Bowl ‘Em Over

Be easy…when you’re selling your work, don’t hassle your nice collectors. Make it a fabulous experience for them!IMG_6608

Recently, a wonderful artist in my city completed a news worthy project, “1000 Bowls to Feed the Hungry.” This artist, Chris Thompson, threw over 1,000 pottery bowls and invited the art community to help glaze them. Lots of artists were involved in helping create these incredible bowls. Chris spent many months organizing the affair, promoting it, getting the bowls into local galleries. At the end of the day, proceeds from these 1,000 bowls went to fund 3 local food banks and multiplied each dollar spent to feed the hungry. It was a wonderful project.

First I attended Chris’ display of ALL of the bowls. Well, of course, I couldn’t walk out without a bowl. I chose a big, beautiful, earthy one. It wasn’t easy to choose, but it sure was easy to buy.  There were so many unique and colourful designs and shapes. It was such a blast I thought everyone should have one so I promoted the event to friends.

My awesome friends  bought bowls. They told me they hunted through galleries to find the perfect match. Some friends asked me to buy bowls for them. I happily obliged. I perused the local galleries, and carefully sought out  bowls I felt befitting of the future owner. As I embarked on my mission, I couldn’t help but find additional bowls for myself. I became a collector!  At the next to the last gallery, I selected a spirited little bowl, took my card to the counter and was told I had to pay in cash (audible gasp!). This was a full service art gallery….or so I thought. They asked me to go find an ATM, there was one about ¾ of a mile away, the man thought.  Could I write a check?  I’m sorry, I don’t even use checks, unless someone pays me with one. What??? They didn’t have the ability to run credit or debit cards. The man behind the counter didn’t seem the least bit bothered that he had boldly asked me to inconvenience myself. I could take it or leave it.

Notice, this was the NEXT TO THE LAST gallery. Because, why buy from a place that makes it so inconvenient to buy you wish you’d gone elsewhere?

Are you “easy to buy from”? Are you equipped to take various forms of payment? Have change? Ship well? Follow up? Will you take commissions? Do you send thank you notes?

Square and Paypal both provide easy credit processing options that work well with mobile devices like tablets and phones. Let your exchange be a seamless delight for your collectors.  Wrap it up or ship it, provide a receipt, express some sincere gratitude and follow up. You’re success factor will get a boost because:

 The first rule of selling is….”BE EASY TO BUY FROM!”

Wrapped ArtJust a little something to think about as many artists move into open studio and the holiday season and are working so hard to create incredible art. As you’re putting all that effort into the final product, remember, whether you intend for it to be or not, the customer experience is part of your product (click to Tweet). Don’t be a bold inconvenience, be easy. After all, you probably don’t want to be collecting your art for yourself!

Bowl ‘Em Over!




Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who teaches creatives business behaviours that boost theirBe Easy to Buy From by Creating a Seamless Sales Experience productivity and happiness…all the while honoring their unique and artsy selves.

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15 Replies to “Bowl ‘Em Over”

  1. Michelle, I could not agree more! Every artist with a smart phone should have a Square or Paypal Here device, no excuses. The devices are free and rates very reasonable. No monthly fees!!

    I compare this experience to less than 10 years ago doing art festivals, using an old-fashioned card stamper, going home to input the numbers into an electronic machine plugged into a phone jack, hoping the transaction went ok since the art was already gone, and being charged for both per-transaction and monthly fees!

    Too many people “in business” overlook the fact that credit card acceptance dramatically increases your sales volume and price point. Instead of selling the $60 print, you can sell the $500 original. It’s worth the effort and very small fee.

  2. The article is really about very important issue. The work is not finished even after a successful sale and shipping. You may ask your customers to provide you with their feedbacks. And continue your work towards improving the level of service.

    1. Great Point! Getting feedback helps us improve our sales systems and the customer sales experience. It’s important to take the information without being defensive and use it to build a better business. Your art is your BUSINESS! Thanks for your input! ~m

  3. I wish this article had come to my attention before. Because of it I have just challenged all the local potters to make 100 bowls and donate the proceeds to our local food bank. Also since I have over 100 mugs in storage waiting for next season’s farmer’s market I might change the challenge to mugs. What a nice way to serve the community! Thanks. Pat

  4. As I am trying to get my art business going this 2016, I am reading over some more of your newsletters that I have overlooked in the past. This one was great. I have been on the fence about getting a smartphone that will work with a square. I am going to get one for sure now. Now that this is 2016, what are my options? Do you know? Jenn

    1. Hi Jennifer! I’m so glad these are there for you. You can type any topic in the search bar at the top of the page, and find previous blog posts that have addressed that topic. So proud of you for putting some energy behind your business – GO GIRL!!! You can use a Square or Paypal account with any smartphone. I’m not sure about the options since I got mine before the cards had chips. You certainly should find out about it. I still use mine, but simply slide the card. I hope you use it a lot in 2016. Sell your art – and be easy to buy from!

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