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cagathoc
04-04-2002, 11:26 AM
My paintings are selling right now anywhere from $50-$150 on eBay and at my website.


Obviously, I am not trying to replace my engineering income with sales of my artwork but my husband is an engineer too and I think we can live on his income supplimented by the $ from the art sales. I am giving it a 6 month trial - I'll let you know how it goes...


I think it's important to start your prices low. After all in order to pay big bucks for a piece of art, it should be an investment for the collector. An unknown/emerging artist is a gamble investment wise. I am going to let the market determine the prices...


In Feb/Mar, I sold 21 paintings... for a total of $1300 out of which I only pocketed $750 due to fees & materials costs.

At Ford, I brought home $3500 a month after taxes. But I hated it and it was making me sick, physically and mentally. It really is true that money isn't everything!!!!!!!

I am putting up this information in hopes that it is helpful to others marketing their work & going through these kind of life style decision questions.

BlackTigr
04-04-2002, 01:23 PM
Wow. I'd better get my original cagathoc before you raise the prices...:cat:

But which one to choose? I have adored all of your food paintings. Such vibrant colors and strong brushwork. Oh, speaking of which, do you show in Michigan? It'd be worth the 2 hour road trip to come see these hanging...

--BT

cagathoc
04-04-2002, 02:38 PM
You are a sweety! :)

I usually have a couple of pieces in the Canton Projects Arts and The Artists Among Us exhibits in the Fall.

I showed 12 pieces at the Jonanne Winkelman Hulce Center for the Arts in Plymouth about a year ago and was ready to hang this food series there again this Winter but decided to try eBay instead.

sue ellen
04-04-2002, 05:43 PM
If your work is any indication of how you are feeling..and how you are enjoying your new life away from Ford..then i would say you are feeling FANTASTIC! :)

Watching the evlolution of your work has been inspirational and a pure joy! :)

What is the membername you sell under at ebay?

cagathoc
04-04-2002, 06:31 PM
Thank you, Sue Ellen! I do feel very good. I think I even look younger! ;) lol

I use cagathoc at ebay too.

CathyD
04-04-2002, 07:13 PM
I really appreciate your telling us this Cagathoc. Please tell us how long you have been selling on your website and ebay. Your information is very encouraging to me.

My day job is very draining on me, and am looking to some kind of change. I wouldn't be able to just go artist full time, due to having to support my kids and all, but am looking for something that harmonizes with what I want to accomplish in this stage of my life. I applaud your success and hope to hear more from you!
Cathy :clap:

cagathoc
04-05-2002, 07:43 AM
Cathy, Thank You! I've done it for 2 months now - Feb & Mar.

walden
04-06-2002, 05:57 PM
Congratulations! And I wish you the absolute best of luck-- I have every confidence that you can achieve whatever you wish artistically.

arlene
04-23-2002, 09:58 AM
I have taken the plunge too...Cindy besides selling on ebay you should be putting together a portfolio of all your work, sold and unsold with photos, a bio, show's you've been in, awards, etc. If you send out say 5 a week to different galleries that show similar work, you'll eventually get gallery representation. Then with that, you'll be getting the prices you need for your originals.

cagathoc
04-23-2002, 10:29 AM
Arlene,

Yesterday I sold "Forsythia & Apple" an 11"x14" o/c for $136.50 (hurray!!! :D). If it was in a local gallery, it would sell after 6 months sitting there for $150 and I'd end up with $75 minus framing costs.

I know artists with gallery rep are more respected and can ask higher prices but on eBay, people buy what they like even if your resume isn't stellar.

I'm just not sure it's worth it at this point...

What do others think?

Thanks for the thoughtful advice!!!

walden
04-23-2002, 11:02 AM
cagathoc, how long did it take for you to really get going on Ebay? I posted 4 auctions last week (my first ever), and have no bids on any of them yet. I know it's early, and I have no feedback or reputation on Ebay, but it's still a little discouraging-- especially since I set my opening bid amounts quite low ($20 - $30) and these are original oils and I see prints selling for more than that.

By the way, I looked at your "about me" page and I'm going to copy your price list style. I very much believe in the pricing by size philosophy-- I think it gives buyers comfort that they're getting good value. That page looks great too-- putting up several examples of your work is a good idea.

Anyway, my auctions right now are all traditional landscapes, and most of the work I see on Ebay is more avante-garde, more contemporary. Maybe later this week I'll try posting some of my floral still lives-- they're a little more contemporary, a bit looser, with more brilliant colors, and maybe they'll do better. :confused:

My Ebay name is lisawalkerart if anyone wants to look.

cagathoc
04-23-2002, 12:33 PM
Lisa,

I recommend buying some inexpensive items that you might need from eBay as a way of building up a beginning feedback profile. Some buyers are wary of purchasing from someone with no feedback profile...

