Category: Working with Artists

Consignment Best Practices: How to Work Effectively With Your Artists

Consignment Best Practices: How to Work Effectively With Your Artists

When it comes to consignments, follow these best practices.

Most galleries accept artwork from their artists on a consignment basis. It seems easy: the artist sends you their work and you give them an agreed-upon percentage or amount of the sales price.

But there are lots of details and things to consider to protect both your business and your relationship with your artists. Check out these best practices when accepting artwork from your artists:

If it’s not written down, it didn’t happen

Regardless of what kind of agreement you have with your artists, put everything in writing and be sure both parties have signed. Some galleries have artists sign consignment terms for each new body of work, while others simply have their artists sign an annual contract. If you have an artcloud account, you can safely store your agreements in your artists’ records.

Whatever path you take, be sure to include the following points:

  • How long will the gallery attempt to sell a given work of art?
  • Is the artist or the gallery responsible for photographing and transporting the artwork?
  • Does the artist participate in gallery discounts?

Increase transparency with a monthly sales breakdown before sending payment

Giving your artists regular sales reports is helpful for both the gallery and the artist. Not only can these reports help your artists better understand what is and isn’t selling, but they increase transparency into which pieces sold, when, and for how much.

Whether you compile these reports manually or generate them from your management platform, be sure they contain:

  • The date the artwork sold
  • The retail and sales price
  • The amount owed to the artist for each piece

Give your artists the tools to keep track of their consignments themselves

Many galleries consider regular sales and consignment reports for artists to be part of their day-to-day work, but you can also empower your artists to track their sales themselves with the right tools. Invite your artists to artcloud, and once they’re connected to your account, both the gallery and the artist will find the consignment experience to be much smoother.

Some benefits for the gallery and for artists:

  • Artists get automatic email notifications each time one of their pieces goes out on approval or gets sold — artists love this!
  • When artists consign artwork via artcloud, the inventory data automatically populates in the gallery’s account
  • Artists have access to analytics where they can track their sales data for tax and record-keeping purposes

 

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End of Year Reports: How to Help Artists Increases Sales

End of Year Reports: How to Help Artists Increases Sales

Take reporting to the next level — use it to help your artists create more work that flies off the walls.

Most galleries provide their artists with regular sales reports, typically each month before sending out the artists’ payments. Generally the purpose of these reports is accountability and record-keeping. Both parties know what pieces were sold, when, for how much, and what the artist is owed for each piece.

But you can take reports to the next level and use the information to help your artists sell more artwork.

Oftentimes galleries do this with an end-of-year report, but you can also provide this type of report more frequently, for example every 3 to 6 months. Regardless of whether you compile these reports by hand or generate them automatically from your artcloud account, be sure to take a look at both the pieces that sold and the ones that didn’t. Doing so will help you see the whole picture of the artist’s work and understand how it resonates with your clientele. Over time, you’ll start to see trends that can inform future bodies of work the artist creates for your gallery.

Here are some trends to track when reviewing each artist’s sales reports:

Time to Sell

In addition to reviewing which pieces sell and which don’t, you’ll want to analyze how long it takes to sell each artists’ work. What’s the average time it takes to sell an artist’s work? Which pieces sell more quickly than others? Art management systems like artcloud record when pieces were added to inventory and the date they were sold you can easily figure out how long the item was in your inventory before it was purchased.

Subject

Subject matter can have a tremendous impact on collectors. One gallery we work with recently discovered that one of their artist’s sales dropped sharply when she moved away from her traditional subject matter and started experimenting with new things. The artist switched back and just like that, her sales went back to their usual levels.

Size

Some artists’ work sells better in larger sizes, while for other artists, smaller pieces tend to sell better. You may also find that certain sizes sell faster than others. This information can help artists create the right balance of artwork and ensure that pieces are always selling.

Medium

Taking a look at medium is especially useful if an artist works with a variety of mediums. Considering the high cost of certain materials, an artist may discover that they get more ROI by focusing on some types over others.

Colors

Color can also have a big impact on collectors. Sometimes certain colors or color themes may sell better than others for a given artist.

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3 Ways Galleries Can Help Grow Their Artists’ Careers

3 Ways Galleries Can Help Grow Their Artists’ Careers

Investing in your artists’ careers is good for them and good for your gallery.

By empowering your artists to market themselves, grow their networks, and take ownership over their own art business, galleries can drive loyalty and set the stage for long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships with their artists. Many galleries even promote such services when recruiting new artists as a way to attract top talent.

Here are just a few ways galleries are growing their artists’ careers:

Help your artist develop their presence on Instagram with professional photography

As the most visual social media platform, it’s not surprising that Instagram plays an essential marketing role for both galleries and artists. Some galleries pay for professional photography sessions of their artists at work, or split the cost with their artists. The end result? Both the gallery and the artist have a collection of great images to use on Instagram.

  • When posting to Instagram, be sure to tag your artists and ask them to tag the gallery when posting photos on their own Instagram accounts
  • Rather than posting everything at once, sprinkle these posts in throughout the year to keep your Instagram feed active and fresh with new content
  • Make the most of the investment by reusing the photographs on your website or on other marketing materials

Connect your artists with other galleries to increase their representation

For many emerging artists, each new gallery representation is a stepping stone in their careers. Introduce your artists to galleries in other parts of the country that might be a good fit for their work.

  • If your gallery is currently the artist’s only representation, offer her/him tips on navigating the process
  • Manage expectations and be sure your artists know that gaining new representation may take some time
  • Since you won’t always be able to provide an introduction, give your artists suggestions for reaching out to galleries they’d like to work with

Provide each artist with a year-end report to help them understand their sales trends

Rather than focusing solely on total sales, use end-of-year reports to help your artists identify trends around what is – and isn’t – selling. With a better understanding of the types of pieces that resonate most with your collectors, artists are empowered to create more work that flies off the walls.

  • Be sure to examine not only which pieces sold, but which pieces didn’t — look at trends according to subject matter, size, colors, etc.
  • Track how quickly each artwork sold and the average time it takes to sell a piece — what trends do you notice amongst the artwork that sold the fastest?
  • Based on what you and your artists uncover in the sales data, what suggestions would you offer them and what changes should they make?

Note: for artcloud customers, artist sales reports are automatically generated in your analytics, so you don’t have to create them manually. Check it out and ask us if you have any questions!

How does your gallery support artists? Let us know in the comments!

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