Where else should I promote my small online art store (MA)?
May 1, 2020 11:03 AM   Subscribe

I am embracing my layoff and just added a storefront to my website, selling handmade watercolors. I am paying $5 a day each for FB ads and Insta ads, and plan to list my work on Etsy soon too. Are there any other virtual markets or clearinghouses where I can promote or list my wares?

I am based in Boston, MA. I am willing to pay to promote/advertise/list. I eventually hope to show my works at small maker fairs but obviously that won't be in the near future.

I am a first time business owner and JUST opened my store so feel free to explain it like I'm 5. I'm a quick learner but there might be "obvious" solutions I won't have thought of.

Thank you in advance!
posted by seemoorglass to Shopping (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I hope this is not a stupid question, but are you selling handmade watercolor paintings, or watercolor paints?
posted by all the light we cannot see at 11:04 AM on May 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: not a stupid question, I did not clarify it! I am selling handmade watercolor paintings.
posted by seemoorglass at 11:09 AM on May 1, 2020

Put your URL in your profile! :)
posted by arnicae at 11:17 AM on May 1, 2020 [7 favorites]

In addition to paying for Insta ads, you could try to find local or relevant Insta pages that repost artists (either for free or paid).

I don't know about Boston, but my city has several Facebook groups for artists to promote their work.

(Not the most lucrative spot since many artists don't have a lot of money, but it's a great place to get your name out there, and find art swaps if you're into that.)

Once caf├ęs are open again you can talk to owners about exhibiting your work there.
posted by mekily at 11:23 AM on May 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

Have you considered painting 4x6 or 5x7 cards and offering packs of 5 with envelopes on local listservs? There are a lot of people writing snail mail these days. If you packaged them with stamps it would be even better.
posted by cocoagirl at 11:33 AM on May 1, 2020 [9 favorites]

I see a lot of artists post their work in subreddits relevant to the subject of the picture posted. Its against most subs to self promote, but people can dm you to buy. Ive usually only seen prints for sale, but i guess there could be users with more to spend interested in originals.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:20 PM on May 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

Seconding cocoagirl; up here there are (upscale) cafes, tea shops, coffee roasters, high tea, local clothing designers, gift shops, boutiques, etc. that sell packs of index-card-ish sized art by local artists for use instead of hallmark greeting cards, or to attach to gifts (flowers, baskets), or as small "thank you" cards.

Either the back is blank, or they're folded over with the inside being blank and the artist's contact info discretely printed on the back.

Most include appropriate sized (optional) envelopes, so maybe sizing your pieces to fit into those might be worthwhile.

I've seen them in cellophane envelopes or neatly tied with a bit of ribbon or "rustic" twine.

Handpainted watercolours could have a bit more cachet than prints and I'd imagine that they could fetch a higher premium.

Of course, this is predicate on these kinds of stores opening up again.

Would probably involve cold calling and chatting up the owner/ manager (to get in touch with the owner, or leave a sample to forward on to the owner). Maybe offer to do custom sets that either the owner finds aesthetically pleasing, or ties into their business in some way.
posted by porpoise at 1:24 PM on May 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

In my neighbourhood Facebook group, if you were to sell a pack of a few postcards, already stamped, and offer porch drop offs to deliver them after the cash is transferred- I think you would do pretty well. Maybe at a $10-20 price point for however many cards makes that worth your while!
posted by nouvelle-personne at 1:39 PM on May 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Instagram is king for this. But you need to work it like it's your job (bc it is!). First, get plenty of high quality photos of your work. You can also take photos of your inspiration, workspace, etc. Look through artists feeds you like to see how they manage between pics of finished work vs other content.

Set up a bot like Instazood. It will help you get followers and wider visibility on the platform. Is it cheating? Not any more than wearing good running shoes in a marathon is cheating instead of running barefoot.

Post at least 3x a week, comment on other people's posts, and link your shop in your profile. You can also set up posts with 'click to buy' embedded so they click on the item and it goes right to your website.

Do this for 6 months and I guarantee you will be seeing sales happen! Good luck :)
posted by ananci at 8:49 AM on May 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

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