This is my 3rd month on eBay and lasy year I also did eBay for about 3 months. There was a year in between where I didn't do eBay at all.

cagathoc
04-23-2002, 12:39 PM
a lot of the bidding occurs on the last day or even the last minutes of the auction (bargain hunters!), so hang in there!

Donna Robosky
04-23-2002, 04:56 PM
I'm new here and you are an encouragement to me. I have quit my job as a floral designer to be a stay at home mom and grandma and have been trying to pursue my art as a career. I have my art in a craft store and I do home shows with cash and carry items. It's been a year now and I am not satisfied with the outcome. I may try Ebay. Donna

cagathoc
04-24-2002, 08:07 AM
Hi Donna,

It's really fun - go for it! :)

Noble
04-24-2002, 10:53 AM
Originally posted by cagathoc

I know artists with gallery rep are more respected and can ask higher prices but on eBay, people buy what they like even if your resume isn't stellar.

I'm just not sure it's worth it at this point...

What do others think?

Thanks for the thoughtful advice!!!

This has turned out to be a long winded answer, and I'm thinking out loud in some places but I think the ideas are sound so I figured I'd put them out here for others to discuss also.

But first, check this 30 day e-bay artists current listing history...

http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewListedItems&userid=veralynvillanueva&include=0&since=30&sort=2&rows=25

This is an example of what is possible on e-bay. ALmost all of these works start at 0.01, and At this time when I checked this list, it amounted to somewhere around $6000 for 30 days worth of listings. $6000 / month without commissions is not bad for a painter at home eh? At gallery commission rates thats upwards of $12,000 per month. Ok, some hope maybe. Success sells, the more people see you selling, the more they want it too. Buyer psychology. I'm not clear if she has much of a gallery rep, but she was "in the news" at one point.

Checking her feedback, she has been posting at this rate for 3 years. Not bad. She cranks out the product for sure. It seems most sell around $50 with the occasional $400-800. The quality of her work is not out of line with what many if not most are capable of here, so I would think it is a matter of connecting with the buyers.

Don't kid yourself, the buyers are out in droves on e-bay if you can connect with them. Period. It is a matter of finding what works for you. Almost *anything* will sell here and there, but I do think quality does make a difference in regards to consistant sales and sales growth.

Also, *trust* is a big hidden issue. Her listings and background promote lots of buyer trust on several levels.

I've not yet attempted to address that in my listings. Degrees are not important, but credibilty seems to be and the *perception* that your art/carreer is going somewhere. I've not worked on building that perception either.

As far as initial trust, if you assume *ALL* the risk, maybe people will be less hesitant to pony up the money for a relative unknown. Most people are honest, and to invest in yourself initially and accept that people might send stuff back (at *their* cost of course) is a small price to pay for getting trust built.

Most probably won't, especially for lower priced items. Paying double shipping costs to end up with nothing isn't what most buyers would want to do, but the psychological advantage is significant. The reason people buy higher prices at galleries is due to trust and "perception" of value.

The question is how long can you do it before you give up? A real concern, also, e-baying can be done part time and ramped up before one takes the leap full time. I have other income sources, so I can last indefinately, I'll keep testing the waters until I figure out my place in this vast world. There are enough buyers for *everybody*, it is a matter of finding them and connecting with them. I may be one of them, but I won't stop trying because the process is what counts. This is all about the journey, not the destination, and if you are really walking the path and understanding that *now* is good also, you will be able to wait for *then*. Tomorrow never comes, so lets enjoy today!

Again, if it's *only* about the money, maybe stopping is better, because there are far easier ways to get the cash, with more time to spare.

I'm very hopeful about the e-bay venue, there are others I've found that sell lower volume, but really get (for e-bay) high prices. They start at 0.01 too. It seems that is only a good idea once you have a client base. The kinds of hits they get is disproportionate to the search hits I've seen. Their thumbnails are too small to really get a sense of the quality or composition to account for the high view rate. People must be going to their auctions directly. It is simply some kind of following.

How one does that other than putting in time is beyond me. One very real technique seems to be to maintain a list of previous bidders and e-mail them on new auctions thus driving traffic to your auction. I think this might be outside the rules so I don't do it. Maybe an opt-in distibution list is the way to go.

I'm going to address all of these thoughts in my future listings and materials. Just the act of writing this has given me new directions and understanding that I didn't have previously.

Forgive me if I stated the obvious, but for me it wasn't, and at this point I think I was speaking to myself more than anything! I hope I didn't waste your time and look forward to the continuing discussion here.

Good luck to you!

