Finding your market

Artistic things have specific audiences. I recently read that crafts appeal to only about 5% of the population, and fine art buyers are only about 2% of the population. In order to actually find your market there is a process of determining who the demographic is that the product appeals to, and a price that is reasonable for the value and hard work and skill that produced the item.

Over the weekend we saw an array of different people who either had a strong grasp on the social science of determining your market and pricing, or they did not.

One woman spends meticulous hours beadweaving lovely bracelets. The toho beads she was using are expensive and she easily had $10 invested in the materials alone. I have seen these bracelets priced in the $25-$50 range dependent upon complexity and quality, She was selling them for $12. And everyone was passing them by. Why? It was not her market, and her price devalued her work. When she priced it low it insulted every person that makes a living on their art skills. It said that we overprice our work and that her work is cheap. This is clearly not the case. She was very skilled, and her product looked as amazing as some i have seen at critically juried shows. But she did not understand her market, or put sufficient value in her own skills.

On the other hand I met an artist who has done phenomenal work for a number of years. She is talented, her works are very amazing and the price is adequate for the level of skill and work, but people passed her by heading to the refreshments. The market was not there for her products – people had come for other reasons, apart from buying art.

All this said, If you are an artist or planning to have an art business spend the time and analyze your prices against time and cost. Study the market, check for price comparisons. Visit art shows and look at your competition. There is a fair market value for your work. Once you determine the price then test the waters with shows and galleries. When you hit your stride you will know because the demand will rise.