Unpacking September

The Reality Sandwich interview I posted yesterday is the second in their series of interviews with writers, artists and musicians who use Facebook to reach audiences that often don’t expect to find them here. So, that got me to thinking about the details of my sales success. I guess I could have included more information in the interview, but I prefer to do it here for two reasons. I control the content access and it’s a much smaller audience.

My FaceBook sales story has a definite spike in activity based on a feature that appeared mid-September. Three months later and sales are still higher than they were, but I’m cautiously neutral about the feature’s long-term impact. It’s not too good that we’re halfway through December and I’ve only sold 5.

2017
September = 35
October = 22
November = 25

December so far = 5

 

I use deadlines, internet-generated accountability and a variety of milestones – mostly sales by month – as motivation. The Jealous Curator’s feature on September 14th was a huge motivator. With new eyes on my FaceBook page, I wanted to paint and post new work in my usual way, which is aiming for almost daily, but, I have to admit that the business and packaging side of things got pretty intense!

35 is a record number of sales for one month. 31 of those were after The Jealous Curator’s feature. That is to say, September wasn’t looking too good, which is why I sent The Jealous Curator a press release.

By September 12, I’d done 8 paintings with 4 sales – including “No Hat #250” (below)falling into a best ever category (meaning either very popular or a personal favorite). Not wanting to give the impression I was going to paint as realistically as this from then on, I got a little more I got a little abstract. Actually, I did one more that same day (September 4) aiming to hit the same degree of intensity as “No Hat #250”, but “No Hat #251” (below) was its own thing and it was not received particularly well on FaceBook, but sold some time later. After this, my records show that I didn’t paint again until September 10 (likely to allow some breathing room in the overall project), but that next painting didn’t sell, nor did “No Hat #253” on September 12 (below) even though it’s a damn good painting. Sales throughout the summer hadn’t been great. I sold 8 in June, 10 in July and 4 in August – I need to sell 9 a month to meet my expenses and so far in 2017, at that point, I was averaging 8.25 sales a month.

2017
January = 4
22 in February with Studio Visits and a couple of multi-painting sales
March = 10
April = 9
May = 9
June = 8 
July = 10
August = 4

For my second year of business, things weren’t looking too good as far as growth or meeting my expenses. I’d hoped that more people would share my paintings on FaceBook to broaden my reach and increase sales that way, but it became clear that people didn’t share my posts – even when I asked. There were only a handful of shares and almost no new connections came from them. I had hoped that there would be collaboration in this way, since I frequently promote what my customers do, but that whole side of things hadn’t rubbed off. I hoped people would see that sort of reciprocity and build on it.

By mid-September, I had a feeling I’d set the bar too high with “No Hat #250” and I wasn’t sure how or when sales would get back on track. This is when I composed a press release to the Jealous Curator which included this detail (below), which, now that sales are stronger than ever, I feel FaceBook sales will continue.

“I’ve been selling my $100 USD paintings directly from my FaceBook page for the last 18 months, but as the pace of sales slows (200 sold) I’m considering gallery representation.”

I got an auto-response email back saying she got tons of submissions and then, about an hour later: “GAH! i love them, jean! post going up tomorrow!”

“First, oh my word I love these portraits {acrylic on canvas panel} so, so, so much. Second, Canadian rocker turned painter Jean Smith sells these paintings on Facebook for $100 a pop. WHAT? Yes, true story. Are you wondering what you’re still doing here and why you’re not over there buying a whole bunch of these 11×14 beauties? Me too. Here you go… Jean’s Facebook page. You’re welcome.” – The Jealous Curator

With the pressure on, I returned to a subject I’d worked from quite a few times already and painted “No Hat #254” which didn’t sell right away, but I felt the style took into account how I perceive The Jealous Curator’s audience.

No Hat 250 500
Best ever category. “No Hat #250″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel)
September 4, 2017. SOLD to Kenny Mellman of The Julie Ruin
No Hat 251 500
It was it’s own thing.
“No Hat #251″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel)
September 4, 2017.  SOLD
No Hat 253 500
“No Hat #253″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 12, 2017.
$100 USD plus shipping.

No Hat 254 500
“No Hat #253″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 12, 2017.
SOLD to a Vancouver collector

I did 24 paintings in September
16 of those were after The Jealous Curator feature

85 paintings have SOLD since the Jealous Curator feature

Here are SEPTEMBER’s paintings

 

Fox #10 800
“Fox #10″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 2, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Fox #11 800
“Fox #11″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 2, 2017. SOLD

Fox #12 800
“Fox #12″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 2, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

No Hat 249 800.JPG
“No Hat #249″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 3, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 250 800
“No Hat #250″ (after Peter Paul Rubens) (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 4, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 251 800
“No Hat #251″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 4, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 252 800

“No Hat #252″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 10, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 253 800
“No Hat #253″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 12, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

No Hat 254 800
“No Hat #254″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 15, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 255 800

“No Hat #255″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 15, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 256 800
“No Hat #256″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 16, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 257 800
“No Hat #257″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 20, 2017. SOLD


No Hat 258 800

“No Hat #258″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 21, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 259 800
“No Hat #259″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 21, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 260 800

“No Hat #260″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 22, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

No Hat 261 800

“No Hat #261″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 23, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

No Hat 262 800

“No Hat #262″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 23, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

No Hat 263 800
“No Hat #263″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 24, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 264 800
“No Hat #264″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 24, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

No Hat 265 800
“No Hat #265″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 26, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 266 800
“No Hat #266″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 27, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 267 800
“No Hat #267″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 27, 2017. SOLD

No Hat 268 800
“No Hat #268″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 28, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

No Hat 269 800

“No Hat #269″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) September 30, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Paintings Currently Available

 

All content on this page (c) Jean Smith, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

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