El_Elegante
04-25-2002, 04:32 PM
I tried ebay, and I may even try it again... it sure would be nice to crank 3 paintings a day at $50 a piece and roll in some money and all... but I don't think I could do 3 a day.. they would have to be repetative and mundane. I try to embed my soul in every painting I do. If I could do 3 a day, which I doubt, they would be worth much more than I could get on ebay... selling them for $50 would be abisive towards myself. I don't show in a gallery currently, but I still get about $300-$600 for a typical 18x24 in painting which I probably spend 6-9 hours on. Ina gallery I'd probably get $1,000-$2,000. I gaurantee I wouldn't get more than $75 on ebay for them....

Noble
04-25-2002, 05:24 PM
History has proven that one doesn't need to make *real* art (whatever that is) to be successful as an artist. One needs to connect with their buyers. Kinkade comes to mind, somehow he is connecting and you can see what kind of "art" that is!

The point was that it is possible to do well on e-bay financially with painting/drawing etc, and this is but an example. Initial results on e-bay can be quite discouraging thus my post.

Whether it is worth it trying to sell on ebay to make a living as an artist is the question, and as far as what is possible I use her as an example. One needs to stay in the game to succeed, and that takes time. Not that her way is the only one of course, it is just that the sales *can* be had consistantly!

I look at her to convince myself that it is possible to find buyers that will pay more than $25 / piece, it is just a matter of actively finding the way to connect. Build it and they will come simply isn't enough, one has to connect (via marketing etc) somehow. Auctions are one of the fastest ways to "test" different ideas and get rapid feedback.

Maybe getting a small article writeup, getting some good quotes, making it sound interesting and then telling people about it (the show). It builds credibility over all the gazillions of artists that are staying at home just painting and hoping people will like their stuff (like I've been). It's all relative, most successful artists selling today can't touch the quality and capability of <name your favorite famous artist> yet they make a living at their art!

My assumption is that if ones work is even a little unique compared to the masses, and the quality isn't *bad* (mediocre is probably fine), there is a marketing angle / process that will yield results. That process is within our grasp it is just a matter of finding it. Of course we should strive to do our best quality wise, but that is a process not an event!

Good luck to everyone!

walden
04-25-2002, 06:24 PM
I think what it boils down to is that everyone's goals are different, everyone's situation in life is different, and because of that, everyone's path will necessarily be different. Some people want to make a living at their art, others want to get rich or famous or both through their art, still others mainly want to work along and enjoy themselves, some want to become excellent artists, and finally a few want to become great artists-- artists for the ages. (There are surely other possible goals I haven't thought of.) Many of us probably want more than just one thing off the list, and some of those goals are congruent in the long-run but not the short run or vice versa. I think what I've figured out in life is that I can have almost anything I want-- but I cannot have everything I want. And, although an individual's primary goal might change over time, I think it is always important to know exactly what it is, and to evaluate everything one does against the goal. It's very, very easy to get side-tracked.

arlene
04-25-2002, 09:18 PM
i've listed my first items on ebay...and already have bids on two of them, so i'm happy with it for now...

also since listing i've had 4 people email me to tell me how wonderful my work is...future customers?

i figure if i can add a few things everyday for the next month or so, i should at least recoup my selling fees...and it will help to build up my reputation.

cagathoc
04-26-2002, 08:16 AM
Originally posted by arlene
i've listed my first items on ebay...and already have bids on two of them, so i'm happy with it for now...

also since listing i've had 4 people email me to tell me how wonderful my work is...future customers?

i figure if i can add a few things everyday for the next month or so, i should at least recoup my selling fees...and it will help to build up my reputation.


It was the perfect time to put up your flower sculptures - Mother's Day coming and all.

WTG, Arlene!

:clap:

BlackTigr
05-15-2002, 01:09 PM
Hey...I didn't see any listings for ebay for you right now. When's your next auction going to be?

--BT

cagathoc
05-15-2002, 01:26 PM
I have 6 oils up right now and 4 old acrylics. Here is a link:

http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&userid=cagathoc&completed=0&sort=2&since=-1&include=0&page=1&rows=25

BlackTigr
05-15-2002, 01:41 PM
Thanks. The hubby's home today and I can needle him about his agreeing to look at your work, then. :cat:

*crosses fingers that one of the ones that is up is The One*

--BT

CarlyHardy
05-17-2002, 06:56 PM
Just had to add a footnote in this one....

The example that you're looking at sells so many paintings on ebay that she incorporated this year for tax purposes! She does paint her own paintings and is known for being a regular night owl...actually I think she seldom sleeps.

Her marketing skills and her prowess as a business woman speak for themselves. Perhaps everyone is not taken with her art...but she did just get an offer from a Canadian gallery for a private show. She also started the [email protected] group which has been a great help to me on ebay and she shares her business sense with other artists. She's a very generous person.

carly

Noble
05-17-2002, 10:32 PM
Opinions aside, the fact is she is selling. Buyers are buying. She proves that e-bay can be a viable market for original art.

