Picking Up Breadcrumbs

Picking Up Breadcrumbs

breadcrumbs, upselling, marketing art, art tips, for artists,
Picking Up Breadcrumbs - The Art of the Artist Upsell

The art of the artist upsell…

Every week I write a brand new article to support members of our four wonderful art groups on Facebook, The Artists Exchange, The Artist Hangout, The Artists Directory, and The Artists Lounge. This week we take a deep-dive into the art of breadcrumbs. No, I haven’t suddenly turned into a food blogger, I am talking about offering art buyers the added value they expect that will keep them coming back and value that has the potential to completely reshape the optics of a business!

Firstly, A Message from Me…

Regular readers will know that I have removed adverts from this site and I have banned cheesy memes. Instead, I will be only providing relevant inspirational images as an when they apply and will now be bringing you a selection of images throughout each article that showcases my own work. Here’s the thing though, I will soon be extending this to showcase the work of other independent visual artists too, but only if there is enough interest! Leave a comment or use the contact form, but please, keep the images clean and send me a link to your online store or portfolio where the work can be found!

Sales of my work through Fine Art America and Pixels together with cups of coffee donated via my Go Fund Me page, ensure that I can continue to bring you truly independent practical tips, and advice as I have been doing for about the past five-years, every single week.

I have always believed in artists coming together to share experiences, it’s the stuff you can’t learn from anyone else, and I am a big believer in not reinventing the wheel. If I stumble across something that I have found to have had a positive effect on increasing art sales, I am more than happy to share. Equally I am more than happy to share what hasn’t worked too. The art world can be brutal enough for artists and one of the things I have found that helps navigate this equally wonderful and gnarly path is when artists come together.

So, if you do come across a work you love, you can take a look and even order from this link right here, https://10-mark-taylor.pixels.com and don’t forget, you can choose from hundreds of framing and matting options or go with a completely different print option too! You will soon realise what I did there!

fall wall, landscape art, framed art prints, Mark Taylor, Lake District,
Fall Wall, Framed Print by Mark Taylor

Welcome to breadcrumbs!

Over the years I have noticed a few things that are worth doing that too many people seem to ignore. These are the small things that might only make you an extra few pennies here and there, and for a long time, I ignored those small things too thinking that they’re not worth the effort for a seemingly paltry return. How wrong was I! Last year, breadcrumbs made up almost a quarter of my income!

But, that’s not how great businesses are built. Running a business often needs us to focus on the small details, the value adds, and whilst those small things might not appear to be major revenue earners, they often add a value that the buyer wants and that in itself can become a major revenue earner. These are what I call the breadcrumbs, and if you sweep enough of them up, one day you will have a complete loaf of bread. Even if the pennies don’t seem worth the effort, spending the effort to gain those pennies might make a lot of difference to buyers and keep them coming back.

So, this week I want to ask how many of you focus on the seemingly really small-ticket items, the frames, and accessories? Go on, raise your hands! I can’t believe that at least one of you did!

Frames are a classic example of breadcrumbs and that will be the focus this week. How many times do we, and I include myself here, post on social media and leave only the link to our main art page or the landing page for a particular piece of art? Hands in the air again that person!

Thought so, because last week I randomly selected a hundred posts on social media to deep-dive into. Each of the posts had been hash-tagged with the name of a print-on-demand service and they were very much randomly chosen across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. What I saw blew me away for two reasons. Firstly, the art was really great, secondly, no one who posted on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, gave the buyer any indication that the prints they were selling were available framed and ready to hang. None of them let buyers know that the product was available on a much wider range of print mediums until I got to Pinterest where I rekindled my passion for the Mason Jar!

On Pinterest and by the way, that person can put their hand down for a moment now, there were a larger number of posts that did draw attention to other products and accessories in the artist's range. When I say a number, I saw three. All three were to showcase throw pillows.  So out of one hundred posts, only three drew attention to what a lot of people consider the breadcrumbs of our business, the rest were all going for the big-ticket items such as a stretched canvas or asking the buyer without actually saying anything, to go figure it out if they wanted a piece framed. We have to make this process easier.

I did wonder if this was just coincidental and whether or not people really were less focussed on small-ticket items, so I extended the search to cover posts tagged with art for sale and the results were broadly similar. Okay, some were worse because the link to the item was simply a line of text which said, this art is for sale, IM me for details, and I’m not entirely sure if there were any breadcrumbs involved at all. Not inviting, no building of a relationship that is based on trust, and such a faff to be able to buy the work if we need to jump through multiple hoops. Easier for the buyer means that it is not easier for us, but that's the gig.

