Aspiring artists know that the first sign of having “made it” is getting noticed by an art gallery. It’s a medical student’s equivalent of receiving their coat or a lawyer passing the bar. Everything leading up to that point is about cultivating a unique design and wondering if this career choice was a sustainable one. However, getting into a gallery isn’t the only way to succeed. In today’s success story, we share how PrestaShop merchant Glennys created her successful career as an artist-turned-entrepreneur.
Glennys has been developing her style and cultivating a unique approach to creating art since she began painting in the 1990s. Inspired by her surroundings, Glennys creates pieces that evoke fond memories of summer vacations and the abstract interpretations of the beauty she sees in nature. She presented complete portfolios of her art but was criticized for her unique, eclectic style.
It was an uphill battle that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Galleries ask for a 50% commission on all sales, which would have forced Glennys to price her pieces much higher to allow her to make a living off of her art. Glennys soon realized that selling art through a gallery was not meant for everyone, especially her.
Surf and Turf - 40” X 60” Mixed Media on Canvas $2,160
Becoming an Entrepreneur
Without a gallery to display her work, Glennys had only herself to rely on for promotion. She networked at her children’s schools and sports practices, even at restaurants. By taking the initiative in her community, Glennys established a name for herself on her home island of Puerto Rico. Thanks to her new connections, she had the opportunity to design t-shirts and jewelry and collaborate on fashion projects. Glennys realized that she was a natural entrepreneur. It’s that realization that made her decide to display her art by herself, after all she was already doing all the promoting. She quickly found that it would be too expensive for her to maintain a traditional gallery, but what about a digital gallery?
Launching an online shop
Glennys reached out to a friend who was already running an online shop powered by PrestaShop. “Her lack of technical abilities reassured me that I’ll be able to use the platform too,” jokes Glennys. “Once we decided on the platform, I worked with a local freelancer, Rey Castillo, to put together my website. He held my hand through the entire website set up, ensuring that all my questions (no matter how basic) were answered. His top recommended modules were: Google Analytics, PayPal USA and the visits and visitors dashboard. Once the basic shop was set up, it was easy to add products and improve the SEO by filling in the Meta information.”
Making the first sale
After the digital gallery had launched, Glennys promoted the “show” through all her offline channels. She then turned to online marketing by starting her Facebook page, then launching a blog. An online blog let her express in words both her personal journey and the story of her art. Her honest posts helped her grow her audience both locally and internationally, online. More people from the community started getting to know Glennys and her art. Customers started popping by her studio to pick up art and Glennys paintings were finally finding homes. Her first online sale came through just three months after the website launched. She shares, “It was an amazing feeling to have the online gallery finally succeed not just as an online shop, but also as a gallery for local shoppers.”
Although things have started falling into place, Glennys has not slowed down. She regularly adds to her inventory and develops new collections to keep her website fresh. She also posts regularly on her blog and social media to keep her customers engaged and updated on her latest projects.
When asked what the best part of launching an online shop was, Glennys shared: “Launching my online shop allows me to be my own boss, a salesperson, an entrepreneur, a teacher, a mom, a wife and, of course, the artist behind each and every piece in the gallery.” Tweet_Button