I have been reading about and thinking about, artist vs. gallery and wholesale vs. retail, oh yeah, remember the art vs. craft debate? We have all been subject to these debates off and on.
Recently one artist has posted quite matter of factly that due to the state of the economy she has started to retail. Hats off to you!
We have garnered and nurtured business relationships with the best galleries and shops. Going out of our way to sanctify the gallery's role in promoting our work. I know the gallery and shop buyers feel that they, too, have done the same for us.
At one time a gallery played a pivitol role in many artist's careers. All done under the umbrella of representing an artist, and as artists we expected to be represented in every sense of the word. Then exclusive contracts and such were, as a rule, expected.
Not so anymore. It is a rare circumstance to be represented in the "old school" way. I think it can be said of the high end and one-of-a-kind endeavors of today. Those gallerys will always be here. They make our art stars. But in general we have redefined the meaning of "gallery" and faced the "wholesalization" of the handmade market.
Having said that, I believe any of us who begin or continue to retail at some point do so out of economic neccessity not out of any competitive wish to "out sell" our brick and mortar locations. We each have a different situation and have our own relationships with our stores.
The face of retail is changing, fast. While shopping the mall may never stop...as long as we have malls...how people are shopping and spending is changing. Economy aside, how we sell our work is changing.
If the galleries are worried about competition, then they can buy their inventory and give us the freedom to work in our studios without struggling with a bottom line. Then the "art" becomes theirs to sell...an investment they must turn over. A change of emphasis is in order in that case. (I decorated many gallery walls for too long!)
Until then we aren't required to have the kind of loyalty expected when our work is always purchased...we have no choice but to explore other streams of income. Will they really compete with our locations? Does the gallery always buy your work?
So, Amery, stop making "apologies" for selling retail. You go, girl. I thought your results and activity justify the move. You and your lines are grounded in a solid background of sales and with solid galleries. This may very well be the move you need for your biz. It's gonna grow to the next level. WooHoo!
If your success in retail threatens your established accounts, I would be suprised. It's a global selling field, so is the opportunity.