Do you consider yourself to be an artist in the making? Then you should probably think about how to start an art print business.
We know the idea of setting up an art business can be pretty intimidating, especially if you have no idea about running a business. It is a serious commitment, and you will need to devote all of your time and energy to it.
But on the flip side, there are quite a few neat advantages as well. You can sell your art prints for money, which serves as a good source of income. Plus, you get more exposure and a chance to expand your sphere of influence by selling art prints to different people.
Even after all that, you might still wonder how to get started. First, add a high quality printer for art print to your business shopping list. You might wonder if the art print business is profitable or not. Fear not as that’s what this article is all about. Here, we have provided a guideline on how to start a wall art print business or just art print business in general.
FUN FACT | Did you know the art print business from home has become so common that the government introduced simplified home office deduction that saves you some money.
Check our article the simplified home office deduction includes the internet to know more on how you run your business from home while saving some money.
So, without any more delays, let’s dive in!
How To Start Your Own Art Print Business
A. The Basics
To get started with an art business, you need to start with the basics. Like most other business ideas, there are some fundamental principles that you will need to follow. Most of these fundamentals will help lay a solid foundation for your business so that you don’t face any issues later on.
1. Create A Business Blueprint
The first step in starting your art business is to create a detailed business blueprint. And by blueprint, we mean a general plan for your business. In this phase, you need to decide the model of your business where you can choose between a fully digital or a conventional business model or opt for a mix of both.
Based on what you choose, you can plan further ahead. You will need to incorporate several aspects of your chosen business model to get started with the next step, which is to set a budget.
2. Develop A Budget And Allocate Funds
A decent starting capital is necessary for any new business because, without it, you will not have sufficient funds to carry your business plan forward. And that is why setting a budget is important.
As an artist, you may not have the financial capital typically observed for other business types. So, developing a budget assumes even more significance for setting up an art business.
Thus, it needs to be done even if you find it boring and uninteresting. In this regard, you can keep the budget somewhat simple – begin by making a list of all the things you will need and their costs. You can use a spreadsheet tool, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to keep track of them.
Add up all of the expenses, and you will get a clear idea of how much funds are required. That is the starting budget for your business. Once you have made the budget, try to stick to it as best as possible. You can also cut down on some unnecessary expenses to save some money.
3. Set Up A Studio
After the budget is ready and the funds have been allocated, you need to get yourself an art studio. It will act as your primary workplace, where you can start creating art and selling prints.
Getting a separate art studio can have several advantages, even if it is a little expensive. You can store all of your equipment and tools in the studio, so there is no risk of misplacing them.
In addition, you get a separate space where you can focus solely on your work without any external disturbances. This aspect is especially true if you have a family, children, or pets.
4. Register Your Business
The next and the most important step in starting an art business will be to get your business registered. Since your primary objective will be to sell prints and artwork, you will need a proper business license to do that. And for this, you will need to register your business.
You may think that registering a business is a big headache. But trust us, it is not as complicated as you think. Simply get on the website of the state government; it will have the detailed procedure that you can follow to get the business registered.
If you are lucky, you can complete the whole registration process online. However, even if there is no means for online registration, do not worry. There are numerous third-party agents that you can hire to make the registration process easy. Or, you can check in with an agent at a government office, who will guide you further with the registration.
Typically, you would want to register your art business as an LLC. Once the registration is done, file for the business license and fill up necessary tax documents and forms as per IRS requirements. That will allow you to sell your art for wholesale prices and provide several benefits and protection for your business. And once everything is done, your business will become official.
5. Hire Some Extra Hands
Now that you have an official business, it’s time to start selling art!
But before that, there are some additional steps that you should consider. In the modern business landscape, these can give your business an edge right off the bat.
The first step is to hire some extra hands. Now, you may think you are the artist, so what is the need for extra people? The simple answer to that question is – you need these extra hands to do the tasks that you are not capable of doing.
To elaborate – your primary concern in this business will be to create artwork and prints that you can sell. So, it will be difficult for you to handle other aspects of the business, such as finances, marketing, and a website, if you have it.
That’s where these extra people will come in handy. They can handle these tasks so that you can concentrate on your own work, which is creating arts and prints. Of course, you will need to pay them an hourly wage.
While hiring extra people can be a little challenging with limited funds initially, it will improve the efficiency of your business. And as a result, you can generate revenue in no time.
6. Develop A Website
Brand image is crucial in today’s business environment. And what better way to develop a brand image than having your own website?
Owning a website means you probably have the most powerful business tool at your disposal. You can use the website to sell your prints and art online, make online advertisements and reach out to customers globally. In addition, it is a more efficient means for artists to advertise and promote their art than conventional methods.
So, to create your very own business website, you can hire a web designer to create and maintain it. Just make sure to keep the website simple yet elegant so that it may attract more visitors.
B. Broaden The Scope Of Your Business
The modern art industry is highly competitive, and if you dig deeper, you will see that there are numerous art businesses today similar to yours. Most professional artists start their own business ventures so that they can generate income doing what they love. So, as a professional artist yourself, what can you do to make your business stand out?
