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Marketing Monday: The Artsyfatsy biz model

What exactly is a business model and why is it important? In a nutshell your business model is how intend to do business, note the emphasis is on the DO as opposed to PLAN. Most small bizes…


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What exactly is a business model and why is it important? In a nutshell your business model is how intend to do business, note the emphasis is on the DO as opposed to PLAN. Most small bizes don’t really need a written business plan, since a well developed model is much more pragmatic. Once you graduate to a bazillion employees and offices all over the universe then you might want to think about a Biz model, but for now…not so much. Generally a business model goes like this:

The Vanilla Biz Model

  • The offer…what kind of stuff do you have to sell
  • Who are you trying to sell that stuff to
  • How do you let folks know you have the stuff they want and how do they get it
  • What kind of relationship do you want to have with folks who buy and or have your stuff
  • What do you need to do pull all of this off
  • Where’s the money going to come from and how is it going to get to your sweaty hands
  • How much is all this going to cost to pull off so you can move out your Aunt Martha’s basement.

The ArtsyFartsy Biz needs

Realistically the model needs to be customized for artsyfartsy bizs just a little to take our funkiness into account. So a funkified artsyfartsy biz model will likely need to take things like this into account:

You sell in a lot of different places,

Generally, artists sell at art fairs, galleries, on-line or wholesale through wholesale shows. So you don’t really have the advantage of those using the retail/wholesale models…always being in the same place. This means your market research may be more or less challenging.

You make the stuff you sell

This may seem obvious the fact that you make the stuff you sell makes a difference because YOU are directly involved, the work not only comes out of you it takes your time as well. You can’t outsource it and truly be able to say it is yours, at least right now.

What you make is a small line of products

You may make one off stuff or you may design a line of things all made from the same material or in the same way. For example ceramic tableware, or jewelry similarly designed but with different functions, or a series of prints that can be hung separately but would be better together.

You carry a small inventory of one type of thing or several similar things

The inventory you are able to carry is limited by space in your studio garage or storage unit and the amount of schlepping you are able to do. It is also limited by the time it actually takes to make because even tho you would like to always be making it you have to sell it to keep making space for new stuff. You walk a fine line between maintaining your inventory and keeping up with sales.

You are limited (or at least have been) to ways of talking to your buyers

You may still feel limited in the ways you can talk to and court buyers. Even though the internet has created many new ways to find, connect with and develop buyers you still have limitations that other businesses don’t have.

You are subject to random acts of one time sales

If you haven’t adapted to the opportunities available through the internet and other avenues you will continue to be limited in terms of predictable income. And even if you do understand the opportunities, unpredictable sales will still be a factor in your business. The only way to reduce the effect of random sales is to both diversity your sales channels and step up your marketing efforts to create a loyal following of ready buyers.

Next week we will take a detailed look at the first part of your art business model… the offer to help you understand just what it is you are selling. The following weeks we’ll cover each of the elements of the business model paying special attention to the needs of the artsyfartsy biz.


Related posts:

  1. Marketing Monday: The Holy Grail Just so you can understand how this approach to sales…
  2. Marketing Monday: The Offer The real buyers, the ones who will come back again…
  3. Marketing Monday: getting and using intelligence Now that you have taken the leap into the world…




By TheArtistsCenter

Bill Weaver is an award winning photographer, visual artist and designer. Bill has worked as an artist, designer, teacher and photographer beginning at a very young age. His mother was a prolific painter and his father was an architect/engineer and inventor. Bill began photography at the ripe age of 8 when he successfully talked his father into letting him use one of his WWII “liberated” cameras from then on he has seldom put a camera down. He was recently informed by his 89 yr old father that the circa 1930 enlarger he used through college was still available! He also started drawing and painting at an early age using everything from watercolor to charcoal. He combined his visual awareness in graduate school where he first learned his love of design.

Bill Created The after 15 years as a working clay artist and photographer led him to question the standard ways artists market their work. In 2004 along with 3 other artists, Brenna Busse, Erika Mock,and Frank Barr, he explored ways to educate the public about the value of hand made work and fine art. Brenna and Erika are contributing writers to The ARTISTScenter.
He also can be found on his photography blog and his photography site

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