Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Have you ever received an email that seems far too good to be true? In late May I received an email and began a short dialog with someone who indicated they are a shop owner and expressed interest in our handcrafted soap (My husband makes amazing cold processed soap and we sell it in our tent along with my work at art fairs.) She explained that she was interested in purchasing our products for her soap. Naturally the wholesale discussion began, and we dialogued back and forth... and then she sent the email with her order. The quantities were huge. The value was in the thousands. And her address was in Barcelona Spain. I have no problem with any of this so far. It was her next email that alarmed me. She wanted us to use only one shipper - and that email address was a gmail email. I googled the shipper's name and found nothing. I googled her shop name and instead of a slick website, or even a simple web page I found several listings of blog posts by other artists. ALARM bells!!!!
So I searched further. The address she had given was in central Barcelona, Spain, at their World Trade Center, and the address was specifically a shop dedicated to all products and art made in Belgium. There was an email address so i wrote this shop, inquiring if they were aware of the company that had reached out to me. The company does not exist, and they could not find any listings for that company in their phone directories, or building listing at the trade center. OK, It is indeed a scam.
That said, I documented my encounter on my blog, and i must tell you I have received 5 phone calls, and 11 emails from fellow artists who have been contacted with the very same verbage in email. If you would like to read my blog post here is the link:
By the way, 2 people were print makers, several silver jewelers, 2 fiber artists and several that did not tell me what they create. Sad the scamming is occurring - Be cautious if you are approached with a big order, and properly research and vet the process!
Thanks, always appreciate the heads up.
You might wish to share your experience with "Stop Art Scams" which has a website and facebook page.
On one hand, I read articles saying that artists need a website and need to sell over the internet, that selling online is the wave of the future, that if you don't sell online that you will not be successful as an artist. Then, I hear about various scams, always by someone wanting to purchase art over the internet. In fact, the only inquiry (other than from a show or shop) I've ever received about purchasing my art was an email, poorly written, horrible spelling, supposedly from Holland - I ignored it.
Question: are there really many (any?) legit offers to buy? Way too many seem to be a rip-off... Not sure that trying to sell online is even worth the hassle..
Being successful online relates to how much energy you put into it. If you don't have a properly built site, maintain it, keep the information current and put effort into attracting traffic either by smart usage of key words and sharing the information either at shows or in an email list you have built it won't do anything much for you, Marie, just like any other endeavor. Build it and they will come? Nope. Market it and they will come, possibly and increasingly probably.
Barbara blogs and sends out emails. I've built a business that is supporting me online, not because it is easy but because I work on it every day. It depends on where you put your energy, but I totally believe in the Internet as a serious backup plan for every artist.
Don't rely solely on your web presence to sell your work. Use it as just another tool in your toolbox.
My number one source of sales by far is actual person to person interaction at shows. I get my share of online sales, and I make about 6 to 8 grand a year from them. But a good portion of those sales are from people who bought from me at a show, or stopped by my booth. I can usually tell by the area where I'm sending the order to.
The scammers play to our ego. Our ego and our greed. I seem to get these emails once a week, and I delete every one.
Thanks for the warning, Barbara...glad your alarm bells went off before you got scammed, good work.