I recently received an email from an artist who had taken my workshop on working with galleries several months ago and am posting his question along with my response here. Names and locations have been withheld to protect the innocent . . .
Hope you are doing well? Just wanted to say again how beneficial I thought the workshop was. I am close to finishing the book and that has been really valuable as well….the book provides the information in black and white, so if I need to re-fresh my memory about something you discussed, I can find it in the book. I have a couple questions and wanted your feedback. I will try to keep it simple and direct, as I am sure you are very busy!
My first question is…..I am presently working hard at addressing my prices. I have done a bit more research on the issue and have given it considerable thought. I like the price per square inch formula, but I am unsure how to include the framing cost. I originally thought of adding the framing cost onto the price of the painting, but then realized, my framing costs may fluctuate….depending on how I frame them. For the past 2 years, I have found a frame I like and planned on continuing to using it exclusively…. it really address my aesthetic and is a high quality frame for a good price.So, my question is, should I lump it all together? Meaning, figure out a price per square inch that includes the framing costs or, should I keep those things separate and just factor in the framing on each painting? It seems to me that by factoring it in all together, keeps it simple and easy to keep track of….but I am unsure. What are your thoughts on this?
My other question concerns approaching galleries. I have found 1 maybe 2 galleries in _________ that I would like to approach as my “local” gallery. ___________ is also a consideration, but I have a painter friend who, frankly is stiff competition for me, and I thought it might be best to stay away from ____________, and go for _________. I wouldn’t be able to do both anyway, because of the exclusivity issue? (I would think….because the distance between _______ and _______ is about 150 or so miles apart.) In addition, I would think that I would want to approach one gallery at a time and get the yes or no before approaching a different gallery. I am a bit concerned about what you would do if both seemed interested, (what a great thing that would be!!)…. I would assume I would choose the gallery with the best feel and relationship.
I would really appreciate your thoughts when you get a chance!
Thanks so much for the email.
Let me take your questions in order.
Pricing: I really like the idea of you trying to stick with the consistent framing both from an aesthetic perspective and from a pricing perspective – as I said in the workshop – consistency is critical. As far as factoring the framing cost in, I suggest that you hard-wire it into the formula, not add it on top. Galleries are going to want a retail price from you and that will need to include the frame, so it will simplify your life if it’s included. If there is some variety in pricing depending on the size and moulding being used, factor in the highest possible cost – that way you are covered and will have a little higher profit margin if framing costs are lower on some pieces. As an example, you might have a 30 x 40. If you find that your competitors are averaging about $1.75/ sq inch (just a random example number) your retail would be $2,100. Say your framing cost was $250 and the gallery commission 50%, your net would be $800 (not including your other material costs, etc.)
As far as approaching the local galleries you might find that the proximity to _________ isn’t a real issue – but always a good idea to check with the galleries once you start working with them. I wouldn’t worry too much about the competition issue either – let the galleries decide if they feel it is too close in style or subject. If ________ could be a good/convenient market for you, you should pursue it. ____________ is big enough for the two of you!
I also wouldn’t wait for an answer from one gallery before approaching another – with just two in mind the chances of both accepting aren’t high, and should that happen you can then decide which you feel is the best fit (email me if that happens and I will give you suggestions of how to let the gallery you don’t go with down easy). This is a bit of a numbers game and I would rather have you targeting 20-30 galleries to get 1 to represent you (the odds may not be quite that low, but you want to cast as broad a net as possible). There may not be nearly that many galleries appropriate for your work in __________, but I would bet there are within your 250 mile radius.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions or would like to discuss further. Sounds like you are ready to spring into action, which is great!
Agree? Disagree? Have additional thoughts? Please leave your comments below.
In his Amazon.com best-selling book, Xanadu Gallery owner Jason Horejs shares insights gained over a life-time in the art business.