THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
Miriam Schulman: Susie the Queen Bee who ruled our school, not her real name, of course, sat behind me in geometry. “You know that’s a fake”. She whispered into my ear. And then she schooled me on the differences between my obviously fake watch and her real one. The Susies of the world look at your low-priced art and wonder what’s wrong with it.
Speaker 2: It’s the Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to the Inspiration Place Podcast, an Art World Insider podcast, full artist by an artist where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now your host, Miriam Schulman.
Miriam Schulman: Well, hey there, my friend. This is Miriam Shulman, author of the book Artpreneur and host of the Inspiration Place podcast. You’re listening to episode number 245 and I’m so grateful that you’re here. So in order to shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance, you need to start thinking like a buyer. That’s why in my new book, Artpreneur, I share 14 lesson that tap into buyer psychology. These lessons also take into account modern shifts in behavior from years of shopping on Amazon and during the pandemic and this way you’ll be fully armed with the latest research to overcome the biggest challenges when pricing and marketing your art. So in today’s podcast episode, I’m gonna read to you an excerpt from the book and also answer listener questions.
Don’t forget, if you like this episode, you’re absolutely gonna love my free masterclass “How To Sell More Art Without Being Insta-Famous”. To check that out, go on over to SchulmanArt.com/SellMoreArt. And, my book is officially out so if you’ve been waiting to order the book until it’s out, it is. And if you love listening to the podcast, you’ll love the audiobook version. If you wanna have a handbook with the charts and all the scripts in it then you’re gonna wanna get your hands on either the Kindle or the paperback book. And you will get plenty of bonus goodies when you do so. So go over to SchulmanArt.com/Book to pre-order. We don’t care which format you ordered in and we don’t care where you order it from. Just pop in your name, your email and the order number off of your receipt and we’ll make sure that you get those goodies. All right, my friend. Now, on with the show.
Hey there, my friend. This is Miriam Schulman, author of the book Art Pioneer, host of the Inspiration Plays podcast. I have a special treat for you today. So here’s the game plan for today. So I’m going to start off by reading from the book. Then I’m going to open up today for questions.
Chapter 7: Think like an abundant artist. In the eighties, being cool meant you sported an armful of black rubber bracelets, a ripped shoulder-exposing neon sweatshirt and moussed up hair. An androgynous look popular with men and women. I pulled off the street urchin aesthetic with my babysitting earnings. During this era, an alternative version of Cool included lots of Gucci and other designer brands and New York City street vendors preyed on tourists and girls like me with their knockoffs. Once I bought a fake Gucci watch only to throw it out a few weeks later. Susie the Queen Bee who ruled our school, not her real name, of course, sat behind me in geometry. “You know that’s a fake”. She whispered into my ear. And then she schooled me on the differences between my obviously fake watch and her real one. The Susies of the world look at your low-priced art and wonder what’s wrong with it. When painters priced their art too low, people often ask, Is that a print? Pricing anything too low will lead prospective customers to question both its value and it’s authenticity. If people aren’t buying from you, you might think it’s because your prices are too high. But the problem could be that your prices are too low.
We’re going to unpack the psychological factors that drive people to pay a premium for goods and services, and you’ll discover why it’s a mistake to focus on low-cost products and why you might be holding yourself back from asking for higher prices because you believe that cheaper is easier to sell. Spoiler alert it isn’t. Don’t worry. I promise to explain right now. Except for those who are listening, I promise to explain in the book. So you will have to get the book, but I’m going to read a little bit more. The Coronavirus pandemic, The rise of Amazon and social activism all created dramatic shifts in the way people shop. In 2021, Amazon, with its free shipping and easy from-click to-front door service unseated Wal-Mart as the retail giant. Supply chain issues and inflation further undermined brand loyalty. However, not all buyers are looking for what’s cheapest or even what’s most popular. A conscious consumer may care more about a company’s alignment with their values. Moreover, buyers hit hard by the doldrums of living through the pandemic are less price sensitive and tend to choose items that provide fantasy and escape. That’s great news for people who are offering either art or art classes or something like one of you fabulous people out there. Okay. So I’m going to stop right there. I’m going to open it up for questions.