The overarching theme here seemed to be that, we like to make it as hard as we possibly can for buyers. We rarely let them know that frames are available to buy alongside our prints or originals and it is even rarer to let buyers know that they could also own that print or original on an acrylic block, a sheet of steel, a block of wood, or any of the other lower-cost ticket items. Thing is, these lower-cost items aren’t always less expensive than the big-ticket items we focus on like canvases, and a stretched canvas doesn’t necessarily lend itself to being framed. We scatter crumbs but rarely are they scattered with a goal in mind.

What we sometimes forget to do, or at least I know I do, is market the options available and I think I get why. We don’t market the options because they are manufactured by someone else and the commission in accessories is usually only a small percentage, or we think that the price would price people out of the market. Yet, on Fine Art America and Pixels, that small percentage is five percent and five percent of a great quality frame can work out as much, if not more than the commission you have set on your art. These are the breadcrumbs that make up the loaf. We can't be scared of selling at a higher price if it includes a quality frame, neither should we be embarrassed and yes, for a while, that was me too!

If we all gave up art and worked in an environment selling battery operated widgets, there is little doubt that we would be asking the customer if they wanted to buy the batteries to go with the widget. It is the classic upsell. With art, or specifically with art marketing that is posted on social media, we often have a tendency to make it known that our art is either being sold framed or unframed. The frame is usually the one chosen by the artist and if it is unframed, there are rarely any visible options that let the buyer know that they can pick out a different frame, and then have the work delivered and ready to hang.

Whilst very few of us, and yes, me too, let our potential buyers who scroll for miles and miles on Facebook know that framing is an option, even fewer of us really push the merits of using quality frames, mats and accessories. Yet, these additions can often transform the look of work entirely, open up more of the market and even open up different markets and provide you with a little extra income.

glow over a dry stone wall, Mark Taylor, Landscape art, fine art america, framed art prints,
Glow Over A Dry Stone Wall - still my favourite!

So how do we upsell?

The experts say that to sell anything in volume, that something should solve a problem that buyers have, even if they don’t realise they have that problem, to begin with. A couple of nights ago I stopped to look at an article on a page I follow on Facebook but rarely ever read, and the article pointed out that people living in 2019, and who had cold hands would now have the unique opportunity to own a hand-warming mouse mat. Oh my, what a time to be alive.

I had no idea that was even a thing. My hands get cold but I put that down to the fact that I refuse to turn the heating up until absolutely necessary, usually around December 25th and I turn it off again on the 26th. But when I read the comments, it seems that cold hands when using a mouse is a real problem that people have, and so many of them were asking in the comments where they could buy one from, it had little holes for the cable, they really had thought of everything and good design fits anywhere as they say (but not this). I was too taken aback to find out much more because I had no idea that this was a problem as big as the comments told me it was. Hashtag missed the boat on this one!

Art is slightly different, I guess it does solve some problems but perhaps not in the same way a widget such as a heated hand warming mouse mat does. Art feeds the soul, and it can completely transform a space, both legitimate problems that we can solve by adding the right piece of art. The fluffiness of that hand warming mouse mat was almost artistic in its satirical nod to a furry foot warmer powered by USB. Marketing a frame though does solve a problem, in fact, it solves many problems. It can even mean that the art no longer has to match the curtains and finally, you are free to choose the art you really want!

We don’t have to forego marketing our own work, we can just offer it in frames and draw attention to the frame instead or as well as the art. The art is still there, a well-chosen frame can make it more, so maybe what we might be better doing in our marketing is to focus on the points that we know will solve a problem and communicate those.

There are plenty of ways you can present your work in frames, there are apps that produce mock-ups of your work in a generic frame, and sites like Pixabay and Unsplash has templates you can use, some of the POD sites do too. The difficulty with these is that some buyer will ask you if you can supply that exact frame. You could use a combination of Photoshop and the frames available on print-on-demand, and yes, Adobe will make Photoshop CC better on the iPad soon, I am told they plan to actually add some features that make it useable too, or you could use some of the tools that print-on-demand services offer.

