Should You Sell Your Fine Art On Etsy?

Should You Sell Your Fine Art On Etsy?


A lot of artists will ask me, “How do I sell my fine art on Etsy?” 

Well, here’s my answer: Don’t.

 Unless you want to sell a lot of lower price items where the margins are smaller, then go right ahead. 

But typically fine artists find that Etsy is not all that productive and it takes a lot of work and it requires a lot of effort and because it’s such an overcrowded market space you tend to start competing based on price instead of being competitive in terms of value, in terms of providing inspiration. 

So if you’re in an overcrowded market space, it’s always going to be tough. 

So this includes Etsy, this includes Saatchi, Fine Art America, any of these marketplaces where there’s a ton of art. It drives the price down. 

The other problem with it is, is that you don’t own the platform so you can’t make the rules. Here’s another reason why I’m not so big on Etsy for fine artists. 

So in Etsy there’s no curation. Right? 

It’s a mosh pit of anybody and everybody which means some really interesting things are sold on Etsy and some you know, not so much so the environment in which your art is presented is incredibly important, right because the vehicle is the message. 

So in order for you to control that environment and to create a tasteful context for your art, you need to own the platform and you need to approach selling your art as a luxury because in fact it is art is a luxury you can have a philosophical debate about whether or not it’s a luxury or necessity all day long doesn’t matter to me. 

It’s just an economic fact, we don’t need art like we need housing. And shelter and basic transportation. We just don’t, right? 

So we are creating luxury items and who consumes luxury items? Well the affluent consume luxury items. 

So if it looks like they’re digging through a garage sale, which are unfortunately what some of the items on Etsy look like and your art is alongside that it’s going to degrade the perceived value of your art Let’s say you want to go for it. You want to go ahead and you want to sell on Etsy that’s fine. 

Just understand that typically higher priced pieces are not going to move all that well on a platform like Etsy. 

So what does that mean? It means that your margins, your profit margins, are going to be a lot thinner and instead of you know, selling one or two or three pieces for a larger amount of profit you’re going to have to sell a high volume.

 You’re going to have to get into real production mode to actually make any meaningful income off of a space like Etsy. 

Nothing wrong with it, it’s just understanding which vehicles are going to suit you best.

 And if you’re a fine artist it may or may not work for you just understand that you are judged by the company you keep so if you look at your category in Etsy and you don’t see things of quality, understand you are placing yourself in the category. 

This is why I’m not a big fan of these overcrowded market spaces and I cannot emphasize enough, if you want to sell your art, you have to understand the market you’re in. 

You’re in a luxury market. It’s really important to work smart and not hard art, making art and being an artist is already hard enough. 

You don’t need to throw up anymore barriers in terms of reaching your market by placing yourself in an overcrowded market space.

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