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  #1  
Old 07-05-2013, 09:46 PM
Karl Sanders Karl Sanders is offline
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ETSY

Hello,

It has been a long while sense I have posted here.
I have recently created an account on Etsy.com and have had a lot of traffic but no sales. I was wondering if anyone here has had luck with Etsy. If not is there an online site that is geared towards higher end bronze work that I am not aware of?

Thank you for any feedback in advance.

-Karl-
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  #2  
Old 07-06-2013, 04:06 AM
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mantrid mantrid is offline
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Re: ETSY

ive sold two small pieces in the first month but nothing for nearly a year
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  #3  
Old 07-06-2013, 12:47 PM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: ETSY

Etsy I felt was a waste of time, it seems to be geared more for the low totem pole craft and garage type sales not fine art.

I had my sculptures up there for months, not one sale or inquiry resulted.
Traffic can take many forms, including search engines and robots, "hit" counters are highly inaccurate, and as you discovered- loads of hits/traffic but no sales, I suspect the majority of the traffic was just robots and search engine spam sites etc.

As I remember they kept invoicing me for a one dollar fee for over a year after I closed my account and deleted everything.

Ebay is about the only real viable game around, the thing with Ebay is it is extremely well hooked up to Google, I've seen listings just an hour old already showing up in Google, this sounds good but it presents one big issue, namely if you have your work on your own web site trying to sell, Google picks up your items on Ebay and because of the numerous connections Google to Ebay- it seems to carry much greater results weight, thus, your Ebay stuff winds up at the top of the results list and your personal web site can wind up on page 47 of the results.
This seems to happen more with using the auction format because as each auction expires and is renewed BOTH expired and renewed listings are all indexed and retained in Google, I've seen Ebay listings in Google that had expired months before still showing up and skewing the search results for current items.

The effect of this is the search results are rigged in such a way inadvertantly by that, that the bulk of your sales will be on Ebay where you pay FEES instead of on your web site where you don't pay those fees, you are essentially competing against yourself with your fee based sales venue competing against your free venue, and the fee based one winning the war.

The other negatives about Ebay is, once people contact you through the Ebay messaging system, they continue to use that buggy insanely stupid web based system to communicate with you instead of replying to your email directly. If they purchase again, rather than just buying from your web site or directly, they go and use Ebay again and that costs you the money for the fees. Most of the people who buy on Ebay will only buy using that venue because they also want the feedback rating added, Ebay has come up with that great scheme of "positive feedback" numbers and it becomes a prize of sorts to build up the number and people get real obsessed with it even though it carries no actual rewards.

Ebay also does not allow you to accept checks/money orders (they own Paypal is why, they want everyone to use their fee based Paypal for payments)
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  #4  
Old 07-07-2013, 05:06 PM
Karl Sanders Karl Sanders is offline
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Re: ETSY

Ebay is the one venue I have not tried yet.

I have had a lot of hits on ETSY and people adding my work and shop to their favorite list. I think Bronze is just too high a price point.

Thank you for the feedback.

-Karl-
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  #5  
Old 07-07-2013, 05:48 PM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: ETSY

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl Sanders View Post
Ebay is the one venue I have not tried yet.

I have had a lot of hits on ETSY and people adding my work and shop to their favorite list. I think Bronze is just too high a price point.

Thank you for the feedback.

-Karl-
Oh yeah, plenty of lookie-loos but no one buying there, I have pieces on Ebay that have 20 or 30 "watchers" showing each on them but no sales on those for a year and a half.
Etsy is the kind of venue where someone might have $10.99 craft items they make in their spare time, xmas ornaments, collector plates, gifts etc., I don't feel it's any kind of venue for serious art, or foundry cast bronzes costing hundreds or thousands of dollars, it's like trying to sell a $2500 bronze at a small town flea market- plenty of folks ooh and ahh and love it but no one has the money.
If you go to the MAIN Etsy web page, you'l find stuff like this, hair buttons, earrings, handbags, soap, $14.95 headbands etc., the highest priced item here in the main page is the gold earrings and only because they are gold. If i was looking for an expensive bronze or quality artwork, Ithis would be the last place I would look, this should give you some idea what their focus is:



On the other hand, going to Google and searching for "bronze statue" looks what site comes up FIRST in the search results, it's NOT etsy, but several for EBAY, because like I said earlier, Ebay is extremely well hooked up to Google and I am sure there is some kind of fee based arrangement between them to put the ebay site up at the top of search lists:




I joined the National Sculpture Society a while back, and for a one-time $35 fee they put up a web page with 3 of your pictures, and a link to your web site from their web site.
That might be something to consider, you get their quarterly magazine, and having that $35 page is good too, you can promote your work a little with the statement that you are an associate member of the National Sculpture Society, sure can't hurt.