I’m not talking about the mock-up screens that buyers see, the ones with the sofa underneath a tiny piece of art because we forgot to screen-shot a different art size or the art next to a camera on a table, those are images that everyone else uses, reuses, and use again. People really do become desensitised very quickly and whilst repetition in marketing is seen as a good thing, not if that repetition is reproduced a bazillion times a day. There is a golden number of times that marketing posts need to be seen to have an effect and it is nowhere close to a bazillion, try fourteen.

We often forget to use the tools we do have access to. I think that I have only ever posted once about the availability of the Pixels app. There is a really useful set of tools that sits within Pixels that shows buyers their selected artwork in whatever frame they select before they buy it in Augmented Reality, to scale, and in the selected frame or on the selected print option and even with a mat. Hands up, who knew? 

On the Fine Art America and your Pixels website, buyers are able to rotate the chosen item in 3D. The Pixels App available is on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, but hands up, how many of us really use it as a marketing tool for us? Hands down, we need to stay warm because we don't all have the luxury of a heated mouse-mat.

The app is a great way to encourage buyers to look at, and consider adding a frame to their purchase and it also gives them the ability to see how different colour options and alternative mediums would work. Online is in no way even close to giving buyers the same experience of a brick and mortar store, but tools like this can bring the art into the buyer's homes before they buy it and that is something that most brick and mortar stores can’t do. Differentiation, value add, breadcrumbs and options, all need to be added to your marketing toolbox this week! Okay, that one person who still has a hand raised can now lower it again. Do keep up!

I am sure other print-on-demand services have tools too. Embedding HTML links that take buyers directly back to your store to make a purchase, there are even HTML widgets that present a version of your store on your website and that is exactly what I did with this link here

As FAA and Pixels artists and I am sure as artists of other POD services too, I do wonder if we use these features enough in our own art marketing efforts or do we really think that those tools are only for the platforms to market, they are intended and designed to help us drive traffic to their sites, but ultimately to our own art too. A print-on-demand service is only ever as good as its artists and the quality they produce.

For buyers, these tools allow experimentation and can give them the assurance that they are seeking that the artwork they have fallen in love with will work for them in their own space. There are reasons for the print-on-demand services to give us these kinds of tools, mostly because the services know that they can help us to sell more art but there are a lot of us who forget to use them, maybe because it seems like a lot of effort to promote some other organisations app or website, but they really are our tools too!

framed art, palm tree art, wall art, fine art america, Mark taylor, Beechhouse Media,
No Escape from the Heat - Framed Print by Mark Taylor

Adding accessories and frames can change the optics…

We often speak about the value add and how being just a tiny bit better than everyone else can change your market and help you to sell more art. Adding quality to what you offer can change the optics so much that it inadvertently or intentionally changes the market and that can either be a good or bad thing. So many large corporations do this all of the time, they build a fan base and then add in extra value that the fan base wants or the company believes the fan base wants, and it is often a decision based on customer feedback, noticing what is said, and noticing what is not said and especially on social media.

There’s a huge difference between the price Apple once sold the iPhone for and what they sell it for today, yet the sales are still there and while they did have a few shaky quarters recently, it looks like they are bouncing back. Apple has been changing their optics for a few years, this year the focus has been on the extra privacy their products give. Optic changes are never something that just happens overnight and besides, like I have said before, you don’t want to be the next Apple or Steve Jobs, you really need to be the next you!

The benefit of adding accessories into our marketing strategy is that it gives buyers another lens to see our work through, allows us to add variety to our social marketing campaigns, and whilst we might not earn a great deal from each frame, these breadcrumbs don’t have to turn into lost penny’s. Adding options like this is adding value that buyers want. Sure, there are cheaper frames but I really don’t think huge POD sites won’t have done their homework, and besides, visit an art supply store with their own framer and the prices on print-on-demand can work out cheaper.

Most of those stores will try to upsell you more mats, add a coating to the glass, use a more expensive glass, and before you know it, bang, you have spent the best part of four-hundred bucks on a frame that everyone else has. These stores even package the upsells into their own products, provide checklists to compare, these are simply tools of the upselling trade.

Changing Perceptions…

Changing the optics of what you do and how you present your business is something that requires people’s perceptions about that business to change. Perceptions of buyers should never be assumed and you have to be mindful that increasing a cost of a work is more complex than only applying a new sales ticket to it and changing the frame, though, there is plenty of evidence in the art world to suggest that even works sometimes too, rapidly changing the optics, but with that comes a risk.

