HOW DOES ONE START their VERY OWN IMPORT/WHOLESALE BUSINESS?
Find Cheap, unskilled artisans who can make primitive art and sell that to big chains.
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How to do IMPORT/EXPORT? Easy! Start cheap. Start small. No costly tickets to Africa, Haiti, China, Indonesia, Bali, Phillippines YET! Just a wee bit of Car driving. Buy art from creative people living near you. Post CRAIGS LIST ADS reading "ARE YOU HANDY? AN ARTISAN? COULD YOU PAINT NAIVE PAINTINGS? And don't waste money on gasoline, either. From artists within two miles. All artists have you selling their stuff for them to posh boutiques, galleries, you're their ART REP, but you don't pay them for merchandise. They consign it to you with a little hand typed contract that would stand up in small claims court. (*just to prove you're on the up and up.) Contract reads, I'm giving a painting that I value at ten thousand dollars to X to sell. If they can get 500$ for it, I'd be happy> Not a cent less. All of that sum for me." Something like that. Or give yourself a straight 50% commission. Or thirty %. (NOTE: If you want higher profits, EXPORT AMERICAN THINGS they don't have in Europe.)
START NOW. Get a living room group up and running called THE ART COMMUNE. Each of your pals comes to the meeting has snacks, hears the idea, then he/she goes out into the city also seeking artists. Ten pals of yours each find ten artists, and EACH pal represents the artists of not only their own ten artists but all TEN AGENTS, so maybe l00 ARTISTS get their work wholesaled to galleries and boutiques, department stores all over town. Discuss targets so you don't overlap! If you go to SAKS FIFTH AVENUE buyer, then your chum has to go to MAGNINS or NEIMAN MARCUS! But assist each other. Collect names, phone numbers, suppliers and all of you find new artisan groups. Maybe you go to American Indian Reservations, find out who has time to do this buying trip. American INDIAN DESIGNS are hot in EUROPE.
WHEN YOU START TO GET SALES and you're all making a lot of money, agents and artists, both...THEN and only then, make bigger circles. Posh boutiques, hotels, galleries in bigger cities farther away. Artisans in countries farther away.
WHERE AND HOW TO MEET ARTISTS: You are going to HIT THE RETAILERS in DECORATORS DISTRICT, the GALLERIES, the ART SCHOOLS, COLLEGES, and ARTISTS' studios and ateliers to meet artists.
WHY I SAY RETAILERS IS: they already FOUND the artist. The names of the artist are on the back of the work. If the lamp says 'made by MARY STEWART STATUES" you google that name. You'll find her.
Tell you how I found ARMANDO DE CASTILLO who made the best Tiffany lamp reproductions in Mexico City. My favorite was covered with crescent fish scales in harmonious shades of green and blue. I went to the big hotel boutique which had them for a thousand bucks, and said 'can this guy make me a bathroom window? Bring him in. They did. I talked to Armando about the hypothetical cost for a four by five window and slipped him a note as we spoke. "READ IT LATER, I murmured. Note said "When you leave, meet me around the corner, going south". So my meeting with the pricey boutique owner was finished, Armando left. The chic chic guy who owned this fab boutique and I continued talking about making an order. I said let me think about it, went out, found my artisan waiting around the corner. ARMANDO made me those lamps for 30$ slightly less. Tiffany lamps. I wholesaled them in the USA. Big Time actors/ rock stars & writer/directors put them in their homes. Oh and I bought a costly way too pricey Buddhist folk painting from Indonesia from the Boutique owner. Still enjoy it today. They cost 25$ in Bali, I paid 240$.
A way to meet mixed media artists, artisans is to hit the gallery openings. I'd recommend you Find artisans as they are reasonable. They make a papiermache mask and ask a wholesale price, (meaning you buy twenty masks,) but the idea is you buy so many you can give the artist l0$ each
PAINTERS hear that paintings in MOST GALLERIES start at $1000 each. They immediately get greedy to have the same, lush fee. WELL, if they're as good as KANDINSKY, ok. BUT YOU ARE HERE to find people who can start small, who will wholesale by bulk to you, volume. AND do it on spec. COPYING KANDINSKY is a way for them to start. ONE artist in LOS ANGELES did FRANKLY FAKE PICASSO, MATISSE, SOUTINE, ROUSSEAU, And got 500$ each from the gallery. He left signatures off. PEOPLE LINED UP TO PAY $2,000 each in spite of label, FRANKLY FAKE!