So Craig says, “Hello, Miriam. I create 8 and 1/2 by 11 paintings. How do I get this on the art-selling sites? Can I take pictures and scale this beaker if a customer wants this?” Oh, this is a nice softball question for me. So, first of all, Craig, an 8 and 1/2 by 11 is a very easy size to reproduce because if you have a scanner bed, that will fit on the scanner bed. So you can just easily scan it and get a really nice high-resolution image from it that you can put on print-on-demand sites. So that is how I would start with that. You definitely will get a better image of it using a scanner. Then you will be photographing something of that size. You don’t have to worry about lighting conditions. The only thing that does happen though, when you scan something of that size and it depends on what your medium is, is sometimes the texture will create shadows. So it depends on how highly textured it is. If it’s highly textured, then you should do it as a photograph rather than a scan.
Craig: I bought your book. So in other words, if I want to, I’m not sure how to start marketing my pictures and what size I should try to market them. Should I try 8 and 1/2 by 11? I don’t know what sizes folks are looking for and if they like my picture and it’s 8 and 1/2 by 11, but they want it 20 by 30. What do you do? I’m a little bit lost here in that regard.
Miriam Schulman: These are great questions. And I get asked these same questions all the time, even by my clients who are in my artist’s accelerator, which is the highest level of working with me. We just had this question last night. So somebody was telling me not exactly your question about how to reproduce it, but what size to offer it. And she was saying her best-selling prints are 8 by 10, and she was embarrassed to tell me how much she was asking for them. She says I ask $30. And I said, Well, I used to offer 8 by 10 prints for $30 over ten years ago, so the price would be higher now. But here’s what I’ve learned, and this is based on over 20 years of selling art experience, is that even though people will buy the 8 by 10s, what’s most profitable to you, what will be more profitable to you and that people love just as much, if not more, are the 11 by 14-inch prints. Now, if you are scanning an 8 by 10 art, you can blow it up to 11 by 14. And that difference in size, it’s not going to distort the art enough that it’s going to really change what it is that they are enjoying. That is the danger, by the way, of if you have an 8 by 10 size and you’re blowing it up huge, it may not look so good, blown up. So you as the artist have to make those decisions. However, what I found works the best is 11 by 14 print and when I sell in person I put a 14 by 18-inch mat on it. For people not in the US, that size might be slightly different.
What I love about those sizes is number one, 14 by 18 there are readymade frames that you can pop them into. And number two is that, that size matted print is the perfect size for our recyclable, recyclable shopping bags. So it makes it really easy to transport a bunch of prints in our recyclable shopping bag. So that’s what I loved selling that size in person now online. So last night my incubator client was like, But Miriam, I sell these on. I was telling her about the price. I said in person, a matted print I would sell for $75. And the truth is, you probably could ask for more. I haven’t tested higher, but $75 sells very well and unmatted, I’m selling them online for $60. My client was like, But Miriam, I’m selling them on Etsy, I think. Me too. They’re buying them on Etsy for $60 on Matted. So that answers, I think, a lot of those questions you were asking me, Craig. Now, one of the things that I do want to share about share with you, which I talk about inside Artpreneur, is I would caution you against offering too many choices to your customers. So even though you can offer so many different options, limit the options that your customer has. No more than three size options and you decide what the substrate is. Don’t give them five options of glass. I’ve seen websites where artists are offering prints and they get to choose whether it’s on metal or wood or paper or canvas. Don’t give them all those options. If you give somebody too many options, it’s too hard for them to make up their mind and they will probably end up clicking away and buying nothing.
Craig: Well, the other question I have. Let’s say someone has a painting on Etsy and they get 25 orders in one day.
Miriam Schulman: You are worrying about success, aren’t you?