Ultimately, the market has to determine what the market is happy to pay, but there is a real lesson here, your buyers are not you. They might have more cash in their pocket than you do, or they might not. If you focus on offering high-quality accessories such as frames and alternative print mediums as an option you won’t automatically cut off or alienate your existing client-base but in some instances and in the cold light of business, that might have to be the case too but always with an eye on the risks. Options are optional, let the market decide and eventually, you will be able to collect the breadcrumbs.

Maybe you have no interest at all in changing your market, and if you are happy in your current success then you never have to feel compelled to chase after the higher-paying markets. It is after all, a heap of additional work that doesn’t necessarily offer a sterling guarantee that you will be able to even break into that area. If you do want to change optics, the perceptions, and discover new markets, frames and accessories are just a few of the elements that you can use to do that and if they are options rather than the default, your market might eventually change for you.

What is more difficult to change is how you differentiate between having a value range, if that is your market, and having a higher quality range. Supermarkets do it all the time with their own brands, they often sell a value range and a best of range, but we are not supermarkets, and I don’t believe that people perceive art in the same way as they would do with goods in a supermarket. But I am sure from my own experiences that there are plenty of similar concepts that can be applied. The rest of it is really about pointing out the added benefits and being able to offer solutions to the problems people don’t necessarily know they have.

Frames can elevate art, so even if you already have a market, adding value by raising the quality is something that you can often do without driving up costs significantly and driving your existing market completely away. Often, if you explain the merits of a slightly more expensive frame, people begin to understand the reasoning and are much more likely to buy into it, but what you never want to do is let your art down by placing it in the wrong frame no matter how expensive or inexpensive that frame is. I have never walked into a good gallery and found work hanging in an IKEA frame, despite the fact that some of them are genuinely good value, and some galleries purposely change the frame to double the price of the art and that is really important when we consider the optics of the art world more broadly.

The problem in marketing and selling art is that you don’t get many chances to get things right. Overprice your work and no one buys, under price and the same thing could happen, or if it is sold at a higher price, it makes it really difficult to then lower the price knowing that you just stripped away any value that a current buyer thought they had. After all, we have a huge responsibility to any existing collectors or previous buyers. Even if they are not buying with the intent of the work being an investment (and you never really should), people never like to see value stripped away. I get angry when I buy something from Amazon to find out tomorrow that the price has been halved.

But offering better quality in every aspect of your art practice and even in terms of frames and accessories is definitely a method that can be deployed to transition your work towards slightly higher prices without necessarily alienating an existing customer base, and it begins to shape how people perceive what you create. Some people do still see cheap art in a light that says that it isn’t any good. Add in a frame and double the cost and suddenly that light changes. This is a much-used practice in the art world.

wood art prints, robin art, wall art, Christmas art, Mark Taylor, Fine Art America,
Robin Around the Christmas Tree on Wood Block by Mark Taylor

Right now, my focus is on preparing a marketing campaign over the next few months that I can begin using to see if I can sell more framed work via print-on-demand and replicate the shift I noticed with my direct marketing. If you follow me on Facebook, you might have noticed that I very quickly pushed out a post recently drawing attention to how my art was available on acrylic blocks. I love acrylic and the win is that this can be an upsell for the artist, and the buyer will win by owning something different.

There is a fine line between the outright nickel and dime upsell and offering genuine and practical advice that allows buyers to make an informed choice. There is no real need for me to explain where that fine line is because we have probably all had experiences where someone selling something has crossed that line. Why did I walk out of the sofa shop recently having paid as much as I would have paid before the offer was applied, it was because of the upsell and I was convinced that it made more sense to have a protective coating applied to the leather, it's a red wine thing.

Art is often a considered purchase so it makes sense economically to ensure that it has the best possible chance of being preserved especially if it will be difficult or impossible to replace. Focussing on the quality aspects of framing gives the buyers a clue that your art is not competing with big-box-discount retailers, that what you are pitching is a quality product, and that you care enough about it to help them make the right choices to preserve it. Picking up breadcrumbs and leaving subtle clues about how you take quality seriously, they really do seem to be what set the pack apart.