A suitable answer to that question is to broaden the scope of your own business. The art market is a thriving business ecosystem, and you need to use all the means at your disposal to exploit it.
So, to make a successful career in the art world, you need to expand the horizons of your business. And to do that, you can follow some of the steps we have suggested below.
1. Expand Your Professional Network
One of the most effective ways to broaden the scope of your art business is to expand your professional network. And to achieve this, you can interact with other professional artists from your domain.
There are many channels you can utilize for this purpose; the most efficient one being the internet. You can participate in online art forums and discussion boards to get a chance to talk to different artists from all around the world.
You can also share your own artwork and prints with them and get to see the artwork of different artists and printmakers in return. Or even better, you can create a discussion board for your own website, where artists and art enthusiasts can talk with each other.
However, if you prefer a more personal touch, expand your network the old-fashioned way. Attend art exhibitions from time to time, or visit different art galleries. That way, you can interact with different artists in person, who can lend you some of their knowledge.
Regardless of your chosen methods, expanding your professional network can be an enlightening experience. You will get to know what the current trends are and understand consumer demands better. Subsequently, you can apply them in your business to expand its scope.
2. Participate In Art Exhibitions
As we have suggested in the previous step, you should attend art exhibitions to expand your professional network. In this context, instead of being just an attendee, you can use such events to promote and expand your business proactively.
You can put some of your own artwork on display in these exhibitions from time to time. Such events are attended by numerous artists and art enthusiasts. So, you can get significant exposure for your work and, by extension, the business.
Besides, these events are attended by other art businesses and establishments as well. So, you can find other artists to collaborate with, which can provide even more exposure. In addition, you can strike sponsorship deals with established art businesses that might help step up your business.
3. Find And Engage Your Target Audience
Another crucial step to starting an art business is to determine the target audience of the business. Like any business venture, finding the correct target audience helps generate the exact products that the consumer needs, which, in turn, generates revenues.
For this process, you will first need to determine the characteristics of your preferred audience. Consider metrics, such as the average age of your consumers, their gender, income ranges, and so on.
Doing so will help you get an idea on what type of art will be the most appealing to your customers. Additionally, it will help set the prices for your art prints so that the majority of your consumers can afford them.
However, just determining your target audience is not enough. For your art print business to be successful, you need to engage with the target consumers actively to retain their loyalty and interest.
A loyal consumer base can be quite useful for your art business. Besides buying art prints, they will help you promote your business to new consumers through positive word of mouth.
You can also create interesting posts and articles, either on your website or on other channels to engage target customers.
4. Develop A Mailing List
A mailing list can be a pretty useful tool for engaging with your consumers. And to follow up on our previous point, you can create a comprehensive mailing list as a medium to interact with your audience.
Initially, you can start with a small mailing list of your friends and family members. From there, keep on expanding as time goes on. You can add other artists and art businesses, art galleries, and venues to the mailing list once you have developed your network enough.
The advantage of a mailing list is that you can create personalized emails and newsletters for your audience. You can include interesting details regarding all of your new and upcoming artwork and prints.
Also, inform the consumers about any events or offers you may be planning. This will add a more personal touch to your business communications and engagements. You may get response emails from your consumers about what type of arts and prints they want to see. That, in turn, will give you some idea about expanding the business.
5. Expand Your Social Media Footprint
Social media is an integral part of our modern lifestyles. No wonder almost all businesses today have numerous social media channels to promote and advertise their products and services.
Similarly, you can use the platform to promote your art business. Most artists today have some form of social media presence so that they can present their art to a wider global audience. Social media sites, such as Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and DeviantArt are specifically designed for artists so that they can share their art with more people.
So, as a part of your expansion strategy, you can create pages for your business on the above-mentioned websites. Share your artwork and prints on these platforms so that more people can become acquainted with your work and business.
Besides, you can also create pages on other conventional social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Here, you can share art prints, as well as other interesting tidbits about your work that people may find interesting.
Regardless of what you post, make sure to maintain an active presence on these platforms. Since they are accessible around the world, you can use them to reach a wider audience globally, which is not possible through conventional methods of promotion.
6. Expand To Other Art Forms
Another expansion strategy that you should consider is expanding to different types of art in addition to your original art form. In other words, instead of offering only one type of art print to your consumers, expand your portfolio to include other types of art based on consumer demands.
For instance, if you started out with conventional art prints like lithographs, you can expand into creating giclée prints, etchings, or even digital art. As an artist, this will not only help you diversify your artistic capabilities, but it will also enable you to appeal to more people.
7. Manage Your Time Efficiently
It is often said that one of the key ingredients for success is effective time management, which is true for businesses as well. So, try to manage your time as effectively as possible, otherwise it might be difficult to organize the work.
For this, you will need to start tracking your activities. Make a list of the tasks you do on a regular basis and how much time you need to get these tasks done. Accordingly, you can create a working schedule for yourself.