Ebay otherwise is about the only real viable game in town to make a broad base of sales and get exposure, it does work, it does have a few downsides to it but it generates sales- I just sold two odd pieces this week I just listed that hadn't been listed for several years there. Off Ebay I gained a client who was referred to me from an antique store back East for a $625 purchase, so word of mouth referrals happen too.

Last edited by Art-Deco : 07-07-2013 at 06:03 PM.
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  #6  
Old 07-08-2013, 11:36 AM
KatyL KatyL is offline
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Re: ETSY

I have been a little afraid of selling online. I think I will look into ebay as well. I am wondering what people think about pricing when using ebay?

I have been told by other art people that buyers do not like to see a different price either online or at a gallery. Gallery fees include something like 50% extra.

If I sold my work on ebay, I could price it at production cost X2 but at a gallery it would have to be production cost X4 due to the 50% mark up to pay the gallery fee.

So if I had a sculpture that cost me 550.00 to make, I could realistically sell it for 1100.00 (excluding shipping etc.) At a gallery the piece would need to sell for 2200.00 to make the same profit (which was 550.0)

My concern is that I want (and need to sell) but I also want to get with a good gallery within "my lifetime" hopefully no more than 3 years from now.

Will the difference in price make a problem when trying to shift to the gallery?
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  #7  
Old 07-08-2013, 08:16 PM
Karl Sanders Karl Sanders is offline
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Re: ETSY

Amazingly, I just sold my first piece on ETSY.

Thank you for all the great info.

Katy, I completely understand what you mean. All of my pieces have a set retail price with galleries in mind as well. I have been concerned that because of this my prices are to high. At the same time it is what it is and bronze is not cheap. I do think it would be a problem with a gallery if you have the same sculpture somewhere else for less.
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  #8  
Old 07-09-2013, 07:37 PM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: ETSY

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl Sanders View Post
Amazingly, I just sold my first piece on ETSY.
That's great, there's always one in the crowd of lookie-loos who will buy something, unfortunately as more of a fluke than anything it won't be a consistant sales thing there. You'd be better off on Ebay at least.
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  #9  
Old 07-12-2013, 06:10 AM
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tonofelephant tonofelephant is offline
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Re: ETSY

KatyL "Will the difference in price make a problem when trying to shift to the gallery?"

In a word Katy - yes it will make a difference. You should have only one retail price only - the gallery price, particularly when selling on line. In a world of internet "transparency" you must have consistent pricing. Otherwise you will be "outed" or more realistically not picked up by a gallery.

"So if I had a sculpture that cost me 550.00 to make, I could realistically sell it for 1100.00 (excluding shipping etc.) At a gallery the piece would need to sell for 2200.00 to make the same profit (which was 550.00)".

The way to look at pricing (not knowing anything about pricing bronze) is your cost is $550. You feel comfortable accepting $1100 from a gallery from which you have put in no marketing time into selling the bronze. The additional $1100, that is profit to the gallery, should be looked at as your expense to sell the bronze privately. This would include showing the bronze at exhibits, generating mailings, overhead (buying the clothes & getting dressed the part to show the bronze, eating to make more artwork, paying rent), etc.

Mack, who sells bronzes can help you with pricing. Pricing your work is what your audience needs to pay for your work for you to continue making artwork - not what you feel comfortable charging (ie. what you would pay for it personally or what the skinflint down the street will pay). You will always have potential clients clamoring at your door to buy your $550 bronze at your cost. They know what it costs & do not care about you or your costs. They are looking for a deal.

I have people stop by all the time ( my studio is open to the street) who see sculpture from the street. They love the color and the design & get amped up & want to buy a piece. When I tell them the retail price, they visibly flinch. They were hoping to pay $100 - 150 for the completed artwork not $2500. What they wanted to pay was the cost of the unworked-on rock alone - not the cost of my time. These people are not your clients.

