We took the opportunity to interview Stew-Art from Big Fat Arts Gallery, who has been a consistently high seller of art online, sharing how he started out.
How did you choose which platform to use for building an online store?
I love the cool designs of Squarespace and similar sites but for me, Shopify offers the best e-commerce solution with a wide range of useful apps. The themes can be easily altered to create a totally unique look. When setting up a new business it’s important to save money wherever possible and this means you can automate lots of the regular tasks. Also, when someone spends money online they need to know that it not only looks safe but also actually is secure.
“I would suggest that other artists concentrate on developing their ‘brand’.”
What is your strategy for creating art sales online?
Many sales were driven from social media sites including Twitter and Facebook and I have built up a good following with many returning customers. I would suggest that other artists concentrate on developing their ‘brand’. Buy the domain names and set up your brand name. This needn’t be expensive as there are many free or inexpensive options to consider. I have bagged @BigFatArts on most social media platforms so I can be found easily. I am getting Bigger, Fatter and Artsier by the day.
How easy is it to make sales using Social Media?
It has been a big learning curve. There are advantages and disadvantages to all social media platforms – it really depends on your target audience. My personal approach has been to use different sites for different products and target customers accordingly. This means your advertising & promotion will be in line with people’s tastes and interests, so it won’t be seen as salesy or spammy. Also an arts social media account should be about art and related subjects, your audience does not want to know about your nightmare journey into work or your allegiance to The Official Monster Raving Loony Party.. although it can never be a bad thing to help your audience to smile or have some fun.
Create interesting online content and as much as possible help others with their internet promotion. I actively promote other artists and accounts. If you love someone else’s work then show it. Often this may even be reciprocated in a return gesture but, even if not, stay true to your core beliefs and loves. Above all, it’s your work and your vocation that counts.
“My personal approach has been to use different sites for different products and target customers accordingly”
How do you find traffic that does convert on Social Media?
As mentioned previously, It is a big learning curve, and a lot of experimenting. One of the most notable things I found is that if you can make someone smile or laugh or simply enjoy your post then it is much more likely they will share your information with their friends. If the message is engaging then you don’t need to spend as much money as the ad builds up its own impetus and more clicks as people re-share. In the Art & Design World, people seem to be more likely to share humour than they are to share something that’s ‘worthy’
What makes you so passionate about what you do?
I love the creative process and making my own work, but I also enjoy promoting new talent as well as referencing classic and established artists. I nurture inspirational and stimulating work, encourage new creatives and hopefully assist them early in their careers, not only supporting great works of art but also helping to define the future art market.
“The future is bright. The future is Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet… or Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black – for all you print buffs out there.” (Czar Catstick)