Maybe we could learn from her success, marketing methods and such as inspiration to adapt and improve our own marketing efforts vs shifting the discussion to speculation about this or that working method, or discussing her merits as a painter, technically, asthetically or otherwise. I am not trying to promote discussion on those merits, but rather marketing and sales on e-bay of original art.

My comments stem from simply looking at what is openly available. E-bay by its very nature creates an almost ideal learning environment for what works and what doesn't work on e-bay.

I posted her results so that others here (including myself) could benefit from her example as what is possible and what actually works. We also have *many* examples on e-bay of what *doesn't* work. If we were to model someone, might we want to model success vs. not? For me modeling does not mean blindly copying BTW.

Finding people who sell like her isn't exactly easy and it would be great to be able to easily find such sellers. I found her by accident.

Maybe others here know of people with similar financial success selling their work on e-bay. Who cares if they are great, mediocre or whatever. I for one would like to see them and what they are doing. There are so many customers that we won't step on each others toes. Art is so personal anyway. We aren't selling toasters.

Personally, I'm not looking to see any more examples of what isn't working, that's *easy* to find.

So, does anyone else know of such a success as Ms Villanova? Lets find more examples of people we can model for e-bay marketing inspiration! I'm sure they won't all look exactly alike, but there may be some interesting similarities too.

There are enough customers out there for everybody. Think about the 11 million or so participants on e-bay. What percentage of those customers does Veralyn serve? Do you think there is any room for a few more success stories like her? Maybe you, me? Lets try and see!

arteitaliana
05-18-2002, 02:39 AM
Noble:
Check the work of Jeff Cohen
http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?MfcISAPICommand=ViewListedItems&userid=jcohenstudio&include=0&since=30&sort=3&rows=25
and
K.Hollinsworth
http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?MfcISAPICommand=ViewListedItems&userid=jcohenstudio&include=0&since=30&sort=3&rows=25
At the moment are suffering the ebay slump like most of us, but usually they sell everything they list for an average $3-400.
Cohen sold a painting last year for over $2000.
He usually sells from $400 to $900, lists for a $0.01 minimum bid and has a wide following.
He has been experimenting a bit lately and that accounts for the drop in sales.
There are others...Saltarelli in the Miniature division is another example.
There are many artists that do well on ebay. Marketing is important but quality of work is as, if not more, important.

cagathoc
05-18-2002, 07:28 AM
Originally posted by Noble



So, does anyone else know of such a success as Ms Villanova? Lets find more examples of people we can model for e-bay marketing inspiration! I'm sure they won't all look exactly alike, but there may be some interesting similarities too.



Here's a few successful I've been following on eBay:


http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&userid=kshstudio&include=0&since=-1&sort=3&rows=25

http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&userid=jcohenstudio&include=0&since=-1&sort=3&rows=25

http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&userid=sophiart&completed=0&sort=2&since=-1&include=0&page=1&rows=25

http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&userid=wallrabenstein&completed=0&sort=2&since=-1&include=0&page=1&rows=25

http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&userid=carlyart&completed=0&sort=2&since=-1&include=0&page=1&rows=25

http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&userid=arteitaliana&completed=0&sort=2&since=-1&include=0&page=1&rows=25


I agree with Rita - I think that Jeff Cohen and Karen Hollingsworth are modern masters & personally don't think that "marketing" has much to do with their success.

walden
05-18-2002, 08:34 AM
Thank you so much for posting those links, cagathoc. My theory about art in general is that great art will always sell for fair prices. From the work I see in art magazines like American Art Review and Southwest Art, and from browsing galleries, that has always seemed to be true-- in those places, almost never do I see stuff that my reaction is "that's no good" (I'm excluding abstracts (or non-objective??) here, because I have NO ability to judge the merits of it, and I rarely like it). Anyway, I have confidence in my theory in general, but I had wondered if it really applied to Ebay-- because I didn't have a grasp of how diverse the Ebay market is. Is it limited to certain styles, certain subjects, certain sizes? Is it biased towards towards some kinds of art, away from others? I just didn't know. Your list of links has tremendously reassured me that none of that matters-- not size, not subject, not style-- if it is good, it will sell for a fair price.

