Who’s My Customer?

Well, it has certainly been an interesting day – lockdown at 8:20, a few minutes into the start of the day, seems to be a false alarm, but 30 minutes later we are evacuating the school…to the stadium – 3000 kids, mind you – and then trying to get kids to leave with parents only, moving every one to the university’s older gym, angry aprents not understanding why we can’t just let them take “friends,” and finally back to school for the end of the day….I would much rather teach than have to do this.

That said, I have some time to kill right now while I await my ride, and as I am exhausted, I probably won’t write too much tonight. I need to think about Bob and Jane, my potential art customers. They are both middle class (for those of us left in this economy…) with some disposable income. They like nice things, especially since now they are settled, almost empty-nesters, and can look at exploring the possibilities of buying/owning art.

Bob isn’t sure what to buy. He knows what he likes, he’s interested in the back story of the item, and he’s willing to pay the price if he really likes the item. He knows art can be collected, and sometimes its value increases, but he isn’t sure he wants to collect art as an investment. He is of the belief that “I know what I like when I see it.” He walks galleries for the enjoyment and likes when an owner takes the time to talk to him about the various artists. He’s not a really fashionable dresser – he likes to be comfortable, so it upsets him when gallery owners make an assumption about whether or not he can afford to buy the art and consequently ignores him. He looks at art books, not really sure about all the fanciful jargon. If he sees something he likes, he feels he is now in a position to buy it. He would really like some guidance on where to find good galleries that have interesting and unusual artists. He doesn’t just want “regional” work, like only Southwest because he lives in the Southwest. He will buy “big” in size if he loves the work.

Jane is similar. She has been a “crafter” all her life, from crochet to knitting to needlework. She loves small pieces of art and, like Bob, enjoys knowing the story behind the piece – who made it and how. She collects primarily smaller pieces, the more unusual the better. She feels uneducated about art as she had no training or art courses, so she is easily put off in galleries. She needs to be reassured that if you love the art, it’s perfectly okay to own it. She prowls craft shows, not knowing how to make the leap into other more “art” venues. She would like guidance on buying art for enjoyment, not investment. She’d love to give small piece of art to close friends.

Whoa, so I’m selling to me…..and maybe this was the whole purpose of this exercise….I want to reach out to those potential customers like me who want to know where to go for good art, unusual art, and great customer service. Hmmm….more to ponder….

4 Responses to “Who’s My Customer?”

  • Quilt Architect:

    Art, what is it? Why do we have to be educated about it? I find that interesting, especially after reading about people art that I didn't understand. Then I wondered whether I just got "con"-vinced it was art or does it really speak?
    Do I have the right to make that judgment? And living in a small community I may not get to see the pieces I read about so maybe I just don't have personal experience with the art to make the judgment.

    I can't really say that I am a collector except that I like to collect images of inspiration on Flicker. But I am an artist and so how people think about art and what is art is an important question in my mind.

    I appreciate your stimulating post.
    Thank you,

  • Linda Moran:

    Thanks for your comment! I think people need to be "educated" that they don't need an art education to appreciate beautiful things. We enjoy talking with galleries, and artists, but ultimately it we like something, e buy it. With the arts being cut in today's economy,I think it is even more important to encourage people to look for what they think is beautiful, and then maybe own a small piece.

  • Anne Huskey-Lockard:

    Nail on the head. These are the primary buyers at art fairs.
    So it is a matter of having an inventory of mostly smaller affordable (and easily carried) items, then a few large *WOW-factor* pieces to draw people in. Cards are good too for folks who really want something but are just too strapped to purchase art.
    Slim pieces that are gallery wrapped are great—the buyer does not have the decision or expense of a frame. It's *instant art*. Take it home, pop it on the wall. Deep wrapped canvas are good too as the sides can further incorporate the artwork/design.
    All of this is affordable and can also be marketed to wealthier buyers who see the body of work, but want something more personal or huge or whatever.
    For what it's worth…. 🙂
    And as for me? I have some expensive art and some *cheap* art and I value it all the same.
    I buy what speaks to me, what I love, what I want on my wall.
    I think more people are buying that way now, and galleries–if they are smart–should learn that.


  • […] of this before, but not with these particular questions. I’ve looked at my target audience, my ideal customer, I’ve looked at overall goals, but never really defined success […]

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