Is food the way to a gallerist's heart?

Elizabeth St. Hilaire says sending homemade baked goods has helped her build stronger relationships with galleries, collectors, and other artists tremendously.

She says, “Getting noticed takes effort. Staying noticed takes more. Once you are in the galleries you hoped for, you still have to work just as hard to stay there.”

What do you do beyond the Thank You note?

Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson, Proud Peacock
©Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson, Poised Peacock #1. Collage, 20 x 24 inches.

Elizabeth says …

Food is the way to the heart—especially homemade baked goods! I make baked goods for my gallery contacts, I wrap them up and ship them all over the country along with a thank-you note of my pie artwork, or cupcake artwork. This reminds them that I am still ready and willing to do what it takes to be considered for a small group or solo show.

  • “Home made cookies? Nobody does that anymore!” said the president of the Atlanta Collage Society after receiving Elizabeth's cookies as a Thank You for help with shipping.
  • “You rock!” was expressed in an email from Elizabeth's gallery contact in Taos, New Mexico. She had just received three large works from Elizabeth with a special surprise inside: ginger spice iced cookies.
  • “I can't wait to get more of your goodies!” hinted a gallery director from Asheville, North Carolina at the start of the 2009 holiday season.

Elizabeth adds …

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that our galleries work just as hard to sell our work as we do. They ship it, they hang it and rehang it, they use images of it to advertise, they open new galleries and take it with them. I take the time to thank them for this. A little thank you goes a long way.

And then this important insight …

If someone knows you appreciate what they are doing, they are more likely to keep doing it for you

Tips for Shipping Baked Goods

by Elizabeth St. Hilaire

Cookies and breads ship best. I am famous for my chocolate chip cookies! They are easy to share since they do not need to be cut up or served with silverware. They also stay fresh for a long time and can survive a bumpy trip.

Once completely cool, pack into a gallon zip top bag, press out extra air and before closing. Write a note on the bag with a Sharpie marker letting the recipient know what treat they are in for!

Include your own note card. In your note be thankful and appreciative for all the artwork they sell for you!

I pack the box with plastic grocery store bags for cushioning and use a small box so that the cookies do not rattle around.

You can get a fancy gift box from Hallmark or Tuesday Morning or Target (be sure it is rigid) or you can decorate a shoe box.

If you buy books on Amazon like I do, save those small brown corrugated boxes, remove all stickers, and re-use, recycle! I have return address labels with my artwork on them.

I also have note pads and sticky notes with my artwork on them that I use when I ship note cards or DVDs to a gallery. If there is any extra room in the box, I put a few cookies in there too!

I usually ship all baked goods via US Postal Service and send Priority Mail so that they arrive within three days. You want your treats to be as fresh as possible when they arrive.

Alyson's tip: Check out the USPS flat-rate boxes for these purposes.

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12 thoughts on “Is food the way to a gallerist's heart?”

  1. HJM art gallery

    This is a really great idea! But what if I don’t bake? What else can I include with my thank you card?

  2. Oh, yeah! I work for cookies! Who wouldn’t? What a great idea to express appreciation and stay in someone’s consciousness.

  3. I have to admit, I’m no baker. But my wife has made cookies before and we’ve shipped them off to people I work with. The recipients are always pleased!
    I also strive to send business to the galleries I work with. If I have a client purchase a piece of my work, I try to make sure the gallery gets the frame job for it. This not only helps the gallery, it gives me piece of mind to know that my artwork is being handled by people I trust (I often work in unfixed pastels, so this really is a big deal for me). It also makes it easy on the client since they don’t have to search out someone to frame the work. I’ve done this often enough with one gallery that they know two or three options of frame stock that work well with my artwork and it makes the frame job go that much faster for the client. I’ll often deliver the work to the gallery for the client and let them pick it up after being framed and take it from there.

  4. Hey what a lovely idea – and it works! I don’t think it is too hard to do either.
    Could other things work besides cookies?
    Hmm – lots of ideas may just pop up in the future.
    Framing idea sounds good too.
    Like this post.

  5. Wow, shipping cookies across the country – when do you have time to collage? 🙂 I’ve given cookies at the holidays to the shops that carry my calligraphy samples, but maybe more frequently would be better!

  6. Many people have heart conditions these days…Others are on a diet…Celiacs don’t eat glutens…At Xmas this past year, our concierge commented that instead of booze or money he got lots of baked goods- for him this was a sign of failing economic times…The thought is good, but a gift specific to that particular gallerist may be more appropriate…& if a pricier gift is in order (for a job well done), sending it’s a thought that counts gift may not be right…(though I will accept cookies in lieu of payment, for the record)…

  7. Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson

    Hi! This is my post and I’ve enjoyed so many of your comments. I will tell you that my best selling gallery has two employees who absolutely love my cookies! I also send banana bread (which travels well) And recently I had some coffee mugs made with my collage artwork on them so that they can enjoy coffee with their baked goods. Chocolate chip cookies are NOT hard to make. Feel free to email me for a fool proof recipe. I have an artist friend who does not bake, she’s taken my advice and is making chutney for her gallerist. I suggested she have labels made for her mason jars and perhaps even tie some fabric and a ribbon over the jar top. GET CREATIVE! Everyone likes a personal touch.

  8. Hi Candy! I had responded to this comment the other day via my iPhone, but apparently it did not “stick.” I am sure that it was user error on my part. I get my mugs at I get my printing done by them as well. they are easy to use and very good quality on all items. I usually choose the very SLOW shipping, because it’s cheaper and it always comes faster than they say it will! Good luck.

  9. Pingback: Keeping Gallery Relations on the Up-and-Up — Art Biz Blog

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