Now all I have to worry about is improving my work! I know that the quality of my work right now is very uneven, and I'm ok with that because I'm in such a growth and development mode right now. If I experiment around, I will fail a good bit, but if I don't experiment I'll never make that leap from ok, or kind of nice, to WOW!. :) Heck, I don't even know what my "style" will look like when I find it, or how it will evolve. But it looks like as long as it's really good, I'll be able to sell it for fair prices on Ebay. That's quite reassuring! I'm not in this to make a fortune, but a moderate level of success would be quite nice. :)

cagathoc
05-18-2002, 11:56 AM
Lisa,

You have an excellent attitude & I also happen to agree with what you've said! :)



Cindy

Noble
05-18-2002, 12:08 PM
Originally posted by Rita Monaco

Noble:
Check the work of Jeff Cohen
http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?MfcISAPICommand=ViewListedItems&userid=jcohenstudio&include=0&since=30&sort=3&rows=25
and
K.Hollinsworth
http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?MfcISAPICommand=ViewListedItems&userid=jcohenstudio&include=0&since=30&sort=3&rows=25
At the moment are suffering the ebay slump like most of us, but usually they sell everything they list for an average $3-400.
Cohen sold a painting last year for over $2000.
He usually sells from $400 to $900, lists for a $0.01 minimum bid and has a wide following.
He has been experimenting a bit lately and that accounts for the drop in sales.
There are others...Saltarelli in the Miniature division is another example.
There are many artists that do well on ebay. Marketing is important but quality of work is as, if not more, important.

Certainly quality is important, but in terms of e-bay sales, I'm not entirely convinced but would like to think so. If it were as simple as "build it (well) and they will come", more artists on e-bay and elsewhere would have much greater success I think. This is not to say we shouldn't strive to better ourselves however, just that we can expect to get better results if we modify our marketing approach somehow. At least that is the premise I'm testing anyway. ;)

arlene
05-18-2002, 12:15 PM
So in your opinion, would someone like myself be better off trying to sell the originals or the prints?

also I noticed that everyone of those artists who put a reserve on, told the bidders what their reserve was...doesn't that defeat the purpose?

CarlyHardy
05-18-2002, 01:14 PM
Arlene, I don't think putting the reserve price in your description defeats the purpose. Actually it gives the bidder more of an option!
They can bid the reserve amount immediately and then someone has to outbid them for the painting. Instead of the guess what the reserve is bidding game. They can choose - do I want this painting this much? or don't I? If the reserve is really high, then the bidder knows either its not really for sale, or there's something about this artist that I don't know. They will want to know if your work really brings that kind of bids and keep an eye on your auctions.

I had a buyer this week tell me that she had been watching my auctions for some time....but bid on this painting because it was the exact colors she was waiting to find. She already knew what my paintings were selling for and didn't mind bidding higher for something she wanted.

carly

Noble
05-18-2002, 01:23 PM
Originally posted by arlene
So in your opinion, would someone like myself be better off trying to sell the originals or the prints?

also I noticed that everyone of those artists who put a reserve on, told the bidders what their reserve was...doesn't that defeat the purpose?

Reserves that are public are designed to get "I've gotta win" buyers going who really can't handle the reserve price to begin with. If they do succumb to the auction fever, they are more likely to have regrets later.

IMHO published reserves aren't necessary for "real" buyers who know their true maximum price anyway. Any bid someone enters that is less than a published reserve is *not* a genuine bid, and a waste of time.

If someone here has consistant experience that shows putting a published reserve gets better results than just putting the same published reserve as a minimum bid, please jump in!

On your print question, check this e-bayer and compare their work with yours, and see if this gives you some help in your evaluation. Apparently she is selling giclee and litho prints of realistic floral and still life watercolors etc. See her about me page and website too.

Out of 18 listings in the last 30 days, she has bids on 3 totaling $120. I don't know if she has tried selling originals on e-bay, and what her results were if any.

zed05 e-bay user (http://cgi6.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&userid=zed05&include=0&since=30&sort=3&rows=25)

CarlyHardy
05-18-2002, 01:36 PM
Here are some of the ones I checked out when I was deciding how to market my paintings on ebay. Cindy, you already had some of mine!

I just keep the search terms (search only in the Paintings category)

SCHAAP (ID lotus-art)
DAN BYL
J.BOSWELL (bozdog46)
SHANO (shano-studio)
ANNA (ekei)

If you will notice all of these use a name in the title for a search term...and if you check their feedback, you'll see a consistency in listing paintings during each month. Two things that are helpful in establishing yourself at ebay!

I noticed that Jeff Cohen has his prints in his ebay store...accessible all during the month instead of just the week of the auction!
carly

Sumafra
05-18-2002, 07:08 PM
Well, I've read the entire post, and I'm not sure what I've learned. Is it that the art doesn't much matter, it's all about marketing? No, I don't think so, also it was suggested that marketing is perhaps more important than the quality of the art. I've checked all the listings of all the artists mentioned, and am wondering what it is exactly that they're doing that brings them so many sales? It seems to me that I've done the same things that they do and certainly have not met with that kind of success. In my opinion, you have to offer people what they want if you want to sell a lot. I've seen some horrid quickly little paintings sell very well, I've seen some really lovely work not sell, (I'm not talking about my work at this point). Of my work, I've sold some little paintings that weren't great, and not sold others that were much better. In my case, the difference was PRICE. IF they're listed for $20 or less, they usually sell. I've sold one painting for $59, only one. Everything else has been in the $15 to $25 range. To me, that seems to be the determining factor.

