Ulrika Leander On Marketing

by Barbara Burns on May 4, 2018


Barbara Burns

 

This is a wonderful interview with Ulrika Leander. Ulrika talks about how she has been marketing and promoting her work including several useful ideas we can all try.

 

How long have you been weaving?

For over 50 years.

When and how did you begin to sell your work?

When I was in my early twenties. I had my first sale from an art exhibit in Sweden.

You have done many commissions, both liturgical and corporate. How has this work come to you?

For many years I advertised in the Guild books and that was worth every penny.

What is a guild book?

Years back a woman named Toni Sikes sold pages in a hard cover book to artists that were interested in getting commissions. The Guild books went out to art consultants, interior designers, collectors and architects around the country. Today the company is called CODAWORX and is a very professional website that connects artists with people that are looking for established artists.

I had many sales/commissions from that. The last 18 years I have been very fortunate to live in an area with lots of tourists and also wealthy people in second homes (The Eastern Shore of Maryland). Three days a week during the summer season I have kept the doors open for walk-ins and that has resulted in great sales/commissions.

Over Dancing Water

Have you changed your marketing strategy since you began weaving? How has the internet changed how you market your work?

Yes, a few times and of course when Internet came into the picture it was an amazing change that opened so many new possibilities.

You have a blog, a website, an Etsy page and a  Facebook page. How do you use each of them?

Blog: I write when I have something interesting to say. Lately I haven’t written anything and I should.

Website: I often refer people that are interested in my work to take a look at the website and especially the slideshow that explains the weaving process. Etsy page: worthless.

Would you please elaborate? Why is the Etsy page worthless?

I should have said for my work. I have shopped a lot of great stuff on Etsy. It’s probably because my tapestries are very large scale and quite expensive so people feel, like I would, that buying very expensive art from a website is too risky.

Facebook page: really a great way of keeping the visitors updated on my work. I have a group of people that follow me. It’s quick and easy to post and I think that the Facebook page probably is more effective than the website.

Effective in what way?

Well, because I constantly post updates on my ongoing tapestries and it has excited some, and made them interested in a particular piece. Showing the ongoing work gives the visitor a much greater appreciation of what goes into weaving a tapestry and I would say that helps them understand why a tapestry costs a lot of money.

Has  the internet added to your sales? Do you use it for sales?

Yes, it certainly has added to my sales. More people stumble upon my work, people who didn’t know I was here.

Do you market your work in any other arenas?

Art competitions and exhibitions.

Migration

What have you tried that didn’t work?

Mailing out fancy cards and target e-mails.

Have you ever had your work in a gallery? If so, tell us about that experience.

I have had my work in many galleries. It’s a great way to showcase my work but it seldom leads to any sales.

That’s a surprise, do you have any thoughts on why that is?

People need time to think about if they really want to invest in an expensive piece of art. An art exhibition normally runs from one month up to two and it might not be enough time to decide if you love the piece enough and if you are ready to invest all that money. It’s not uncommon that people, weeks or even months after the exhibit has closed, contact the artist by themselves. Not fair to the gallery, but such is life.

Do you design your work with selling in mind or do you design what you want to weave and hope that it will sell?

I only design what I want to weave unless it’s a commission and that’s of course a different ballgame.

How do you advertise to get people into your studio?

I have a big road sign showing the inside of the studio and some of my tapestries plus a brochure box with information.

Is there a size or price range you find sells best for you?

It depends on the architectural environment.

You don’t put prices on your website. Why is that?

Because it might scare potential buyers away. I do e-mail my price list upon request. If you have a chance to talk to them and explain what is in involved in creating a tapestry the chances are much greater that the person will go ahead with the purchases.

Solitude

What do you think of putting this explanation on your website? Why would you not do this?

No, no I could not put that on my web site because that comes from my gut feeling and it wouldn’t sound good. If people really are interested and want that information, I know they will e-mail me or pick up the phone.

How do you price your work?

It’s priced depending on the complexity of the design and the size of the tapestry.

