View Full Version : biggest cut out of profit & suggestions

04-24-2002, 08:09 AM
What is cutting into my profits the most at eBay is the cost of art supplies. :( I am averaging $160-$200 a month on supplies! I am doing oils on canvas and I use a lot of paint because of my style. I have started doing more smaller pieces - this might help.

What cuts into your profits and how do you minimize it? Let's help each other with suggestions! :)

04-24-2002, 10:06 AM
The biggest cut out of my "profits" is lack of "sales" :D

04-24-2002, 12:25 PM
lol noble...i'd have to say the pencils and the promoting i'm doing now...also i just bought a semi professional quality printer...not cheap...and paper to print on...

04-24-2002, 01:16 PM
I'd have to agree on supplies. But I wouldn't sell a piece for less than the materials costs, and the time (at minimum wage at least!). That's why I don't sell my large work or exhibiting work on eBay.


04-24-2002, 09:39 PM
Supplies and framing costs. Framing especially. I'm now doing my own framing, just having the mats cut professionally, but doing the rest myself. And since I sell my work on Ebay without mats and frames, I reuse them, so that's helping. But like Noble, low sales and low prices are seriously cutting into my profits. LOL.

04-25-2002, 01:25 PM
Framing costs... any time I show, or have the potential to show a piece, I have to frame it... last show cost me 6-800 in framing, and I got off easy.... could have been much much worse.. I am looking to exhibit about 24 paintings right now, if a gallery accepts them, I will have to spend about $1000 to frame them, with no gaurantee of a return. I have 5 going out to a group exhibition next month... need frames...

04-25-2002, 02:23 PM
On the issue of framing costs, the only way to get ahead of the game is to use exhibition frames that you can pop the work in and out fairly easily. For canvases, it fairly easy with the ready-made frames. Work on paper are more difficult because of mats, glass and backing but I have found the exhibition frames to be fairly easy to use. Also, I have just gotten my own framing gun (to insert brads at the back) and I am so pleased with it, it makes the job way easier, a well-worth-it purchase.

04-25-2002, 04:09 PM
Originally posted by Sumafra
On the issue of framing costs, the only way to get ahead of the game is to use exhibition frames that you can pop the work in and out fairly easily
Could you explain what you mean by an exhibition frame? Is this a commercial product kind of thing, or just a term you are using for purposes of discussion? How does it differ from any other frame?

04-25-2002, 09:45 PM
Out where I live, exhibition frames have clips at the back that can be easily removed and replaced to allow you to change the work as often as you want. They are generally fairly plain and will suit almost any style of art. I buy them at my local art supply store.

04-26-2002, 06:42 AM
Yeah, framing is a bit expense. I probably spent about 600 on framing for my first solo exhibition and unfortunately much of that was not deductible as an business expense because it had been done before I became self-employed.

Since then I have started painting almost exclusively on gallery-wrapped canvases. These are the type where the canvas wraps around a deep stretcher (usually 1 to 2 inches deep) and the staples or pins are on the back, not visible on the sides. Most galleries have no problem hanging these as is. You can put a wire on the back with little eyehooks screwed directly into the wooden stretchers. I advise buyers that although I paint them with the intention that they remain unframed they are very welcome to frame them if they prefer. Gallery wrapped canvases (or stretching them yourself) is slightly more expensive than normal canvases but MUCH cheaper than framing. For example a 12"x12" canvas usually would cost about 4, a gallery-wrapped one is about 7, but a frame would be about 18 minimum.

Of course, this doesn't help anyone with watercolours. :( Sorry. Although I've seen some artists dry-mount watercolours in a frame instead of using a matt (the painting floats in the middle) and it looks quite nice in my opinion. :)


04-26-2002, 11:40 AM
Tina, I've seen these floating pictures too. It's different. I'm not sure I care for it much however. It seems to be that whatever is on the wall behind will show through in that extra space, and that might not go too well with your picture. I've never seen one in someone's home, just as a display. It's definitely different however, and where buyers are worried about colors matching the color on the wall, or the sofa, then that would allow the color of the wall to be brought into the painting. Interesting idea anyway.

04-26-2002, 04:50 PM
I dream of someday selling my creative expression, but for now it's just a dream. I can't comment on the frames and such, but perhaps I can offer some thoughts.

I'm facsinated by ebay, but it seems like it is hard to get noticed and things go really cheap, kind of scary cheap from the artists point of view.

Selling fewer for more money means more work, but it also seems like you aren't a BARGAIN BASEMENT dealer either. It seems better, but where the heck do you sell? Do you have to have a bunch of letters after your name to get an in?

From a sales standpoint, there are lots of different opinions about markup. "Keystone" is a term that means doubling your investment, so if you spent $30 on supplies, $70 for a frame and $100 of your time (five hours, $20 an hour), the keystone yould be $ 400. But thats pretty pricey, so what gets discounted?

Your time. Your time is not worth very much until you become recognized, until your name is a brand name. There may be funnier comidiens out there than Chris Rock, but he's got a brand name and his time is worth more simply because of his brand name.

This is depressing. Sorry, but it is such a big thing that many of us think about, and just like everything, many will try and few will succeed, some by luck and fewer by hard work.

BBUUTT, the key is TO NEVER GIVE UP, To follow the dream and do everything you can to be one of the lucky ones. Complacincy is the key to never getting ahead.

If you have read this far, thanks for listening


04-27-2002, 12:09 PM
As a 'unknown' artist, I find that selling on ebay is great right now for this time in my life. There are several reasons. It offers a lot of satisfaction because I can bring in a little extra income doing something I love. I am getting paid for experimentation and improvement in my art too. It's paying for my art supplies, a new computer, my cable internet service (which cost more than what I normally could afford), and helping me pay off a few bills. After the bills ect. I can save for fun stuff like nice vacations and non necessity kind of things.
Some of my paintings sell pretty cheaply, some sell for what I could get in a gallery after commission etc. and some sell for more which compensates for the ones that got away for a song.

Recently I started painting in acrylic, and find that cost abit more than watercolor, because you do use more paints, canvas is a bit more etc. But I think if I do both, I will still maintain a reasonable art supply budget.

Costs of ebay's services can be a gamble. I have tried the featured plus a few times and have mixed feelings about it. I know April has been pretty 'taxing' on art sales for us wet canvasers, so I have not received stellar results from using that service and in fact it has set me back a little. So I am not doing that right now and trying a buy it now campaign.

One of my main marketing things to do though, is to keep something always running on auction, have a variety of priced items, but always have lower prices (these are things that don't cost me much time or supplies). In addition most of my work is small. I manage a steady income that way. I keep wondering what I could do if I didn't work a full time day job!


04-27-2002, 12:39 PM
making it as an artist takes 1% talent and 99% self promotion (hey look at thomas kinkade!)

if you're willing in the beginning to do what is necessary to get recognized, then you have a good shot...and anyway that you have your name out there, is recognition...so far for my first 11 items ever on ebay i have bids on 4 of them..

one of them i noticed is a person who likes one thing in particular...luckily i enjoy drawing all things...but what do you think my next drawing is going to be? you guessed it, what this woman who appears to buy and buy...likes!

as for framing I use a simple brushed gold metal frame and double mat my work...if it's the original, it goes in archival mats, otherwise just plain mats.

framing for ex for my 10" x 10" is under $20 each, and that includes my framer cutting the glass and putting it all together for me. (i find it takes me 3x as long to put it together myself...time i could be either drawing or promoting myself.....or wasting time on WC...LOL)