Miriam Schulman: I think you have a fear of success. So first of all, if you show it in a frame, which I suggest that you can show it in a virtual frame, there’s lots of apps that help you to do that. When you pre-order the book Artpreneur, we do give you an appendix. We call it the art per appendix. It will give you sites that you can show your art in a room view. That’s one of the common questions that I get from artists is like, how do I display it in a room? All right, so what you do inside your listing, whether it’s your website or Etsy or someplace else, is you and you showed it in a room in a frame, whatever it is you say, this is just for visualization purposes because you don’t want to be shipping frames. And if anything, framing your art can kill the sale because frames are dependent on their decorating. So that was one of the questions you asked. Another question you asked is fulfillment. And I’ve been doing recently, I would say I stopped shipping things myself about a year ago. I now do all my prints as print-on-demand with drop shipping, so I just enter the address into my favorite print on demand site. Again, this is inside the art print appendix. The sites that I use for for doing this.
And if you have so much success, it’s time to hire a little help for maybe a business babysitter. These are great questions, Craig, and I’m glad you asked them to help me clarify what I’m saying because if you were confused, that means other people are too. So I do have a training on that. It’s called Print Apprenticeship. And anyone who joins the Artist Incubator program gets lots of detailed videos about this because all the questions that you’re asking other artists have as well. How do you photograph your art? How do you print it? How do you pack it? How do you ship it? And if you’re not already in that program, Craig, I’d love to have you in there. What we’re going to do for you and for everyone listening and watching is you can get started with two free resources that, and you can either take what you want from the free resources or you can find out more about the program. So the first one, I have a free e-book called The Artist Profit Plan. Go to SchulmanArt.com/Profit and the other resource, I have a free masterclass. So the Free Masterclass SchulmanArt.com/SellMoreArt. Both the e-book and their master class are pretty much the same content.
So it’s kind of like Harry Potter. Some people like to read the book, some people like to watch the movie. So we make sure that no matter how you like to consume it, both things cover the same thing. And so however you want to consume it. If you want to watch the master class, it’s SchulmanArt.com/SellMoreArt. You can either pick a time in the future or choose to watch that on demand. And then both of those things will tell you more about the artist incubator. And we’d love to have you in there in 2023 so that you can sell more art.
Hey, are you enjoying this so far? If so, give the video a thumbs up and hit the subscribe. And I want to know in the comments what you think it means to be an abundant artist. What are you struggling with? Because if you ask a question here, I can make a future video around your question.
Hey, how are you? So Grace is inside the artist incubator.
Grace Marquez: I am. I just joined I guess it was just this week or last week, and there’s a ton of stuff in there that I have just started to chip away at, which is amazing. But I have a couple of questions. So based on that reading that you did of your first chapter, which was great, I guess one of the questions, I have two questions around what you read. One was. You mentioned COVID in particular and how people were looking for things to kind of give them that comfort, to remind them, this is what I found anyway, and I could relate to what you were saying. People were looking for that escape reminders of this world for them, and that the price that we put things at. Affects the perceived value of it. Do you feel that, I totally get it with regards to the lockdowns and COVID and coming out of that time and place? Do you feel that that still is applicable? Given there’s this recession looming in Canada, so there’s this recession looming and we’re seeing the prices of everything going up. Do you feel that that mindset is still applicable in terms of how we message our buyers and remind them of of the value of the escape that world that they can still enjoy somehow? I guess that would be my first question.
Miriam Schulman: Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, they’ve done research and this is throughout the time that during times of depression and recession, that sales of lipstick that never goes down, people want that fantasy and escape. And right now we have this perfect confluence. So not only are there so many more people who are looking to make a living from their creativity because of the pandemic, but we also have people who are looking for more meaning in their life. Any time you have one of these existential crisis, whether it was 9/11, the AIDS pandemic, World War two, or right now with the global pandemic, it is a time where people need more meaning and your art gives people meaning in their lives, and your art matters to them, and they want their life to be more beautiful, more meaningful, whatever kind of art you create, not just the art that goes on the walls, but music is important and writing is important and dance is important. All these things, this is what make our lives worth living, and it matters to people.
Grace Marquez: Okay. Thank you. That’s actually really interesting because I found myself reading more poetry lately, which I don’t normally, and I’m finding myself escaping. I’m a visual artist and I find myself escaping more into words right now, which is interesting. You just brought that up. Okay, that’s. That’s great. Thank you. And then the other question I had was how does the book I’m in the self-directed and incubator that program. So how does the book differ or reinforce that program?