If you want to be treated like a professional - act like one & charge like a professional. If not get a full/part time job to support your hobby. People will treat you & pay for your work through how they perceive you. Artists are seen as part-time occasional/recreational workers who have other employment. That is their perception - not your reality. You want to make this your profession, act like it is your profession.
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  #10  
Old 07-12-2013, 01:27 PM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: ETSY

Quote:
I have people stop by all the time ( my studio is open to the street) who see sculpture from the street. They love the color and the design & get amped up & want to buy a piece. When I tell them the retail price, they visibly flinch. They were hoping to pay $100 - 150 for the completed artwork not $2500. What they wanted to pay was the cost of the unworked-on rock alone - not the cost of my time. These people are not your clients.
I've seen that, oddly enough it's ALWAYS the ones who email asking either about discounts if they buy more than one, or asking if I can "combine" shipping (like how do you "combine" two 100# concrete sculptures into one box and still ship it FedEx ground??) these people NEVER purchase, neither do the ones who write asking if such and such is still available, you write back that yes, it is, and never hear from them again!

Serious clients never seem to ask for shipping "discounts" "combined" shipping or quantity discounts, they are the ones who hit the "buy" button and ask questions later.
Like the old saying goes- if you have to ask what the price is you can't afford it.

I had a woman stop in my gallery the other week and she really liked my large Art Deco lady panel and asked what it would cost, as soon as I said $225 she flinched a bit- another one who obviously thought it might be as much as $49.95 or something.
I'm sure I could sell plenty of them for $49.95 but then I'd lose money on them.
I've never had anyone in my state purchase anything either, one fellow here did inquire about a capital shaped piece I have and asked about making a column to go with it- basically making a custom model, mold and two casts in concrete. I quoted him the cost which was quite reasonable, and he wrote back that he had no idea it would cost that much, that he had hoped he could get something for around $100-$150 (forget that the rubber mold alone would cost $250 just for the materials, and that it would take about 20-30 hours of my time to make the model, and half a day to make the mold)
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  #11  
Old 07-12-2013, 02:19 PM
Mack Mack is offline
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Re: ETSY

I think simply said: "Art is a blind item" commercially speaking. Unless you are creating objects that are similar to other peoples wortk, the retail price of a piece should be based on twice the amount that you would be satisfied to receive. And if you have a desire to sell your work through a reputable gallery
selling it to the public at a lower price puts you out of that game. As has been said,online venues are generally for lower end sales. It takes a good looking gallery with knowledgable staff to sell sculpture at a price that gives the gallery the profit they are looking for and the artist enough to kiss their day job goodbye. And the better more sophisticated the gallery is, the higher price your sculpture can demand. But obviously the work has to be good, attract attention and sold by someone who knows what they're doing. And if you are in the position of going to a gallery instead of them coming to you, you will have to consign. And that takes a big investment on your part if you're making bronzes.
Get a gallery that only sells 'Fine Art', not one that combines artwork and crafts. The higher end the better.
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  #12  
Old 07-12-2013, 03:07 PM
Karl Sanders Karl Sanders is offline
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Re: ETSY

I really like the direction this thread has taken. These are all points that I have researched over the past few years and you are all reinforcing what I have learned.

Thank you all.
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  #13  
Old 07-24-2013, 09:09 PM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: ETSY

Just to give you an idea, I happened to find a part in my ebay acct I hadn't noticed before, a statistics page, and here's what mine shows in part:



My Etsy page was $zero... See why I stick with Ebay?
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  #14  
Old 07-24-2013, 11:08 PM
tobias tobias is offline
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Re: ETSY

Have care when selling on eBay. Most galleries I talk to are worried about advertising artists then loosing sales to the Internet. Or to the artist them selves. Never undercut your gallery!
A note of correction from my perspective. Galleries do not take %50 they mark up %100. This may seem like splitting hairs but its not. You set your gallery price. If you need $100 from a work they sell it for $200. So no one should be moaning about galleries taking anything. If you want the exposure be prepared to be professional. If they don't hold up there end of the deal find another gallery.
eBay is an auction site not a sales site. This is important because it sets a precedent. There is a difference between selling art and auctioning it. Some may say semantics but I believe that image is very important.
How do you price your work? This is tough for a person who is just starting out cause you are unknown, a nobody. You won't get the same amount as an established artist. Nor should you. Just cause you made something doesn't mean it's any good. Just because your friends say its good or your Mom or your instructor or even some critic. They are not the ones who will buy it. Joe public has to see value in your work befor it's worth anything.
That's right the masses will keep you eating and sheltered while that art critic who wrote the glowing revue of your stuff (that nobody understood) will let you starve and freeze.
How does this relate to price? You have to build a reputation a solid sales record trust. This takes time and effort.

eBay ? Etsy? I think stay away. If you don't want a gallery then sell your own work put on your own shows make your own events. Advertise rent the space buy the wine and nibbles get a credit card machine develop your own mailing list do a mail out and a mass email. Phone all your special high dollar clients to invite them personally. Hang the work or place the sculptures just right play some music get on your talking shoes don't ignore any one sell all the work drink a glass of wine go to sleep and go make the stuff all over again.
You will always be nameless and faceless online. Sculpture needs to be experienced not seen on a screen. That's why you work in 3 dimensions.