Just try not to deviate much from the schedule that you have created. If possible, group similar types of tasks together for maximum efficiency. Conversely, you can remove or reassign trivial or low-priority tasks to make time for more critical activities.
However, you need to set aside some time for rest and recreation too, which should be managed in a manner that does not affect your regular tasks.
Useful Tips For Starting An Art Print Business
Now that you know how to start an art print business, it’s time to get the creative juices flowing. But before you begin selling your art, we would like to offer you a few useful tips to keep in mind.
The following pointers are complementary to the guidelines we have laid out for you so far. We hope they will be beneficial for you and your endeavor in the long run.
1. Set Clear Goals
One tip we can’t emphasize enough is to set clear goals for your business and yourself. Right from the moment of its conception, you need to have a clear idea of what exactly are your short-term and long-term plans.
Have a clear idea about how many prints you will need to sell in the first six months. Or, if you want to create digital art prints in the future, you need to plan exactly when and how they will be implemented. Setting these goals will eventually help you realize your vision and business objectives.
2. Start Small
Honestly, who wouldn’t want to make a big start in their business? It will help you get considerable capital, a large enough portfolio, and a decent consumer base to begin with. But contrary to popular belief, starting out large isn’t always as attractive as it sounds. The risk also increases simultaneously, and if you make any mistakes, everything will come crashing down.
So, it is perfectly okay to make a small start, especially if you have no prior knowledge about doing business. Begin with only a few prints, and keep expanding your portfolio at a comfortable pace. That way, you get to fix any mistakes easily, and you will have an easier learning curve as well.
3. Never Skip Any Legal Formalities
No matter how boring or trivial they might seem, never skip any legal formalities.
Make sure to fill out forms and get all the necessary documents on time as required by the IRS or any other administrative body. That way, you can ensure your business is fully compliant with the regulations to avoid any trouble with the authorities in the future.
Besides, if you follow all the regulations, you can opt for several benefits and protections offered by the government in difficult times. So, take care of all legal formalities without any delays.
4. Be Prepared To Sell Anytime
Preparedness is a virtue that you should possess to keep your art print business relevant. So, always stay prepared for any opportunity to sell your artwork or promote your venture. However, you should not come off as too sales-y because that can be counterproductive to your goal.
Keep track of your inventory and have enough prints and artwork ready so that you don’t need to keep the customers waiting. On top of that, you should be ready to present your work to prospective clients at any time. Also, make sure your business is visible and accessible at all times.
5. Keep Yourself Updated
As an artist, you should keep yourself updated about the latest trends and news related to the art world. That will not only help you enrich yourself further but also help to get your business to a larger audience.
Stay informed of any events that may be happening near you. These can be art shows, art fairs, exhibitions at galleries, or competitions. Regardless of what type of event it is, try to attend and participate so that you can promote your work to more people.
In addition, subscribe to art magazines, attend seminars and interact with other artists to remain wary of any new trends. This will help you adapt better to the ever-changing market.
6. Stay Active On Social Media And Other Digital Channels
We have already stated that you need to be present on social media and other similar online channels. In this regard, just having an account is not enough. You need to stay pretty active on these social media platforms.
If you are not active, your followers won’t remain interested in your work for long. That can drive away any potential customers in the future, so present your art and prints on social media regularly. You can also try making other types of posts to keep interested users in the loop.
Furthermore, you should always keep the business website updated. If you have an online art print shop, make sure to update it with the latest prints and artwork as soon as possible. And send out newsletters to the contacts in your mailing list frequently to let them know about any developments in your business.
Art Print Business Frequently Asked Questions ?
Is an art print business profitable?
The art market is a thriving segment, so yes, there are considerable profits that can be made in an art print business. However, it is a highly competitive market, so you should take the steps necessary to stand out. And if you do everything correctly, your business will be profitable.
What should the profit margins be?
Generally, the price of artwork and prints should be 2 to 6 times the cost of making them. And if you sell your prints through online channels, the profit margins will be roughly the same. But if you sell through art galleries and exhibitions, you may have to pay around 25% to 50% of the retail price as commission to the organizers.
Can you start an art print business as a partnership?
You can start your art print business as a partnership. However, it is not recommended since they do not provide adequate protection and benefits like a Limited Liability Company does.
How many prints should you typically make?
Typically, you should make around 25 to 250 prints for your artwork. But that is not a fixed number, and based on demand, it may change. So, you should be flexible enough to meet these changes if they arise.
Art Print Business Final Words
And there you have it – our informative guide on how to start an art print business. We have provided you with all the information that you will need to get your art print business up and running.
In the initial stages, you may feel that it is not worth it. You may also make mistakes, face rejections and fail to meet your targets.
However, we suggest that you don’t get demotivated or take them to heart. Instead, we would suggest that you learn from them and keep moving forward. That way, you will eventually become a successful artist and printmaker.
We hope that you found it entertaining and enlightening to read. With that, it’s time for us to wrap up.
Until next time, take care!