You are probably like most Art Studio Owners who generate your revenue mainly from art classes. But with a little creativity (and you have that!) you can bring extra income without adding more classes or recruiting new students.
Thinking outside the box not only adds to your bottom line but puts you ahead of your competition and create a devoted tribe among your students and parents. They will cherish your Art Studio and spend more money.
Here are 9 Creative Ideas to make you a go-to Art Studio in your area. Some you already know (and do, but what about extending to different age groups and demographics?) and some are new to you:
1. Birthday and Bridal Parties
These can be a cash cow. You may be doing birthday parties for younger kids, also focus on their siblings and other family members. Teenagers want to personalize things, so have them paint a t-shirt, a wall decoration or make special jewelry. Adults can bake, create a “memory lane” from pictures they bring. Bridesmaids can create the wedding decorations at Bridal Parties.
You can host with your teachers or rent to a party company that pays you. Whatever you decide, make sure every child or adult attending receives a special offer with free or reduced classes (have an end date) to come back to your Art Studio.
2. Workshops and Camps
In addition to offering workshops and camps in your Art Studio with your teaches or guest teachers, think about offsite possibilities. What about offering them at amusement parks, botanical gardens, senior centers and everywhere where your students (young and old) spend time? Find out if they offer camps and other activities and how you can supplement those.
3. Portfolios at the end of workshops and camps
My daughter’s 2nd grade teacher made individual “portfolios” of their year’s progress with monthly pictures and a writing. Many years have passed and I still look through it. You can create something similar even if your activities are just a few days or weeks long. Take regular pictures of work in progress, add some clever captions and assemble a book of 10-15 pages. Offer them for sale to parents (take orders beforehand). Create 2-3 templates on your computer ahead of time and choose one based on the nature of your class and age group. You can order the finished book online at sites like Vistaprint or your local print shop (a potential barter or partnership opportunity with the latter).
4. Team Building
Write down 10 businesses in your neighborhood that you can approach. Give the Team Building a fun name and prepare a flier to distribute, emphasizing the advantages to use your Art Studio for improving productivity, making employees more creative, etc. Have 5-6 ideas, depending on the type of business and its employees (male, female, younger, older, etc.). For example, a flower shop team can paint their favorite flower individually or a bouquet together. They can discuss why that flower is their favorite and how they would assemble a color palette for a bouquet, a print shop can assemble a specific shelving as their shop centerpiece to hold unique papers.
5. Family Classes
Think bigger than just your students and their parent. What about siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins? They can get together in your Art Studio and create a photo or handprint collage, a painting, a house decoration or jewelry for each other. Include food and beverages in the package and be the host for their family gathering. Drop off flier at your church or local communities about your Family Classes.
6. Merchandise sale
Offer a consignment store for your teachers or local artists to sell their creations. Work out a commission deal (ex. 30% of the sale price) so you don’t have to buy the art pieces upfront. A piece of advice, rotate the inventory monthly so it is always fresh and people can drop by just to see what is new. Also sell limited edition merchandise like t-shirts, bags or drink bottles. Offer what is “in fashion” for your students and parents, not what you like. Create regular e-mail marketing and announce what is new in your store.
7. Rent your Art Studio during off hours
Depending on your classes, you probably have days or hours when your Art Studio is not in use. Think about renting it out to local businesses that are looking for meeting locations or have certain activities like community or meetup groups.
In addition to bringing extra money this approach is also valuable as more people become aware of your business who otherwise would have not known you existed. You can advertise your space on Craigslist or different meetup groups. For example, we live in a townhouse community and always looking for spaces to hold our monthly HOA meetings.
8. Exhibitions for long term students
Many of your students have been with you for years. Why not organize yearly exhibitions with their best work? Have the exhibition on a set day every year (for example, last Saturday of June) so everyone in their family and friends remembers. Hire a photographer and take professional pictures during the event and of their artwork, and sell those afterward. Have pre-order forms ready during the event. Sell refreshments and food to cover your costs. Also make sure you give coupons to all attendees offering free or reduces price classes (put a time limit on them).
9. VIP programs
Many people are willing to spend extra money to save time or have first choice for a class or a popular teacher. Offer a VIP program for those people (think the hotel preferred quest program). Also give discount or free classes to their friends and family once a year. Send out a questionnaire and see what would be of a value to them for a VIP program and offer that. Charge $50-$200/year to be a member.
This list may look like a lot of work upfront but once you process, templates and system are in place it can be done quite easily. You don’t need to implement all of these at once or at all. It is more like a starting point that you can adjust to your needs. It is an exercise to think outside the box. The goal is not only to add more money to your bottom line but also to have an Art Studio that provides an awesome experience to your students and parents, and builds a devoted tribe.
Please take a moment and think what resources you have to implement the above list now and in the