If you’ve been well-and-truly bitten by the mosaic bug and honed your skills, you’ve probably filled your home with mosaic art and given away as much to your friends as their space can bear. As rewarding as it is, mosaic-making can be time-consuming and expensive. One way of recouping your investment that all keen crafters should consider is selling their art online. If you’ve never made money from your mosaics before, you’ll be blown away by the satisfaction of selling a piece and being paid for spending your time doing something you love. Read on for tips and tricks about art, advertising and online trading.
First of all find your platform. Many crafters and artists sell their material on eBay, usually under the category ‘Self-representing artists’ but also often under home decoration and furniture categories. It depends what you’re producing: hanging pieces for the wall or sculptures might sell best under ‘art’, while mosaic objects such as mirrors, items of furniture or homewares should be entered under the item category. For a little extra, you can list under both! Whether you ultimately choose eBay or not, spend a little time checking out the competition, including pricing and the pieces that seem to sell.
Another popular platform for amateur and professional artists as well as vintage sellers is Etsy, a site with a more dedicated craft focus. The competition may be fiercer, but there is much more virtual ‘footfall’ from people looking for the right style of work who will appreciate the ‘homemade’ touch. For extra credit from Etsy buyers, consider offering a personalisation option: name plaques for children’s rooms, photo frames bearing a special date such as a wedding and even mosaic portraits are popular and fetch good prices.
Building your brand
Once you’ve started selling your back-log, you’ll start to get an idea of what sells well. You might find that your favourite pieces are the most popular and that they’re well worth the time you’ve dedicated to them. However, be prepared to find that some pieces are a wise investment in time and materials, and others just aren’t worth it. If you’re serious about selling your work, it might be worth focussing on the pieces, styles and formats which offer the best return on investment. Get into the habit of writing down what you spend on any single piece, and how many hours your dedicate to it, so you can decide how much you need to charge to at least break even. You don’t have to abandon the pieces that don’t break even, but if you can fall in love with a format which is popular and profitable, all the better!
Of course, selling online isn’t all about the art. It’s increasingly important to be savvy at business, which means marketing yourself effectively, establishing a brand, and offering good customer service. Once you settle on what your ‘style’ is, spend a little time building your brand on social media, on your website, and on your online shop: even your eBay or Etsy profile should be branded and hyperlinked to the rest of your online presence. Get active on social media, take unusual photos from interesting angles, and refine your sales pitch: use similar listings described in different styles to get an idea of which words sell best. When you make a sale, deal promptly and professionally with your buyer and watch the good feedback roll in.
The author is a keen crafter, who writes a blog about fun things to make and do. She gets all her mosaic-making kit from Hobby Island.