Robin Around The Christmas Tree, Greeting Cards, art by Mark Taylor, Christmas cards,
Robin Around The Christmas Tree Greeting Cards by Mark Taylor

Framing Options…

There is a bewildering choice when it comes to frames and mats, and buyers need to make those choices carefully. As artists, we can use marketing campaigns to offer insights into framing. Those campaigns can still feature your work, but this greatly expands the subjects you can post about and offers a value to the buyer.

It is worth researching all you can about any breadcrumbs. Be they frames, hanging accessories, mats, paper and canvas types, there is lots of potential for you to advise clients better so that they can make informed buying choices that will also give them confidence in you so long as the advice is solid and you are not trying to nickel and dime. Showing them the app to demonstrate that the art will work in their space regardless of the decor, will open up the buyer's creative inhibitions too.

In an ideal world, art buyers would keep all of their artwork in a hermetically sealed environment, but the majority of art buyers firstly, don’t buy million-dollar-plus pieces of art, and secondly, they don’t live inside a purpose-built temperature-controlled building that resembles an art museum.

As artists, and especially as independent artists, we are uniquely positioned to offer that small business vibe that everyone loves. We can offer useful advice on the practical steps they can take to care for their new artwork and we can point out that with the proper care, a quality print can last for generations, and if we have collaborative relationships with skilled framers and preservers, we can help them to continue looking after their work by signposting to those businesses too. This is a definitive value-add and especially if a reciprocal arrangement is in place.

In my experience, over the years I have found that a lot of people are genuinely interested in the process behind the art. Whether that is the technique you apply to an oil painting or the techniques employed in creating an archival quality print whether you print them or your POD service prints them and I’m not just talking about works in progress, but the actual process of creation itself. Setting up a social Q&A and learning what you can to answer questions that buyers have will certainly help when it comes to sweeping up those breadcrumbs.

But where do we start? With frames, it is easy. The benefits of framing are essentially what I have laid out today. What frame will work with what art, well, that becomes easier with tools I mentioned earlier such as those offered to artists by the likes of Fine Art America and Pixels because we can experiment too and we can ask other artists and framing professionals. We have the internet, we no longer have to work in a silo.

Tips to share with buyers…

My advice to many of my own buyers is that you can pretty much use whatever frame you want, but how that frame is separated from the art can make a huge difference to the longevity of the work the frame contains. For this piece, an acid-free cardboard mat is fine, for that piece, maybe go with a cotton rag mat. That works well with this frame, that doesn’t work in a frame, that is the kind of advice that buyers not only want, but are beginning to demand.

Having said that I have known buyers insist on using antique frames that have been in the family for generations, which for an artist should be taken as a huge compliment that their work will be framed in something that is so special to the buyer. The downside to this, of course, is that sometimes, older frames, and to an extent even some newer frames that have been exposed to certain environmental factors can be infected with creatures we rather wish weren’t present at all.

Some of these pesky critters start taking nutrients from the wood, eating away at the frame and especially after it has been hanging in a humid space. Other creatures that are perhaps more noticeable are the tiny Thrips (order Thysanoptera), which are almost cigar-shaped insects that are around one millimetre in length. These are the tiny dots you sometimes see between the glass and the art or the matting beneath the glass. The good news is that while they look unsightly, they don’t usually do any major damage.  

Mostly, they climb in between the art and the glass through the tiniest gaps and then they start laying eggs. A good framer will know that specialist papers can be used to fill those gaps. If you are trying to sell a piece of work that is covered with Thrips, the solution is to gently wipe them away. I usually use a cotton wool bud and a little flick is all that is needed, but if there are a number of them, a can of compressed air does a great job of blowing them away. Just make sure that you have a vacuum cleaner at hand so that they can be collected up. Mostly, these little art-loving critters don’t leave a stain but there are plenty of other critters that not only leave stains, but they can also nibble away at an artwork and the frame.

Silverfish, booklice, woodworms and termites, they all love art but for the wrong reasons. Fly droppings can react to the chemicals in paint, but the two most essential things that you need to enjoy viewing a work of art, light and oxygen, can cause photo-oxidation which begins the process of the art starting to degrade. This is essentially what is happening when paints fade and papers begin to turn yellow and brittle.

We sadly live in a world where the climate is a real challenge. We use more chemicals that pollute the air than we ever did before and particulates in the air settle on artworks in the form of dust. Woodworms eat frames and wooden boards, and even shocks and vibration can affect some artworks. What is really important, however, is not to provide tips and advice as some kind of definitive cure because, just as we live in a fragile and over-polluted environment, we also live in a litigious world and offering advice and tips that create damage to work can cause significant legal problems down the road. Research tips and advice thoroughly and become the expert people go to first.