There are only 2 rules in this club, work hard and you might make it and you don't deserve anything.
Remember both and you will still have to listen to the painters bitch about how hard painting is.
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  #15  
Old 07-25-2013, 01:18 AM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: ETSY

Quote:
Originally Posted by tobias View Post
eBay is an auction site not a sales site. This is important because it sets a precedent. There is a difference between selling art and auctioning it.

eBay ? Etsy? I think stay away. I.

Actually Ebay has both formats, I never use the auction format, I price my work at what I expect for it and there's no auction, discounts, 2 for the price of 1, free shipping or anything of that sort.
Ebay also has "stores" but after a trial of that I didn't care for it.

I agree, with the stay away from Etsy sentiment- it's a low quality craft sales venue trying hard to be an Ebay clone and completely failing, I'd stay away from Craig's list too.
Clients I've dealt with on Ebay have with few exceptions all been professionals who don't dicker about price or shipping costs. One I am working with now in fact ordered a large multi piece assembly to install in the facade of his brick garage in Brooklyn NY, that's someone who will be actually cutting a 36" diameter hole in his brick wall for it and that's not going to be cheap!
People like that do buy on Ebay, which is no surprise since google is so connected to it that pages put up there are in google search results within hours. People searching google for something are far more likely to see results with ebay links on the first pages, than our personal web sites, and they go to the most relevent link they see.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:32 AM
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Re: ETSY

That's great A-D that ebay is working out for you. But I think it's necessary to point out also that if you want to show your work in a decent gallery, you can't be in competition with them for sales and you definately can't undercut their price. As was said: for a gallery, you set the amount you want to receive and they add to the price whatever mark-up they need to make their profit, promote their artists, pay their personnel, and keep their doors open. (Also, that 100% markup by the gallery can be good for you, because if at a future time you do wind up selling the work yourself, that gallery retail price is the price you can ask for the work, since that is what it actually sold to collectors for.)
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:53 PM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: ETSY

Quote:
But I think it's necessary to point out also that if you want to show your work in a decent gallery, you can't be in competition with them for sales and you definately can't undercut their price.
Well that's true but if the items just sit and don't SELL in the gallery it doesn't put food on the table or pay the bills, art today with the lousy economy we have that isn't going to improve for years is a LUXURY, it's one of the first things people cut during hard times. Before Wall street collapsed that summer I was making over $800 a week on Ebay, soon as the economy went South it dropped to about $100 a month overnight, it was that dramatic a drop.
I don't sell $50,000 bronzes, my work is not appropriate for one of those expensive high fashion galleries such as you find in the SOHO district of New York City who devote the entire floor space for a month or more to one artist' showing.
Bronze is just way too expensive to produce at random on a hope that it sells any time soon to recoup all that cost. One could fill a warehouse full of bronzes and only sell a couple or three of them, no one knows what will sell and what won't.

Most artists barely earn a living, it's only the single percenters who sell works for $100,000 every month, and get backlogs of commissions and public work commissions.
Ebay, like a website are SALES venues not prestigious art galleries for high finance collectors or museums, they put food on the table and pay the bills for the average artist. Having work in a gallery is nice, but at double the price if they don't sell then the item may as well be marked $10,000,000 or "not for sale" because it doesn't pay the bills.
People have to decide for themselves if they want sales or prestige/recognition, and how much they are willing to accept or sacrifice for either choice.
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:58 PM
Mack Mack is offline
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Re: ETSY

"People have to decide for themselves if they want sales or prestige/recognition, and how much they are willing to accept or sacrifice for either choice."A.D
I don't think having your work in a gallery gives you "prestige or recognition".
It does put you though in a venue where artists traditionally sell what they do. If you can directly sell to the public through ebay or whatever, that's great and if you do have your stuff in a gallery and it just sits there, by all means pull it and sell it on your own if you can. Hey...you gotta do what you gotta do.
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:14 PM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: ETSY

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
I don't think having your work in a gallery gives you "prestige or recognition".
I do, it's something you put on your resume or whatever, it looks good and it impresses those who don't know any better, it's like a singer being able to say: "I sang on stage at the world famous Metropolitan Opera House"

Or these:

"...studied under the world famous artist Markam Glicksman"

"Exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art"

"My work is handled exclusively by the world famous Flopsy Mo gallery on Spring street"

Unless someone is offering $50,000 bronzes, paintings, whatever, I don't think a gallery is worth the time for the average artist unless they have lots of high power connections, and can direct all those people to: "See my latest work at the Flopsy Mo gallery"
A gallery such as those I'm familiar with in NYC who pay premium rents for their spaces on the order of $75,000 or more a month aren't going to bother with a $200 item, for them to try and market a $200 item wouldn't even begin to pay the light bill let alone the costs for the space for it.

