5 Ways You Can Start a Mosaic Art Business Now

If you are considering turning your mosaic passion into a business, here are some easy ways to get past thinking and hoping and start doing.

First, realize that most mosaic businesses grow with layers of revenue. For example, a mosaic business may start by selling small gift items, then add a layer of revenue from commissions, then a layer of revenue from teaching, and so on. You could try to start the business in multiple revenue channels, but that increases capital requirements and risk of being spread too thin. Get a base layer of revenue started.

There are certainly more than five ways to get the first layer of revenue going, but here are some that require very small investments (probably less than $1,000). In fairness, none of these are likely to generate a large amount of revenue either. The objective is to stop thinking about starting a mosaics business and take positive action.

1. Sell at art and craft fairs & events

Products that can work well

Wall art, mosaic sculptures, functional home and garden items i.e. trivets, coasters, etc. are possibilities at these events.

Considerations

Does the event draw a crowd that may be interested in what you will be selling? If your art is focused on horse portraits, a wine-walk attracting urban dwellers may not be a relevant event. So find events that are in horse country or are part of a horse racing event (or consider making wine themed art).

Can you get people to come to your booth? A part of the fee you pay to be a vendor at the event is to reach the audience that the event producer attracts to the event. So why should you bother with marketing? Getting a familiar and friendly group will up your chances of success. It is probably impossible to have too many people to see what you have for sale.

Does the event have a track record attracting crowds that seem to be worth the fee? The operative word in the question is "seem." About the best you can do is to work on the premise that little crowds get little fees and big crowds get big fees.

Marketing & Selling

One way to attract people to your booth at an event is to use social media marketing. Constantly be building your social media audiences, then post on Facebook and Instagram about the upcoming event. Share photos of some of the items you will be showing at the event and, of course, invite everyone to attend.

Personal networking is another marketing tactic that can work if the event is near your personal network. Make a small printed piece about your participation in the event. Then invite people you meet and give them one of the printed pieces as a reminder.

Presentation (merchandising) of your products is an important consideration. As a rule of thumb you want to present items so the visitor can easily imagine the item in their home or as a gift.

2. Sell (or consign) to gift shops

Products that can work well

Functional home and garden mosaics i.e. trivets, coasters, garden mosaics for planters, etc. are possibilities in gift shops.

Considerations

Packaging and display are a part of the selling proposition. In this case, the buyer for the shop is your customer, the consumer is not. The shop owner wants to generate as much revenue per square foot as they can. You can help them do that by offering them items that are relevant to their shoppers and presented and priced to sell easily.

Pricing can be approached in one of two ways – cost plus or target cost. With cost plus the materials, labor and desired profit are summed and offered to the customer (gift shop) at the price. With target cost the starting point is what the gift shop can sell it for. Then you target your cost by subtracting the shop's profit and your profit to get to the target cost of the labor and materials component. If the shop is expected to purchase the items from you they will want to sell it for at least 2 times their cost. If you offer it on consignment the shop may accept less profit.

Marketing & Selling

One of the first steps is to understand the gift shops that are in the geography you want to begin serving. In addition to online searches, you can also identify some shops through your own knowledge of the market area and by questioning your personal network. You need to also identify the buyers for the shops. Visit the shops to better understand what they sell, how much they sell it for, and whom they may be selling to. Also check out their social media presence and online stores.

Focus a marketing effort by preparing a list of the shops that should be your targets. Then begin to connect with them in social media and personal networking making them familiar with your mosaics.

Selling may be a personal visit with your offering, or online, but more important is how your mosaics will make them money with little or no additional risk.

3. Teach a class

Products that can work well

Your knowledge, experience, and communication skills are not the product. The product is what the student learns and an enjoyable learning experience.

Considerations

Facilities are one of the top considerations. The nice part is they can be acquired on per-day basis – no long-term lease. They must be within easy reach of the target audience (probably less than a one-hour drive) and affordable. Types of places to consider are art studios and galleries with classroom space, restaurants with private dining areas, parks and rec facilities, and hotel meeting rooms.

Marketing & Selling

Start the marketing 90-days in advance of the class. At first it may be promoted monthly, then twice per month, then weekly, then twice per week.

One way to create interest in your class is with social media marketing. Constantly be building your social media audiences, then post on Facebook and Instagram about the upcoming class. Share photos of some of the mosaics you will be teaching people how to make. Communicate clear learning objectives, and, of course, invite everyone to attend.

Personal networking is another marketing tactic that can work. Make a printed flyer about your class. Then invite people you meet and give them one of the printed pieces as a reminder.

4. Consign to restaurants, coffee shops, and spas

Products that can work well

Wall art is probably the best bet because it's harder to be removed without being noticed.

Considerations

People don't go to restaurants and coffee shops to find art. It is an impulse item, so a lower price point probably works best (less than $150). High price points i.e. $3,000 probably do best to get exposure for your work and build your brand (and decorate the restaurant for free).

Impulse items are items that ignite an emotional response. Emotional responses can often be triggered with dramatic subjects, dramatic color contrasts, and surprise.

Is the place a fit for your mosaics?

Marketing & Selling

In addition to keeping your eyes open for opportunities, questioning other artists (and art organizations) about places they are aware of is the most efficient method. The questions can be asked to groups on social media platforms too.

There is little selling necessary if the patrons of the place are a likely fit for your art.

5. Sell at farmers' markets

Products that can work well

Functional home and garden mosaics i.e. trivets, coasters, mosaics for planters, etc. are possibilities at farmers' markets. And, wall art may sell if it can be properly displayed.

Considerations

Does the market draw a large enough crowd that you may find buyers in it? Many farmers' markets are only open for a part of a day so that can be a limiting factor in the size of the audience you may get. That may not be a problem if the booth fee is appropriate.

People that attend farmers' markets are likely looking for fresh produce because they are interested in cooking and or healthy lifestyles.

Mosaic art and crafts that reflect those interests and the values that may accompany them are likely to be more appreciated.

Can you get people to come to your booth? Like other venues, a part of the fee you pay to be a vendor at the market is to reach the audience that the event producer attracts to the event. But, you can treat it like it is your store and promote it to get even more people to see your mosaics and think of you as a mosaic artist.

Marketing & Selling

Again, you can think of the booth at the farmers market as your store. One way to attract people to your store is with your social media marketing. Constantly be building your social media audiences, then post on Facebook and Instagram about the upcoming event. Share photos of some of the items you will be showing at the event and, of course, invite everyone to attend. Then after the event, be sure to post photos of your booth and the people who stopped by.

Personal networking is another marketing tactic that works. Make a small printed piece about your participation in the market. Then invite people you meet and give them one of the printed pieces as a reminder.

Presentation (merchandising) of your products is an important consideration. At farmers' markets items are usually displayed on a table with people looking down on them. Unless you are showing coasters, trivets and other items that are customarily seen laying on a table, you will need to get creative with your merchandising.

1 comment

  • Hi, I love mosaic art, I have done a few for my personal use around my house. I like to know more about marketing but need a beginner boost on the art. Do you have a class webinar or videos of them. I live in Alabama.

    Elaine Kassouf

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