Art restoration requires expert skills and artists are frequently only a small part of the answer to restoring or cleaning a piece of art. Instead, signpost buyers to experts and useful sources of information because the last thing you want is for someone to say they tried your tip about using Apple Cider Vinegar to give their original Matisse a clean, and for them, to then go on and tell you how it turned into a Pollock right in front of their eyes. I have seen the casualties of some of those WTF moments and they never end well and it doesn't work for kidney stones either, no matter how much you read on the internet.

Sometimes, framing art can be the cause of a problem or the start of a series of problems. Moisture is the enemy when it comes to art and differences in temperature can distort, stretch, and shrink the work in a process called cockling. If the medium within the framed work contains any acids, when these breakdown materials like paper can become brittle. 

Once you begin to see mould appearing, it becomes just a matter of time before the work often becomes irreparable. As an art buyer or collector, mould isn’t something you can cure without enlisting the help of a professional art restorer and you have to take action before it is too late.

As part of the care process that you explain to your buyers, it is worth mentioning that certain conditions can significantly affect a piece of artwork. Not every buyer might realise the importance of an artist using acid-free supports and mats, yet these are things we can make buyers aware of when we market our art. A lot of buyers don’t necessarily understand what Bristol board is, but they will want to know that the quality is good. As we collect the breadcrumbs we have to continue to offer clues about how much we care so that buyers can buy into us and our work. These are things that can really help to change the optics and they are exactly why so many people love to do business with small businesses.

If you are using print-on-demand services, many of them will ship the orders on a quality stock which is often archival. If you are posting on social media, do your research and tell people in your own expert tone why archival-paper might be better than inkjet paper.

The POD services will be able to supply matting that has been precisely cut to place a gap between the glass and the art. There have been many instances where I have seen badly cut mats that rub away at the art, or where art becomes stuck to a piece of glass because the matting has been badly cut. In one case the glass had broken with the art stuck to it and it completely destroyed an irreplaceable artwork.

Giving buyers advice on how to light an artwork is also something worth doing. Light will affect any artwork in time, but what you can do is to help your buyer slowdown that process considerably. Never pointing the light directly onto a piece of work, making sure that the work isn’t displayed directly opposite a window so that you can avoid morning and afternoon light sources. We should never assume that all art buyers are art experts and equally, we should never assume they aren’t.

In some cases, light can be used to enhance art even more. Some of my buyers now only buy on acrylic block. This doesn’t always cost more than a traditional cotton or rag canvas, but it can offer protection without the need for a frame and it is easier to clean, great for high-traffic areas and public spaces, and if the block is hung with spacers that lift it out from the wall, a gentle light either pointing down from above or upwards from below will give the artwork a beautiful glow, although much will be down to the thickness of the acrylic and the colours within the art but black  or dark blue and slightly lighter blue works can look like they are 3D.

sold art, abstract art, acrylic block prints, how to hang art,
SOLD (That's the title!) On an acrylic block with metal posts...

Being able to offer alternative mediums for your art to appear on is also something that you can use within your marketing to add extra flavour to the usual here’s a canvas post. Some of my own collectors have transitioned from traditional framed prints and moved to supports such as wood blocks which can even make prints unique as the direction of the grain will be very different for every piece.

If you are framing things yourself to keep the costs down for both you and your buyers, maybe because that is where your market is at, that’s fine too. There are things that you can do to offer added value in the quality stakes, and value and which buyers will thank you for adding.

If you are not selling work via print-on-demand, it should never prevent you from offering those breadcrumbs, and there is no reason at all to compromise on quality. I use a couple of local framers for prints ordered directly or where buyers want things like rag mats rather than cardboard, or whenever they need something more unique. I also use fine art printers who can offer great quality, one of which allows me to rent out some time on his expensive drum scanner whenever I need to scan a large work.

At one time, like many other people I always thought of a frame as a frame, just something that makes the painting look pretty. I hadn’t considered that frames could offer extra protection or add years to the life of artworks but when I first started working with professional framers, I began to learn a lot. I guess the problem is that adding on a great quality frame can add considerably to the price but if you have options available, it is easier.