Anyway, if someone can explain to me what exactly it is that these other artists are doing to get a large number of hits and buyers, I'd sure like to know.

arteitaliana
05-18-2002, 08:48 PM
Suzette, apart from the quality of the work, which I think is consistently good but not extraordinary, most of those artists have in common:
1) They have been around a couple of years if not more
2)They do feature plus auctions (Cohen and Hollingsworth always do)
3)They have a large number of satisfied clients
4)They list all the time, trhough thick and thin, mantaining a presence on ebay.
4)Their style is colorful, bold, decorative, mostly oil on canvas. That's what the public wants most: oil on canvas.

Those are the points I could come up with. There may be more.
I think that good work get recognised, even on ebay. A few sellers get away with hideous work and lots of hype, but then this is true even in galleries.;)

Noble
05-18-2002, 09:24 PM
Originally posted by Sumafra

[snip]
Of my work, I've sold some little paintings that weren't great, and not sold others that were much better. In my case, the difference was PRICE. IF they're listed for $20 or less, they usually sell. I've sold one painting for $59, only one. Everything else has been in the $15 to $25 range. To me, that seems to be the determining factor.

Anyway, if someone can explain to me what exactly it is that these other artists are doing to get a large number of hits and buyers, I'd sure like to know.

Well put question, and for the most part quality and marketing are needed, but I think the less there is of one, the more there needs to be of the other. There are lower limits on either however. I can't tell yo exactly what they are doing other than to say the answers are all there in what they are doing, because that information is ALL the buyers have and all they apparently need. Another way to look at it is from the perspective of all those buyers that DIDN'T buy that work. WHY? We are searching for OUR buyers, but, there are some common elements, and some of that can be found by looking. Keep looking, it isn't totally clear. The water is murky.

My comments here Sumafra aren't directed at you personally, but when I use "you" I mean "one", "me", "us" etc, I hope you get the idea... I'm just thinking out loud trying to see through the murk, and these thoughts I'm sharing as a result of this thread and looking at these and other artists here and on e-bay.

Many of these successful artists start their prices out at 0.01, yet, they finish at $600! If buyers want your work, it rarely matters what price you start it at, as long as it is lower than their maximum! Think expensively, and your mind will start to find solutions in that direction, think cheaply and it will go to that end. Vision precedes results, be careful of subconcious thinking that is self defeating.

This is why I think it is a great exercise for people to show us who they find selling well, because finding them isn't easy. Many eyes work better than only one. So far we have a good start. By looking at all of them as a whole, there might be some patterns that emerge. Sharing those insights are also useful.
I'm learning from these examples, and I'm hoping for more. I'm always searching for more myself, if I find them I'll post them here.

On LOW prices to get SALES:

Clearly, keeping work cheap will generate sales, but simply having "sales" doesn't get you very far. In some ways, I think consistently selling "inexpensive" work creates a self limiting cycle. It creates the impression that low prices are what goes for that artist. The reverse is true too.

It might be difficult and somewhat discouraging in the beginning because nobody is bidding, but I think searching for how to get a more expensive peice sold is better than looking for how to sell 10 "cheap" pieces. Before seeing these examples, I thought along the lines you are talking about, keep the price low and I'll sell.

Well, I did that and the problem was that nobody was willing to go further than what "everybody else" did in my sales history. My results were similar to yours. I priced myself in a rut and because of that I wasn't willing to put up larger stuff that took more time to do. I didn't have faith the customer was willing to pay more. Now I know better. I'm going to not post for a month, let my "low prices" filter out of my history and start a new strategy. In that time I'll start putting together some more ambitious art.

Defining your TARGET:

The other thing about marketing is to define your customer. Learn about them and connect with them. If you are looking only for people wanting to shell out the price of an outting at McDonalds, then great, cater to them, if you are looking for someone higher end, cater to *them*. Generally one can't score a home run if they are bunting. At least that's my current idea :)

On the LEMMING effect and perception of value:

In general, buyers watch other buyers, it is how auctions work after all. So, make it hard for buyers to feel you are a $20 artist, and make it easy for them to feel your are a $200 or more artist. In general, it is easy to feel resentful of the buying public for not recognizing a good thing when they see it, but I think that's where marketing can help overcome some of that. The key is to drive the perception of quality and value. Carefully examine each artists pages as though you were a NON artist buyer. Besides the work itself, how does everything that is said or written support the notion that the artist produces stuff worth paying up for?

