're selling. Take clear photos of the art that you want to sell. And post!

Now, how do you get people to want to buy your art? You're going to need to promote. By word of mouth and by social media.

Tell all your friends and family members that you have an Etsy shop. They will be your first supporters.

Create social media accounts that display your art. We're talking TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube. Learn how to do basic video editing. Show the process of creating your art, make art tutorials for new artists to follow along to. You can also make a Patreon so people can support you. It's going to take a bit of time to get followers, so the sooner you start the better. Start posting consistently everyday.

Use hashtags on your posts so people can find your work more easily. And you can even collaborate with other creators or friends.

Respond to as many comments that people leave on your page as possible. You want people to engage with you and be interested in what you're selling. Be interested in them and they will be interested in you! Try to post often and make a schedule for yourself. And most importantly, don't give up!

Best of luck,
Angela

Angela recommends the following next steps:

Take drawing requests from your supporters
Create a giveaway of one of your art pieces to generate excitement. You can do this after you hit a certain number of followers. Example: When you hit 100 followers you will do an art giveaway! Or art supply giveaway.
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