Today, I handle frames that cost around thirty-bucks and frames that run upwards of Five hundred and even a thousand dollars. Between what I keep in stock, what print-on-demand can supply and what my framers can make, I can pretty much point buyers to whatever they need. Last year I had to use a two-thousand dollar frame so people do buy them. A couple of years ago I took a frame and added found objects to it to accommodate an open edition print featuring the same objects. It added a completely new twist to the work and it sold for three times the price.

For clients who might want less expensive frames, I always keep a selection to hand. Either from my local framers who create some additional frames or sell me any that they have had literally hanging around for a while, or I scour charity shops. This was where a few months ago I picked up a frame for about the equivalent of twenty-dollars, but I knew that it would have cost almost three-hundred to buy new. Even asking my framer to fill in a small chip on one of the edges and give it a re-stain still made it great value.  But no matter where I select the frames from, they have to meet certain standards and if they use wood or materials from sustainable sources, that is a welcome bonus because I can use that in my marketing too.

Places like IKEA sell complete hanging kits for pocket change, and for most works these will be fine. At the cost, they really are something you can give away to your clients, but there are professional kits and hanging accessories that you can either supply or at least signpost buyers to too.

Pisces wall art, birthday art, wall art, fish art, aquarium art, Mark Taylor,
Pisces Framed Art by Mark Taylor

Do breadcrumbs really build a business?

I am a stickler for detail, and yes, I probably do use three hundred words in my articles to explain a point, but I also think that details are what can make or break a business. Offering clients choice adds value, it adds to our social campaigns and as I said earlier, gives buyers and potential buyers another lens to see us and our work through. In the past, I have lost sales because I didn’t offer the convenience of having a frame at the ready, and whilst there are a lot of people who do buy unframed art, they then have to take another action down the line to frame it if that’s what they want to do.

So often, I have seen this and the framing of the work doesn’t happen anytime soon, I have even done this. It took me three years to have two pieces of signed original Disney art framed. If I had the option at the time and the cost wasn’t too prohibitive, I would have gone with the frame for at least one of the works but the Disney Store in Disney World didn't have the frame.

The frame I picked up from the charity shop cost me a total of around seventy-bucks by the time it had been restored. The frame was sold with a work and added a hundred dollars to the price. So breadcrumbs matter, that thirty-dollars has covered my Pixels fee for another year, breadcrumbs can take the little pressures away.

If you want some more tips on the art of hanging art, I have written about that too and you can find that article right here

Until next time…

Still no news on my impending surgical removal of a kidney stone by a qualified adult, so hopefully I will be filling my regular spot again next week. But in the meantime, if you have any tips to share for upsells or changing the optics to reach new markets, feel free to leave a comment below, give this article a share, and let’s work together to keep bringing our art to the fore!

About Mark…

I am an artist and blogger and live in Staffordshire, England. You can purchase my art through my Fine Art America store or my Pixels site here: https://10-mark-taylor.pixels.com
Any art sold through Fine Art America and Pixels contributes to the ongoing costs of running and developing this website. You can also view my portfolio website at https://beechhousemedia.com which has recently been updated again!

You can also follow me on Facebook at: https://facebook.com/beechhousemedia where you will also find regular free reference photos of interesting subjects and places I visit. You can also follow me on Twitter @beechhouseart and on Pinterest at https://pinterest.com/beechhousemedia

If you would like to support the upkeep of this site or maybe just buy me a coffee, you can do so right here on my Go Fund Me page!


  1. I used to buy most of my frames at a wholesaler when I had a wholesaler's license. They were the most gorgeous frames. I saved a great deal of money by using them. Having moved to another state, I do miss that now. Frames were always easy to choose for me, it's the double & triple matting that gets a bit difficult.

    I would love to know where to get one of those hand warming mouse mats though. I have gloves I use during our colder season while at my computer so that mouse mat would be an extra plus. Cold hands, warm heart as they say.

    1. I love frames too Colleen! They’re like stationary supplies for me, I see one and can’t resist it! Even Costco have some really nice ones, if you don’t mind buying a few at a time! I found a hand warming mouse pad, well lots of them on Amazon! Here’s one on the US site: https://www.amazon.com/Pad-Keep-Fahrenheit-Temperature-Frostbite-Comfortable/dp/B00P2N6ELE
      Let me know if you get one, I’m thinking they’re a genius idea! Xx


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