FIND ART STUDENTS. FIND kids. Put ads in CRAIGS to find artists with a modicum of talent. When we're talking about doing primitive art, like MATISSE, PICASSO, SOUTINE, total tyros can often do lovely merchandise. I'd go to a church, find a group of kids thru pastor. Show him examples of papier mache masks.
I'd go to "Google" then hit "image". ask for "PRIMITIVE ART" or get GRANDMA MOSES pictures. I have some in my PC cache here, I'll stick 'em in now! So when you see what a hundred year old woman can paint, go to your students great granny. Give her brushes, paint, a canvas, "DO ME A GRANDMA MOSES of our local landscape." The reason you want local landscapes is because tourists who come there want that. Often a Great granny will remember her childhood in the country, also a commercial choice. You don't have to BE IN NATURE to paint it. (The impressionists would kill me for saying that!)
One of the best painters in the last two hundred years, and the most popular nowadays, is Henri Rousseau painted the JUNGLES of BRAZIL. He was a PARIS CUSTOMS man. He is called 'Le Douanier' Rousseau as he worked for the CUSTOMS SERVICE, was a city boy. But ole HENRI longed for the country and painted landscapes with fantasy figures. His yearnings for mother nature and the mystery of the jungle were so intense, that he painted with ECSTASY, feeling that he was transported there. If your painter pals can duplicate that intensity, you will get big prices for these primitive works.
I downloaded a few graphics with GOOGLE IMAGES, finding them online. THIS particular ROUSSEAU I'd never seen in any book of his work!. Show it and others you download to your poorest people living near you in say a five mile radius. PRIMITIVE art is easy to do. Even for kids. ESPECIALLY for kids.
Another talented group: YOGA CLASS students, very fine workers. Relaxed, living in the timeless now. Tell them to pose some chum in a garden like the one HENRI ROUSSEAU set THAT BABE in. College students need the bucks but have scant time. But their parents ? NOTHING BUT TIME!
OTHER IDEAS: Always find the mothers/ fathers of your students. These parents are often nigh jobless, often at home all day with many children. Go to community college students as they have poor moms and pops. And maybe the poppa could do weather vanes of copper, or tin. Those garner a grand a piece these days.
That design could be done flat so that it goes on a wall as a hanging. Or someone's Mom could crochet. ONE good crochet artist could start a whole dress business.
Go to the dealers of art media, create an ART COMMUNE PROJECT. Get donations of art materials, brushes, canvases. Then supply these kids or their parents with the paint! Teens who are free to paint after school? Well, if you have a print out of some sort, "WANT TO MAKE MONEY DOING ARTISANRY? I wholesale your product, you provide the merchandise, we'll even teach you how to paint! Come to our FOLKLORICO BAZAAR meetings." Having the meetings makes it all up close and personal, so you don't have to pay100% cash when they hand over the art. It's a part payment and then after the sale, the FINAL SHARE. Semi-HONOR SYSTEM. You dine with someone, you recreate with them, you can trust them. ANCIENT Chinese never did biz with ANYONE until they'd shared a meal, hung with each others' families AND recreated together. Celebrated life. So build the field, create the ballpark, the artisans will come!
NOW -- WHERE TO WHOLESALE merchandise TO? OF COURSE: The posh places! Top boutiques on main drag, or at that top pricey hotel where rooms are 300$ a nite. Folks come to your town for a reason, it's quaint. Gorgeous. NATURE is there! They love the quaint streets of YOUR VILLAGE. WELL, paint quaint!
There is one other kind of painting worth big money, BASQUIAT graffiti which is easy for INNER CITY KIDS to get the hang of. Do it on top of boxes, purses, bags. Do a google on his name, in IMAGES' google's IMAGE area. This kind of rude but dramatic writing is unseen in EUROPE, call it BASQUIAT and you can create a LINE of items that kids there would need. SCHOOL BAGS, tablet or cell phone HOLDERS, as it's just colorful graffiti on a pale background. Another is COMIC STRIP ART, Sells really well in Europe. A third is ILLUSTRATIVE ART that is BRIGHT and WITTY. SEE BIG CAT HEADS DOT COM
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