The holidays make us think about giving gifts to those who are important to us, so don’t forget your most important buyers and collectors.
About a month or two after I bought my car, I received a box in the mail from Mini Cooper. True to their brand, it was a small box, but it was full of delight.
The photo below reveals the contents of that box, which was titled “Mini Adventure Field Kit.” Included were a humorous “Field Guide to Good Motoring” pamphlet; an adventure log—hard bound—with Mini pen; mouse pad; mini die; and reusable Window Poetry.
I loved getting this. It made me feel like I was part of a special club. And, then, I thought, “Hey! This is an idea that artists can use.”
I’m not encouraging you to spend a lot of time and money putting together gift kits, but, if you are like most artists, you have a top tier of collectors that you want to show extra care. Overspending would be inappropriate. You simply want to express your gratitude.
Here are a few ideas for themed kits you can use as patron gifts. Notice how, depending on your selections, you can spend next-to-nothing on these.
The Proud Patron Kit
The Proud Patron Kit reinforces the decision your patron made when buying your art. Include any of the following:
- Set of note cards
- Functional goods with your art, such as a mug, mouse pad, or T-shirt
- A giclée of the item purchased
- A certificate of ownership with the image on it (have fun with it!)
The Art Explorer Kit
Help the adventurous souls on your list discover art on a deeper level with The Art Explorer Kit. Wrap up a mixture of:
- A map of your city, state or province, which is highlighted and annotated with your favorite art venues
- Two tickets to a hot museum exhibition
- Event schedules for local venues
- Quarters for parking meters or, if available, parking passes
- A loupe or magnifying glass for “examining art”
- A list of your favorite artists, their studio locations, and their website or blog addresses
The Art Care Kit
If your art requires upkeep or special care, The Art Care Kit will be appreciated by your collectors. Consider a selection of:
- Cleaning tools: soft brush, Plexiglas cleaner, silver polish, or jewelry cloth
- Articles about caring for the work
- A pair of white cotton gloves like curators use
- A gift certificate for a lifetime of free repairs
What can you surprise your patrons with?
What you send is not nearly as important as the fact that you send something. And if a handwritten letter is all that is in your budget, send the letter!
It’s your thoughtfulness that will make an impression and the surprise element that will delight the recipient.
24 thoughts on “Gift Ideas for Your Special Art Patrons”
After reading your blog about hand written notes, I did a series of original watercolor cards that I could produce pretty easily, but each was a one of a kind. These got sent to my repeat clients. My single purchase customers got mass produced cards which I embellished with glitter glue. All cards included hand written notes thanking them for their support, and for helping to keep my dreams alive.
I’m sure they appreciated receiving them, Diane.
BTW, quick work on your part! That post is only about 2 weeks old at the most.
Using spray bottles filled with watercolor and some stencils and Christmas snowflake ornaments, I was able to prety much mass produce the cards and then spend a little time embellishing them. It gave me a break from all the detailed work on what has been a very busy commission season. Thanks to you!
It’s important to enjoy it, isn’t it, Diane? Especially because of the spirit of gift-giving.
I sent my framer who gave me a show a mug with her favorite painting on it – she LOVED it – i think in part because it came as a complete surprise, and usually if someone buys one of my paintings and I have to ship it, I add a small painting or a handmade card that they can frame.
She was DELIGHTED (I love that word).
I’ve been thinking about mugs with an image of mine on them, which you can get made up for $6.99. But then there’s boxes for them, and special mailing. What do people think about tote bags? Same price (at VistaPrint) but much easier to mail, in an envelope. Too corny? People have enough of them already? But they’re cotton . . .
Just before Thanksgiving, I sent everyone who had ever purchased at least $50 in notecards,or a print or original painting, a personal gift certificate for $100 towards the purchase of an original painting. It expires on December 31. As of December 10, I’ve sold 5 pieces. I’ll be doing a reminder follow-up this week as people are getting serious about holiday shopping.
Linda: Wow! That’s great to hear and to know. I’m going to share this on my FB page.
I love that idea too! Now I want to be your customer 🙂
I’m a calendar girl. Seriously. On cyber Monday, when I get a huge bargain,I buy small desktop calendars with 12 images of my art. Then I wrap them in classy paper and ship them off to my collectors. I love the surprise of it and my collectors are looking at my art 365 days a year.
Artist calendars are great. I know your collectors love them, Kathleen.
This year I have also done calendars as well for some of the people who have purchased from me in the past year. MagCloud makes this easy.
Thanks for the recommendation, Neil.
I have given miniature samples of my ceramic wall art. I also make my business cards on clay from a mold I designed that has a design on the front with my name and all the contact info on the back.
To one of the gallery directors, who is also an artist I gave him your book, signed and sent directly to him.
To my Etsy customers I surprise them with cute packaging and a vintage blank card for gift giving.
I enjoy giving and making people happy, they come back for more!
Sikiu: Thanks for that share of IRBITS. Your business cards sound way cool. Do you have a pic of them anywhere online?
For EVERY client that purchases a painting, I send a handwritten thank you card. If a client spends $1,000 or more, I send a sleek packet to them that includes my artist statement and resume. The packet is complete with a slot for my business card and again, a handwritten thank you note as well. My clients really seem to love the personal touch & professionalism with the packets.
Julie: Sounds like a nice touch. I wonder what they do with those packets.
That’s a fantastic idea. It’s always a good idea to keep your loyal customers thinking about you, while showing them your gratitude for buying your art.
Yes Alyson, I posted about them on my FB page, there is the link
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I like the idea of something with an image on it — and my website URL.
My follow up to a sale is not really a gift, per se but but if the client lives close enough, I offer to deliver the painting personally and hang it for them. My work is often large and under glass, so some people are intimidated by the break-ability of it. It’s funny but when all is done, I am often invited to stay for a drink, or a meal and a few weeks later invited back so they can tell me all about the reaction of friends and family to the new work on their wall.
At my studio, I also teach and there is an endless flow of tea (or other beverages) and homemade goodies. I always put out bits for my classes but I find that clients pop in to see what I’m working on and have a nibble. They often go away with a new piece of art or a commission, too.