August 12, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Increasing Art Sales with Online Events with Patricia Griffin

Sometimes you need to throw out the old models for doing business and try something totally new. Maybe you're bored with business as usual. Maybe the results aren't as profitable as they were in the past. Or maybe you are no longer enjoying the same ole same ole.

It's okay to go off script.

Ceramic pitcher woodcut Patricia Griffin | on Art Biz Podcast
©Patricia Griffin, Woodcut Thistle Pitcher. Stoneware, approximately 13 x 9 x 4 inches.

Yes, there are traditional practices for showing and selling your art, but it is a little ridiculous to think that those will continue to work in the same way they have in years past. As I said back in episode 96, you have to be willing and able to adapt if you are working toward a profitable art business.

On this episode of the Art Biz Podcast I talk with ceramic artist Patricia Griffin. If you visit her website during certain times of the year, you won't see anything for sale because she has sold out. Zero inventory. What you will see are items she has sold and an opportunity to get on her list so you don't miss a chance to purchase the next time her shop opens.

Patricia and I discuss what she refers to as events—the sales of her ceramics she has 3- or 4-times a year that sell out within hours and have led to a dramatic increase in income. She'll describe the philosophy behind them, the promotional timeline, the collaborations to help raise money for nonprofits, and how the events are a valuable tool for her to cultivate relationships with buyers and potential buyers.

You'll also hear Patricia mention her membership in a program I used to have called the Artist Conspiracy, and you'll be treated to a short soundtrack of her adorable poodles in the background.

Music by Wildermiss

Highlights

  • The book that changed the course of Patricia’s artistic life. (2:04)
  • Patricia’s cautious first step into selling her art. (6:35)
  • A visual description of Patricia’s functional stoneware. (8:52)
  • An overview of Patricia’s sales philosophy and the online sales events that bring in more orders than she can quickly fill. (11:20)
  • The learning curve that comes with selling art in a non-traditional way. (15:46)
  • Cultivating a studio friends list allows Patricia to connect with interested buyers. (17:47)
  • Timing sales events and refining the sales process. (21:50)
  • How many pieces does Patricia have ready to go when her events go live? (26:25)

    artist Patricia Griffin working in studio | on Art Biz Success
    Patricia working on Cheryl's Grace in her Cambria studio.
  • The benefit of connecting your Instagram feed to your sales website. (27:14)
  • Marketing for sales events and what launch day looks like for Patricia. (28:53)
  • Collaborating with a nonprofit does not have to mean donating your work for free. (33:05)
  • Hosting online events, for Patricia, has resulted in a dramatic increase in sales and skills. (34:43)
  • Stories of creating connections and increasing loyalty with buyers. (36:20)
  • How to create the deadlines that will result in increased sales. (39:16)
  • The success of Patricia’s most recent online event—by the numbers. (41:04)
  • The surprising platform brings in the greatest number of customers for Patricia. (43:18)
  • How Patricia balances the need to make art for her soul with the need to produce art for a profitable business. (46:07)

Mentioned

Ceramic bells etched artist Patricia Griffin | on Art Biz Podcast
©Patricia Griffin, For the Birds, Bell Collection. Stoneware and rope, from 6 x 4 inches to 4 x 3 inches .

Patricia Griffin Quotes

“I like the association with the people who are buying my art through online sales. I don’t know that doing it another way would cultivate the same kind of relationships that I have now.”

“Some of these people had been on my email list for years and maybe just purchased something for the first time.”

“Hosting online events has been really beneficial, not only to my business but also to my skills.”

“I don’t think I would have had those commissions if it wasn’t for the online events.”

“I’ve really felt the pull to do something else and get back to some of the experimenting that I like to do.”Ceramic artist Patricia Griffin | on Art Biz Podcast

“I’m continually walking that tight line between the need to produce art in my soul and the need to produce art in my business hat.”

About My Guest

Patricia Griffin is a potter-artist in the seaside community of Cambria on California's central coast. She makes functional ceramics that are hand-thrown and hand-built and etched with designs that look like woodcuts. Patricia’s work is sold primarily through shopping events held three to four times a year on her website.

Follow Patricia on Instagram: @patriciagriffinceramics

Music by Wildermiss

2 comments add a comment
  • This podcast was fantastic! I love the business model of online “events” that Patricia has embraced and found successful. It allows you to create your own schedule, batch the selling, marketing, packaging and shipping, and data collection. And you’re not slogging to and from fine art/craft festivals setting up a booth away from home for a week. Brilliant. Thank you for sharing.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Emily. It seems to be increasingly popular, but Patricia’s was the first I’ve seen. LMK if you use it somehow in your own business.

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