Galleries use a LOT of space, that costs a lot of money in prime locations, here's an example of just a store front with one display window facing the street, this is more than I paid for my entire building:

Description
25 HOWARD ST
Between Broadway & Lafayette

RENT: $23,500
SQ FT: 2,500
TITLE: Ground Level Retail Store & Basement (SoHo)
AREA: SoHo

Short Term: $2,500/Day
$10,000/Week
$30,000/Month
SoHo Retail
Ground Level Retail Store
Approx. Size: 2,500 sq ft
Ceiling Height: 12 ft
Frontage: 20 ft
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:13 PM
Mack Mack is offline
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Re: ETSY

"aren't going to bother with a $200 item"A.D.
Agreed, but few sculptures sell in that range and probably the internet is the best venue for that price range. I wasn't referring to 'High-end' galleries either, rather to the thousands of galleries in the country that sell sculptures consigned to them in the $2,000. and up range. And the 'prestige' if there is any is that your work is being shown in a good-looking setting, hopefully well lighted, and sold by 'art consultants' who know how to separate an interested party from his or her credit card. My experience is that it is a rare occurence that someone walks into a gallery, sees a sculpture and asks how much and buys it. They have to be 'sold' and hopefully by someone who knows how.
But apart from all that these are extremely tough times for artists and galleries alike.(not for the galleries that cater to the 1% crowd...they're doing just fine.)
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:26 PM
Karl Sanders Karl Sanders is offline
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Re: ETSY

It is great to see the direction this has gone in.
I have a meeting next week with a gallery owner in southern California that is interested in my work. She saw that I had pieces listed on ETSY and the first thing she asked was if I would be willing to take the ones down that she interested in.

Wish me luck. This is a serious gallery (High End) and may be the beginning of my fine art career.

-Karl-
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  #22  
Old 08-06-2013, 12:34 PM
Karl Sanders Karl Sanders is offline
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Re: ETSY

Looks like I am in.
Now to watch and wait and see how things go.

-Karl-
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  #23  
Old 08-07-2013, 12:28 AM
Ryder Ryder is offline
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Re: ETSY

Good luck karl Sanders. Just goes to show you never know what might work. I just sold a $1000 piece on craigslist and it will be displayed at a business on the way to one of the higher end communities in montana. No matter what you sell location matters. i have worked farmers markets and I figure 100 people have to look at a piece for one person to buy it. Even tho it was a farmers market I made a weeks money in 5 hours of meeting and greeting.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:00 AM
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CritterSteve CritterSteve is offline
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Re: ETSY

I have been on Etsy since 2008, and do better through galleries than on Etsy although Etsy definitely helps.

I'm a full time artist, although sculpture is not my primary source of income.
My Etsy store is something I set up so that I could link to it from my website if people would rather buy through a storefront they already know.

I never set up any buy buttons on my website, since people can email me to make a purchase.

Some sales have come directly through Etsy searches as well.
I don't undercut gallery prices, so there's no conflict there, and I'm perfectly up front with my galleries about it.
Also, when I am out of inventory and make a personal sale that may be in a gallery somewhere else, I forward the sale for them to handle which they appreciate and while I lose out on some profit it goes towards building trust since I know good gallery relationships are worth cultivating.

So far as Etsy being only for lower priced artworks, I agree although the most expensive piece I sold on Etsy was for $1,750
Mostly it's $250 or under.

Another thing I have taken to doing, which allows me to 'pre-sell' new pieces at a less than retail discount but only to 'early adopters' if you like, is to launch them on Kickstarter and tell my customers about it.

Since the pieces aren't in galleries yet I'm not undercutting anyone and it allows me to cast enough to get them into galleries, and to see how people respond to them and therefore gives me a clue how many to cast for consignment purposes.
Nobody wants to invest a heap into casting something that it turns out doesn't sell!

Back to Etsy, I turned a friend of mine onto it and he is doing great and always working hard to keep up with orders, but his offerings (mostly jewelry) are obviously more in line with what most Etsy shoppers are looking for than mine.

So I'll continue to work with galleries, cultivate my own customers, Kickstart new pieces, do the odd show here and there, and have an Etsy store while staying up front and honest about all of it.
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