Put my Bentley on layaway?

I was on a call with a client last week about pricing. 

Her audience loves her art but sales are slow. Feedback so far, suggests that her prices are a barrier to entry. 

(Take feedback from your audience with a grain of salt. Listen, but know that you’ll only ever hear from about 10% of your audience. The other 90% are saving up to buy their favourite piece.)

The client was thinking about lowering her prices. 

Don’t do that. 

You don’t lower the price on a Bentley. And fine art is definitely a Bentley. 

How can you make the luxury connection?

We need to be able to make the immediate impression upon potential buyers that we offer luxury items, worthy of our price tag. 

How can we do that? 

Take a look at your website. 

Try and be objective. Does it give the presence of luxury?


  • have you posted fantastic-looking, quality images?
  • is the website clean, easy to read and easy to navigate?
  • are there any spelling errors?
  • broken links?
  • is it up to date?
  • are your latest work and exhibitions posted?
  • are your CV, bio and artist statement current?

The simple act of consistent and constant effort to maintain your website goes a long way to promoting trust in your luxury brand.

FanExpo2009: We are NOT a luxury brand. Paul is clearly unimpressed.

The same is true of your booth at an art fair or convention.

Take a minute to care about having a clean tablecloth, clean and quality signs and labels.

There’s a big difference between a sign or label put together in Word or Illustrator versus one hand written in ball point pen.

Luxury doesn’t have to be stuck up.

Luxury doesn’t mean pretension or fat cat republicans and the 1%. 

Tattoos are a luxury item. 
The iPhone. Your dish washer. My Keen shoes. 

All luxury items.  

I’m even cheaper now – my $3 choice.

One of my friends spends $130 on face cream. (It’s pretty awesome ‘face serum’, but I’m still going with my $18 tub of organic cold pressed coconut oil.)

Luxury, by definition is a non-essential item that adds to pleasure or comfort. 


People buy art because of
how it makes them feel.


Art acts like a mirror to remind us of who we are, or who we want to be.

Art is a mirror to remind us how we feel about an event, an idea, the world… or about ourselves. 

POINT: I just asked Keith why he buys the art that he buys. (Keith’s buys prints of the Hulk, Drizzt and other fictional characters… I asked, but I already know why Keith buys the art that he buys.)

Keith couldn’t really answer me, at first.

“I don’t know, I just like it. I like the Hulk. …I just like him. I like how strong he is. I like how he’s invincible.” 

Yep. Exactly.

…and buying the Hulk mirrors Keith’s strength, mirrors his desire to be invincible. When he passes it hanging in the hallway, it’s a reminder of his own strength.

The Hulk inside, so to speak. 

If you haven’t worked this out about your own art – do it.

Do it soon.

Witness the passionate
heart of your art.

You need to know what your art mirrors to your audience in order to sell it well.

Your customer may not know exactly why they love and buy your art – but you should know.

You need to know exactly what you’re selling… and price it accordingly.

(If you need some help with this – I do client calls.)

Back to pricing

Janet wanted to try payment plans for her art. 

Layaway for the Bentley. 

Sure, why not? 

Maybe your audience is a little more Walmart,  less Holt Renfrew. 

That’s fine. 


Make sure your decision to put on a sale or offer payment plans is expanding your customer base, not taking a deep cut of luxury out of your art.

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