Miriam Schulman: Oh, that’s great question that you’re asking. So this is like the stories behind the program. So when you dive into the program, I’m not going to tell you all the same stories that I do in the book form. So everything is an art. When you go to watch the movie Harry Potter, you don’t get every single thing that’s in the book, right? And when you read the book, you don’t get everything that’s in the movie. Like there’s certain things that are kind of like special effects. So the book is just a different art form and a different way of expressing a lot of the same ideas. But what you have, Ggrace inside my program is you have that ability to come to me every month and ask your questions. You have that ability in the classroom to ask questions. You also get the coaching with Shaun Roney to really unpack your mindset. So I tell you what that is in the book, but it’s so hard for us to see ourselves and to really see some of these mindset blocks that are holding us back. So I’m really glad that you’re in there.
Grace Marquez: Okay, great.
Miriam Schulman: So, Grace, why don’t you share with us your URL Grace does really beautiful underwater work and shipwrecks. Grace, what is the the URL of your website?
Grace Marquez: It’s gracemarquezstudio.com. I’ll type it in here. Thank you. Yeah, I’m an underwater – My subject matter is underwater scenes because I’m an avid technical scuba diver and instructor, so I try and share that world with me. And what you again, when I talk to my customers, which is so important, you said that whole fantasy and escape. I found that when I talked to my customers, they mentioned that like they mentioned that during lockdowns, looking at my artwork reminded them this is who they are. They’re not this person locked up in their home. There’s not this person who’s given up on dressing properly and are in their pajamas all day. So it was really important. But thank you for letting me share that.
Miriam Schulman: Yeah. So those stories that Grace is telling about her customer and about herself, those are the exact kinds of things you need to put into your emails. When you were asking me your earlier question, how do you talk to them? Tell the stories of your clients to not just your own stories. And you know, the more specific you can get and share stories like that, then it’ll resonate with somebody else.
Janet: So thrilled. The book is fabulous. I’m hooked. But I do. I have a crummy day job. Kind of needed to pay the bills. But and I think I’m passionate. I mean, every waking hour that I’m not at the crummy job I’m creating or I’m, you know, it’s nice to hear the advice to go local because I just started doing that. And it’s definitely opening up the network of artists to make connections. So the process is slow, but Sometimes I feel like at this stage of my life I just don’t have like, Am I too late? Is really work.
Miriam Schulman: Oh, my God. No, no, no, no, no. Okay, So so, Janet, first of all, I know you’re in New York. Where is a lot of money in New York? There’s a lot of art buyers, and you should be fine. And when I say join art associations, I am talking about all those. Even the ones where you feel like it’s mostly hobby artists. That’s okay, because that is where you will find out the best opportunities. So it was through like the local art associations where I’d find out, Oh well, actually Junior League puts on this great show in this mansion every year and all you have to do is drop off your art and the Junior League, they, they run the whole thing and they and they love buying the art. And it’s a tradition, by the way, that thing is not happening anymore. But that was an actual thing. That was a really good thing. Maybe find out if they’re doing it again, but these are where you will find out these opportunities.
Now, your question was about do you have to quit your job? I can’t tell you the answer to that, but I can share with you two examples. And both of these clients are in the book. Artpreneur Elizabeth Mordensky, who is a wildlife artist, was working over 60 hours a week on her day job when she joined the incubator, and yet she still surpassed her income goal within six months of joining me. What she leaned into was publicity, which you will hear about in the book. What I share is that she placed a $750 ad and she made $9,500.
However, since I wrote the book and we talked to her most recently, she said to me that actually it led to tens of thousands of dollars and a repeat client. So that is something that we all want. So that’s one example, but that’s not the only example. Marissa Gonzalez was a physician or is a physician, and she was working four days a week in her physician job and she was able to cut down her work to three days a week at her physician job because she was able to replace that income with her artwork. So it is possible to have a job and build an art career. That’s not that wasn’t my path, but it is a path that many artists have taken.
All right. So I’d love to hear from you. Share in the comments below what you think. Give the video a thumbs up and don’t forget to hit subscribe. We have lots more videos coming your way this year to keep you inspired and have 2023 be your most abundant year ever. All right, my friends, stay inspired.
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