Updated: Jan 24
With Thanksgiving around the corner, we head into the holidays season with the world slowly returning to some semblance of normality and thoughts turning to presents and for artists, it’s time to ensure you are prepared for what is traditionally the busiest time of the year.
In addition to the holidays, this time of year now brings us major sale opportunities with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s critically important to be as prepared as possible, so we will look at the strategies for maximizing the holiday period, alongside side some tips and tactics to ensure success.
Singularly the worst thing that can happen to any artist over the holiday period is running out of stock. Sure, if you sell out of everything on 31st December, then maybe you’ve done it just right, but otherwise, you want to be sure you’ve got enough art to cater to demand.
So the first thing to remember is that the months leading up to the holiday season are when all the hard work happens. If everything you do is a one-off piece of original art, then you’ll want the inspiration to be flowing, you want to have a lot of new art in plenty of time.
Also, make sure you have plenty of art supplies. This would be a terrible time to run out! If you leave this too late, prices will rise and stock levels start to get low, meaning you have to search around for items, wasting time you don’t have. Usually, when I need something last minute, I take a trip to my local Michaels or Hobby Lobby store for anything small or quick. I've also been lucky enough to discover a local art store, Jerry's that has pretty much anything that I may need in a pinch as an artist. Your supplies also include shipping materials – just make sure you have everything prepared for a big sales period.
If you turn your art into prints, then ensure you have them printed in advance, as suppliers will all be busy at the time of ordering and you’ll struggle to get the new stock to potential clients in time. This year, I began making my own art prints, and for under $200, was able to buy a decent "art" printer, find awesome photo paper, and buy some mat boards. Focus on your best sellers, that way any stock left over will still be good for the next year.
A Marketing Strategy
Being organized also includes getting your marketing in place ahead of time. Use your email list to start teasing new artwork in advance of the holiday season, show works in progress or if you are planning some new products (see below) give people glimpses into what’s coming.
Start to build up your social media following in advance of the holiday season, so you’ve got a wider reach to talk to with your art, look at specific tactics for each of the platforms you use, being sure to check that your customer base uses that platform.
All of this is about having a marketing strategy. Build this strategy ahead of the holiday season, that way you can be as efficient with your time as possible. Assess your audience, ensure you are marketing and engaging in the areas that matter to them, and put out content they care about.
Time To Accessorise
During such a busy period, it is also a good idea to have additional products to sell.
There are so many different items that could be created as an accessory using the artists’ original paintings. You can produce classic extras like mugs, t-shirts, postcards, and greeting cards. Maybe you could get more adventurous and design an entire calendar of your artwork, there is literally no better time of the year to produce this.
Having these accessories gives you a couple of advantages during the holiday season.
- You can upsell someone buying some art, increasing the average value of a purchase
- You have a lower price offering. More people are looking at purchasing during this period but they won’t all be able to afford bigger works of art
Go With The Theme
It’s the time of the year that people look for a specific type of art, so maybe consider including a winter theme or even a full holiday slant to it. For example, if you paint acrylic landscapes, maybe create some winter-themed landscapes to sell over the holiday period.
Of course, any themed artwork you produce would look great on those new accessories you’ve just come up with!
And why not take the theme into your social media accounts and messaging, think about having a Christmas countdown, or show people ideas for stocking fillers.
Size DOES Matter
Whether you are producing your normal artwork or trying out some themed canvases, you need to consider the size of the art you are producing. The holiday season is unlikely to be the time that people are buying 24x36 paintings, either because of budgets or because they don’t fit that neatly under a Christmas Tree!
So on top of the idea of producing postcards of your artwork, think about doing a run of smaller originals (think 6x6 or 8x10) that would be an ideal gift. If someone does want to spend a little more, then you could group a few of these smaller canvases into a holiday package.
Time For A Sale
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are as big a part of the holiday season as turkey and presents. It’s a time of year when people will be looking for bargains and there is no reason an artist cannot get involved in that.
Look at having a flash sale for Black Friday. Try a discount, maybe offer free delivery or even a small free product with a purchase.
This might also be the perfect time to introduce gift vouchers. People that struggle for ideas but still want to be original with a gift will love the idea of giving a voucher where the person can choose their own piece of original art.
You won’t be the only person looking to maximize sales over the holiday season and with people looking for offers and unique collections, why not think about partnering up with other artists and makers.
You could create some amazing holiday gift baskets by combining your art with other makers, for example maybe chocolatier, candle maker, or designer.
The key is to ensure that the products complement and will appeal to your customer and the customer of the people you partner up with.
Three Things / Top Tips
That’s a lot of ideas for one article! To help, I’ve pulled out the best ideas and given you the three things every artist should be doing to prepare for the holiday season.
1. Get together a good offer for Black Friday / Cyber Monday. Everyone will expect to see something
2. Produce smaller pieces of artwork that work well as a holiday gift
3. Have a plan and prepare nice and early, don’t leave it all to the last minute
I hope that helps everyone, the holiday season can be a great time for any artist, I wish you all the best of luck and a Happy Holiday! Don't forget to check out my new artwork and stay up to date with events and more by subscribing to my monthly newsletter!