Brief Moment

Can you be more specific?

Working my whole life with designing and weaving tapestries, commissions or spec tapestries, I have found that having a set price is absolutely necessary. If a potential buyer comes to visit your studio with the intention to buy or commission a tapestry and you don’t have a set price you are fumbling in the dark and it’s very easy that you will get manipulated (the potential buyer wants to get a bargain) and you could end up with an agreed upon price that is not worth your time. I never, never negotiate my prices because over the many years in this business I have learned how much time it takes to design a tapestry, ho much time it takes to prepare the looms, the cost of the materials and most importantly, the many months of weaving the tapestry.

This might help you in understanding my pricing.

CONTEMPORARY TAPESTRY WEAVING

STUDIO PRICE LIST

2017

TITLE                                                     SIZE                PRICE

SOUL MATES                                     103” X 84”       $9,000.00

LISTEN TO THE TREE                    124” X 44”       $18,200.00

A NEW DAY                                        68” X 84”        $16,500.00

SNOW FALLING ON GEESE            71” X 47”          $8,100.00

SWIFT SILVERTAILS PASSING       54” X 116”       $18,300.00

BEFORE TIME                                   80” X 149”       $18,000.00

MIDSUMMER                                    83” X 51”          $10,000.00

OVER DANCING WATER               112” X 98”          $32,300.00

BRIEF MOMENT                              49” X 68”           $18,500.00

SOLITUDE                                        31” X 86”            $17,760.00

 

 

APPROXIMATE WEAVING TIME FOR A 4FT. X 8FT. TAPESTRY

COMPLEXITY                         WEAVING TIME

SIMPLE 5 MONTHS
INTERMEDIATE 6 MONTHS
INTERMEDIATE/COMPLEX 8 MONTHS
COMPLEX 10 MONTHS
COMPLEX SUPERIOR 14 MONTHS

 

COMPLEXITY EXAMPLES

THIS TABLE SHOWS THE LOCATION ON MY WEB SITE OF EXAMPLES OF EACH LEVEL OF DESIGN COMPLEXITY. THE NUMBERS REFER TO IMAGES IN EACH SECTION.

 

COMPLEXITY                           SECTION                                                         NO. AND TITLE

SIMPLE GALLERY OF INSTALLED TAPESTRIES 11. OUR DUTY – OUR BOUNTY
INTERMEDIATE

GALLERY OF LITURGICAL TAPESTRIES

GALLERY OF INSTALLED TAPESTRIES

GALLERY OF LITURGICAL TAPESTRIES

06. HEALING FLIGHT

13. SPRINGBORNE

10. MARY’S GIFT

INTERMEDIATE/COMPLEX

GALLERY OF INSTALLED TAPESTRIES

 

 

 

GALLERY OF LITURGICAL TAPESTRIES

01. DOWNTOWN

04. SEVEN FIFTEEN

10. FRAMES OF REFERENCE

19. INGRID AND GEY

09. LEAVING THE ARK

COMPLEX

GALLERY LITURGICAL TAPESTRIES

GALLERY OF INSTALLED TAPESTRIES

03. EVENSONG

16. LUNAR

COMPLEX SUPERIOR GALLERY OF INSTALLED TAPESTRIES

14. IMAGE OF A GROWING SPRING

20. HIGH MEADOW

 

 

Ulrika Leander  grew up in Sweden where to this day textile art is one of the most frequent forms of artistic expression found in public buildings, corporate offices, churches, health care facilities and in private homes.

The rich history and tradition of textile art and design became part of her consciousness at a very early age and the Scandinavian design aesthetic is a strong influence to this day.

2 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this information. Everyone’s experiences are different. I love to hear peoples stories.

  2. Ellen Ramsey says:

    I think you are the smartest cookie in the box because you titled your website so strategically. When one googles “Contemporary Tapestry” you are the first, and only, artists website to come up. You are a master in so many ways! Thanks for sharing your experience in such a detailed and useful way.

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