REDIMAT sells wholesale mat board, pre cut photo mats, picture framing sets and clear bags HOME · PRODUCTS · ORDERING · RESOURCES · CONTACT · View Shopping Cart

home > resources > Articles > Finding Business in Unexpected Places

Photo Mat Resources

Finding Business in Unexpect Places

Sometimes serendipity clears an artist's path when it's least expected. Other times, benefits arrive by creating noticeable opportunities. As an artist or photographer, you must look at every situation as an opportunity to promote your work. Don't underestimate the business value of situations that aren't traditionally considered selling opportunities.

Need some ideas? Here's how two artists created business in unlikely places.


Gatherings with family and friends present a great time to catch up on family news, reconnect with distant relatives and generate commissions. Generate commissions? Yep, you read that right!

Painter Sheryl Jared wasn't trying to drum up business at a party she hosted for her dad's 75th birthday. She just wanted to show special tribute to her guest of honor. So she painted a lovely watercolor portrait, then matted and framed it, placing it next to the guest book.

After the party, Sheryl had another reason to continue the celebration--her tribute portrait not only delighted her dad, but also generated several commissions from partygoers.

The upcoming holiday season will provide ample opportunities to gather with friends, associates and family. Make sure you have plenty of marketing materials, including postcards and business cards; and consider giving originals or prints as holiday gifts.


Is there a trendy java house or juice bar in your community? Chances are, it's a popular gathering place for artists and arts patrons. Are the kinds of customers who are willing to pay $5 for espresso also the kind who'd be willing to pay $50 or more for your signed, numbered print? As an artist, what can you offer an independent proprietor that captures new customers while collecting commissions or audiences for yourself?

Artist Ellen Wallace is a java junkie who loves the cozy interior and friendly baristas at her local coffee café, Port Town Java. Because they're independently owned and community-minded, Ellen decided to approach them with a proposal hosting an exhibition that benefited the coffee shop, the community and Ellen herself.

The show went on, and the show was a success! Ellen sold several pieces of artwork and was covered by the local newspaper and television stations; Port Town Java had an influx of coffee drinking visitors who came to see the exhibition, as well as being perceived by the community as a community-minded business; and the door is now open for future partnerships between the coffee shop and emerging artists.


Whether you're working with a local coffee shop or a gourmet deli, the tips below are a good promotional foundation.

  • Hold a community arts event with an exclusive after-hours by-invitation-only exhibition. Join with other artists and the coffee shop; share mailing lists.
  • Invite arts patrons, journalists, café patrons and selected guests.
  • Charge admission - designating funds to a nonprofit arts group might garner support and promotions from the arts community and the press - support you want and need.
  • Plan ways with partners to extend benefits beyond the event. Collect contact information with a guest book. Provide guests with 'favors' that include coffee coupons, an exhibition memento and invitations to upcoming exhibits. Your can even designate some prints or art for a nonprofit's silent auction.
  • Ask the café to continue promoting and selling the work; consider the incentive of sharing proceeds with your host.
  • Offer your shop sponsor artwork that commemorates the event as a way to extend your artistic stay.