On the quality/production side:

This part requires possibly a different marketing twist *and* a willingness to make something bigger, brighter or whatever, i.e. a quality shift.

If you look at the high priced sellers, they have invested more than "quickie" time in their work. That doesn't go for many of the lower priced sellers out there (including me)

The natural inclination I've had from time to time was to think "e-bay buyers are looking to rob the artist and so I'm only going to make quick and dirties". That view will certainly produced those kinds of results.

On EXPECTATIONS and results:

Expectations can drive results. We expect they won't pay more $20 for *our* stuff, so it seeps into our subconscious and we start posting stuff that won't generate more than $20 results. I think these artists selling well don't have that view or at least their level of expectation is much more than $20, maybe it's $200 or $500 or whatever.

To get out of that rut, we may need to let a few *good* (for us) peices go for less so buyer competition has a chance to set in. Assuming we have taking all the other steps to support out higher expected value. Always set a reasonable minimum though, don't start at 0.01. If you know a peice is a bargain at $100 don't price it at $20.

Market yourself accordingly. Doing less is simply not in your best interest. Be willing to list for a months or two with NO sales. (Notice I didn't say NO bids). That doesn't mean you are a failure. The beginning process is a search for what works for you to connect at a higher level. Who says that one has to start selling $10 art to go to $1000 art? If you start selling $10 art, how do you expect to get to the $1000 level? Is it worth $1000 now? If not, why will it be then? Maybe the work has to shift, are you waiting for the customer to get you to produce more elaborate stuff? You are the creator, not them, why not shift it now instead of waiting and making so many visits to the post office for all those inexpensive peices?

On FAITH in your customer and yourself:

One of the artists I saw sold "only" 2 or 3 $1000 pieces in the last 30 days, but he listed maybe 25 and they all got bids upwards of $300 - $700! They didn't go through because of his hidden reserves. He also does BIG stuff, he calls them huge, this helps the higher price range. (He does state the range of his reserves though) He may have something there. He is willing to pay and pay for all those listing fees because he is getting people worked up towards $1000 level. Frankly, one sale gets all those fees back and then some! Why does it do that? Because he has faith there are enough "smart" people to recognize the value he puts on his work! Expectations drive results!

In the meantime with possibly no sales, you will be producing more and better work and sticking to your standards. After a time if you are still not selling, one should reexamine the situation. Sometimes we can overestimate our reach initially, but how can we know how big a bite we can chew if we don't go for big ones to begin with right?

More on product:

The assumption in all of this is that your work has something "unique" about it and isn't just the "same" as everyone else out there. Part of that uniqueness needs to be supported by appropriate *marketing* efforts.

BTW, new buyers are uninterested in your success. Most of them are only interested in your success *after* they bought from you!

I don't know about anyone else, but this thread has informed me to no end. My thanks to everyone who has participated. Keep finding more success stories, the next one could be one of us eh? :D

Sumafra
05-19-2002, 03:19 PM
Thank you so much, Rita and Noble, for some very insightful comments.

arlene
05-19-2002, 04:09 PM
well said noble and alot to think about

might be time to go with the higher stuff...it's certainly the majority of my work and it has sold in galleries and at fine art shows...

CarlyHardy
05-19-2002, 07:40 PM
I took the plunge! and posted one of my plein air oils in a featured auction! It's small so I'm not pricing it too high...but hope the bidding will tell me something about how the buyers like my new work!

Here's the link
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=873835658&r=0&t=0&showTutorial=0&ed=1022715166&indexURL=0&rd=1
if you'd like to take a look.
carly
<aka carlyart>

walden
05-19-2002, 08:05 PM
Hmmm, I think I've seen that painting somewhere . . .:D Looks great-- do let us know how it goes.

timelady
05-20-2002, 05:25 AM
Well, I've been following this a while and think I've learned something (not sure what though!). All the posts have been great to think about. As for Veralyn's work I have taken screenshots of her auctions and aboutme pages to have a good re-think about mine. I suddenly realise that while I spent a lot of time setting up my eBay pages I clearly didn't spend this time effectively. My auctions could be much more professional, and the instilling trust issue is important.

A slight sideline - what about the fact that I sell items other than art? Art is my profession but I do admit to selling electronics and such occassionally for a bit of extra money. For instance, this weekend I found an IBM microdrive on cleanance for 15. I *knew* these cost over 100! So I grabbed it for ebay. I don't do this often but couldn't resist. :) Do you think this distracts from my art sales? Do you think buyers are put off? I have to sell personal items once in a while to pay the bills.

