A note from the FNO
Happy New Year FNO Artists and Craftspeople,
For those of you who do custom artwork or are contemplating offering
custom work to your customers, this is a very informative article for
you. Quinn McDonald shares 10 tips to help shape a custom artwork
Custom Metal Artist David Earl Tomlinson is featured this month.
Here's to a
wonderful New Year!
* Julie is on maternity leave through February and this newsletter was
prepared early for your enjoyment! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
with any feedback or questions.
Ten Steps to Successful
Custom Work By Quinn McDonald
pictured: "appalachian quilt
#4" - custom metalwork by david earl tomlinson
Custom work can be rewarding and exciting, but it takes time and good
communication skills. If you like talking to clients, are interested in
others' ideas, don't mind sticking to deadlines, and are good at
follow-up, custom work can be rewarding-financially and
artistically. Here are some steps that will help both you and your
client to enjoy the experience.
1. Decide whether or
not you want to do custom work before the client asks. A client
who hears "I'm not sure," or "I guess so," is not filled with the
confidence that leads to a successful transaction. Until you are sure
you want to, say 'not yet,' to clients.
2. Get off to a good
start with a client. If you are in a store or at a show, agree
on a time to talk at length. Taking down details while you are helping
other clients is too distracting. Follow up and call the client at the
time you said you would.
Try to picture what the client wants. Let the client talk without
interrupting. Take notes to remember questions. Repeat what the client
said to make sure you are both saying the same thing. Once you are
clear on the idea the client has, you can introduce your own viewpoint.
4. Talk money.
Once you and the client agree on size, complexity, colors, exact
wording or image, materials, and delivery time, you will want to clear
the price with the client. If you can't figure it out immediately, tell
the client you will get back with the estimate within three days. Be
clear about how you get paid-by the hour, by the word, by the project.
5. Deliver the
estimate in writing-either in print or via e-mail. Keep it short
and clear. Repeat all the details the client wants. Give the estimate
amount, and then spell out how you want to be paid. A deposit of half
and he remaining half at delivery is fine. Include information that
clarifies the amount of client input. For example, agree to show the
client three thumbnail sketches to get approval on layout and overall
idea, but once the thumbnail is approved, any other changes will result
in additional charges.
6. Get the client's
signature on your estimate. The signature shows the client you
are serious, both about the work and about getting paid. A useful
contract explains that if the client has a change of heart, you will be
paid for your time and materials. If the client is hesitant about
signing a contract, don't start work until you have the signature and
the deposit. If a client wants to pull out, the ideal time to do so is
before you start work.
7. Don't make
business decisions out of fear. Most mistakes happen because the
artist is afraid the client will be offended talking about money or
rules. In 15 years of doing custom work, the only time I ran into
trouble was when I wasn't clear about how I charged.
8. Stick to the
schedule. Build in extra time for yourself as you make the
schedule. Give yourself one extra day for every three days you think it
will take. That gives you time for family and work emergencies
9. Prepare for the
presentation. Before you show your work to the client, review
the details from the original discussion. The client might not remember
that she asked for "something romantic" and is now thinking along the
lines of "whimsical." Getting back to the original is a great way to
stay on track. If your preliminary approval sketches are very
different, explain what makes them different. Then show the client the
choices you brought.
10. Be the expert.
The client hired you because you are an expert in your field. Keep
artistic control at the approval stage. Avoid having the client
combine elements of all your ideas. You want the client to be attracted
to one style or concept, so say, "you can choose or reject anything I
show you, but you can't combine parts of the separate concepts."
Setting up the rule first helps that happen.
The original of this
article original ran in Somerset Studio magazine.
Quinn McDonald is an artist, writer and creativity coach. See her work
Artist: David Earl Tomlinson
Asheville, North Carolina's David Earl Tomlinson is this
month's featured artist. Specializing in unique metal wall
quilts, Tomlinson's artwork has been displayed
in Southern Living Magazine's Idea Home for 2008.
As a custom
designer, his art can be seen in many businesses and private homes
throughout Western North
Carolina, and he hopes to expand throughout the country at festivals
and online sales.
For more information about his one of a kind
metal wall quilts and other fine pieces, visit
his website: dynamicmetalwork.com.
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