Friday, July 6, 2012

The Economy is getting better! Oh, Really?

Two more galleries in downtown Fort Myers are closing. The monthly Art Walk has been a huge success for shops and restaurants, but it has drawn more art admirers than buyers; a definite sign that the economy is still in a slump.

Some galleries are doing better than others. The ones located on the main thoroughfares adjacent to shops and restaurants are holding their own which indicates it’s all about location, location!

I personally have done better online than I’ve ever done in a show. The audience is larger and more widespread. When you’re in a booth on the street or a gallery, viewers and buyers must come to you. If the weather is bad your audience is limited. If you have a local fan base, you may get “sympathy” buyers who purchase a few cards or prints to butter up your ego, but token sales do not pay the rent.

My major sales have come either from commission or by contact from a buyer who has viewed my artwork online. I don’t have to haul my paintings to a site and worry about scratches or damage. I don’t have to set up a display. I don’t have to battle the wind, the heat or the rain. I’ve met some wonderful people who were looking for something specific and found me through their own personal search.

Don’t get me wrong. If the timing and location are right, I’ll battle the elements with the best of them. But if I had my druthers, I’d take selling online any day. Yes, there is something to be said for personal contact. When a buyer sees and talks with the artist before a purchase, it makes a personal connection that may lead to repeat sales and a friend. However, in our technological savvy world, emails and Skype can do the job just as well.

The most important part of any transaction comes in keeping your word and delivering what you promise. Promptness and follow through trumps the handshake of yesteryear and confirms your professionalism. Then as now, quality still holds the key to repeat business and devoted followers.