As for bidders below a reserve - I don't think they're worthless. On auctions popularity can be a factor for buyers (not always, but sometimes). What does it hurt if someone bids below your reserve? If it wouldn't have met the reserve anyway it makes no difference that they bid. If someone else does want to bid the reserve they MUST HAVE SOMEONE TO BID AGAINST to get it that high. A lower biddeer will at least help get the genuine buyer's bid closer to reserve. The point is only one bidder bidding the reserve will only ever have an actual bid of $1 if there's no one else bidding. If someone bids $20 it will at least push the genuine bidder up to $21. A quantity of bids might attract *other* new bidders and push the bidding up to the reserve.

I recently had an auction close where the high bid was $12.50 but the reserve was $60 - but the high bidder had no one else raising the bids. She was happy to pay $60 and I offered her the painting privately (she is buying, also I don't usually contact bidders this way).

Just a thought on reserves...which I don't usually do.

Tina.

Sumafra
05-20-2002, 08:52 PM
Originally posted by timelady
I recently had an auction close where the high bid was $12.50 but the reserve was $60 - but the high bidder had no one else raising the bids. She was happy to pay $60 ...

Seems to me like this is a system that doesn't work. If I read this correctly, the bidder might have entered a maximum bid of $100 with a minimum bid of $12.50 but with no other bidders raising the price, she did not meet the reserve even though she is willing to pay it? Something's not working here. If the reserve is $60, let's say, and her maximum bid is higher than that, the system should immediately bring the price up to $60, don't you think? You would have lost that sale had you not contacted the buyer. Doesn't seem right to me. I guess that's something to remember about reserves. I'm thinking that it's better to have a high opening bid and forget the reserve.

walden
05-20-2002, 09:24 PM
Reserves don't appeal to me at all-- when I'm buying something, I want to know what the price really is (one reason I HATE to shop for cars.) The whole reserve thing seems like the same kind of annoying game to me-- in fact, I don't think I would bid on something with a reserve if I were a buyer.

arlene
05-20-2002, 09:42 PM
i did what some of those who have been noted here as selling artists did...i told the buyers in my blurb what my reserve is.

we'll see how it goes.

walden
05-20-2002, 09:47 PM
Ah, if you disclose it, that's a whole different story.

arteitaliana
05-20-2002, 10:54 PM
well....it seems that if people for some reason like the work, it does not matter if there is a reserve or not.
I just sold a piece for $224.00. Started a $1.00, Featured Plus, had a reserve of $99.00 disclosed in the description. It had 98 hits on the last hour!!
This does not happens very often, but when it does...it's really exciting, especially after a very bad period. Maybe things are picking up on ebay? Anyway...I am :clap:

kjsspot
05-20-2002, 11:12 PM
Suzzette, you've got it a bit mixed up. It took me a while to figure it out as well. Let me try to explain.

For example, let's say we have an auction. Opening bid $1. Reserve $100. Someone comes in and says, OH! I like that! And puts their proxy bid in. Now IF they bid say, $99 than Ebay will post it with only their opening bid of $1 until other bid it up because it did not meet the reserve amount.

Now if their proxy bid is OVER the reserve, say $150, Ebay will put their bid in at the reserve of $99 until someone bids it up.

Make sense?

kjsspot
05-20-2002, 11:16 PM
Rita!! WTG!!!

Sumafra
05-21-2002, 01:23 AM
Originally posted by kjsspot
..let's say we have an auction. Opening bid $1. Reserve $100. Someone comes in and says, OH! I like that! And puts their proxy bid in. Now IF they bid say, $99 than Ebay will post it with only their opening bid of $1 until other bid it up because it did not meet the reserve amount.

Now if their proxy bid is OVER the reserve, say $150, Ebay will put their bid in at the reserve of $99 until someone bids it up.

Make sense?

Completely. Thank you. That makes much more sense.

arlene
05-21-2002, 01:38 AM
so let me understand...if someone right from the start bids the reserve or over, it will automatically bump up to the reserve price? without having to wait for others?

kjsspot
05-21-2002, 01:53 AM
Arlene, yes. You've got it!

cagathoc
05-21-2002, 07:31 AM
:clap:

It was worth that and more...

walden
05-21-2002, 07:40 AM
Good for you, Rita! :clap:

kjsspot
05-21-2002, 01:07 PM
Hey Rita! I just now sold something for $224 as well! YEAH! =) But it was from my store, not an auction. But it was the auction that drew the attention to the store! I FPed my veiled nude and it went for $98. But then the same person come through my store and purchased my Graphite Drawing of a Female Nude for $224.94. YEAH! =)

I do think things are finally starting to pick back up on Ebay.

terrygar
05-21-2002, 05:17 PM
cagathhoc, what is the name of your ebay handle or store.

cagathoc
05-21-2002, 09:48 PM
Terry,

it's cagathoc, just like here :)