The Complete Guide to “The A List” Application

Be Found by Commercial Art Buyers, Faster and Easier

The A List is a professional, talent directory that goes BEYOND the art. Commercial Art Buyers tell us all the time that want creativity as well as professionalism in the Artists and Designers they work with so we’re giving them a complete view of our Embrace Creatives’ Members in one place: The A List paired with Embrace Creatives is a one-stop-shop for talent!

Emerging and established artists can apply to get on The A List with a variation of the items listed below. Each person accepted will be ranked by their professionalism and experience more-so than their creativity or craftsmanship, although that does play a part.

To help you prepare for our unique application we’ve compiled a detailed, step-by-step guide, below.  Review the guide, gather your documents and files then go into The A List application and apply to become an A Lister!

After you apply, Embrace Creatives’ Founder, business coach and entrepreneurial expert, Andrea Bogart will personally review your responses, images and documents then we’ll reach out to schedule a short interview. Once the interview process is over, we’ll send you our decision along with your “ranking” and suggestions.

Any Artist or Designer can apply to The A List.  Our list will go out to retail stores, boutiques, artisan markets, galleries, architects, interior designers and sales reps who are looking for fine art, fine craft, fashion, furniture, graphics/illustration, jewelry, giftware, fiber, lighting design, sculptors, fashion accessories and more.


STEP ONE

Here is the full list of items we will use to curate The A List. You do NOT need to have ALL of these items to apply. Some are for artists looking for gallery representation and some are for designers who sell wholesale or retail. Review the list below then read the requirements for each section.

PROFESSIONAL DOCUMENTATION

  • “Tell Us About Yourself” section inside your Embrace Creatives profile
  • Artist Statement uploaded to your Embrace Creatives profile
  • CV uploaded to your Embrace Creatives profile
  • Embrace Creatives’ Portfolios
  • Embrace Creatives’ Look Books
  • Embrace Creatives’ Projects

ART BUSINESS EDUCATION

  • Mind Your Art Business Growth Course Certificate
  • Mind Your Art Business Workshops
  • Other, credible Art Business Course Certificate or Workshops
  • Private Art Business Coach
  • Education & degrees uploaded to your Embrace Creatives profile
  • Professional career & industry background

YOUR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE

  • Solo Gallery Exhibits
  • Group Gallery Exhibits
  • Wholesale Accounts
  • Wholesale Trade Show Vendor Experience
  • Retail Experience; trade show; trunk show or art fair/festival
  • Sales Rep Experience
  • Fine Art Rep Experience

PROFESSIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

  • 3 Business References

EXTRAS

  • Awards listed inside your EC Profile
  • Social Media information
  • The number of wholesale purchase orders written during the past 12 months
  • Your volunteering experience
  • Your own website

STEP TWO: BEFORE YOU BEGIN-BASICS

  1. Throughout The A List application you’ll be asked for the links to web pages. How to copy a web page link or URL.
  2. The image requirements for The A List application are: Largest dimension 1000px wide at 150dpi in JPEG/JPG/PNG format, max 2MB
  3. Your Embrace Creatives’ Profile must be filled in completely with everything a Commercial Art Buyer needs for an overall view of your professional practice so login to your EC account and review your Profile to make sure it’s robust and there are no typos. To build or edit your EC Profile, click here.
  4. Have your Pay Pal account or credit card handy to pay for your The A List application.
  5. Any time you want to go back to your The A List application, click here.

STEP THREE: PROFESSIONAL DOCUMENTATION

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF

All EC Artists included in The A List will have the first few sentences from their “Tell Us About Yourself” section added to their listing so make sure the opening to your summary is strong and concise. Buyers will be able to click through to your EC Profile from The A List to read the rest of your summary section.

PORTFOLIO / LOOK BOOK

Please note: If your Portfolio or Look Book, is not developed with what Commercial Art Buyers need to review your work and your practice, your application will be put on hold until your documents are fixed.

Think like a Buyer! Whether you’re a ceramic artist or jewelry designer, your Embrace Creatives’ Portfolio or Look Book must showcase cohesive work. Your images should be in a series or able to be exhibited or displayed together in an easy-to-understand way.

For The A List application, have Portfolios or Look Books uploaded into your Embrace Creatives’ Gallery.

  • Your Portfolio or Look Book must have at least 5 images but no more than 10.
  • In a Portfolio, each image must be labeled with all of the information a buyer would need to evaluate its fit for their store or gallery.
  • Learn how to craft a professional, digital portfolio: read our EC article.
  • Learn how to upload a Portfolio to your EC account: click here.
  • Your Look Book you should have clear product shots and, if possible, images that showcase how your art or designs are used/worn by your clients.
  • Your Look Book should have everything a Commercial Art Buyer needs to review your product for their store or gallery.
  • View a professional Look Book here.

PROJECT

Buyers want a far reaching view of your creative enterprise. How do you, as an abstract artist or furniture designer work OUTSIDE of your studio? What can you showcase about your creative business that doesn’t belong in your abstract painting Portfolio or urban clothing Look Book?

For a higher ranking inside The A List, have a detailed, Project (or two or three) uploaded to your Embrace Creatives’ Gallery.

  • Have you participated in a retail store or gallery trunk show?
  • Was your art or design included in a fashion show?
  • Did you create a mural for a local retailer?

Businesses want to see that you’re actively participating with other business owners because it tells them that you;

  • think outside the box
  • are committed to your success
  • most probably work well with others
  • want to support not only your own enterprise but others too.

Your Project must have at least 4 images that easily share an overall view of your professionalism outside of your studio and each image should have detailed text explaining;

  • where you were
  • what you were doing
  • who you were doing it for/with.

For an example of an exceptional EC Project, click here.


CV / ARTIST STATEMENT

Please note: If your CV or Artist Statement is not developed with what Commercial Art Buyers need to review your work and your practice, your application will be put on hold until your documents are fixed.

Share your creative path. Commercial Art Buyers want to see professional documents that detail an Artist’s journey, experience level and the vision of their practice because it allows a more expansive view of the artist.

To be accepted into The A List more easily and get a higher ranking, have a well written CV and/or Artist Statement uploaded as a PDF file to your Embrace Creatives’ Profile.

If you are unsure how to develop your professional documents, please read these articles;

Need help uploading your CV or Artist Statement into your EC Account? Watch this video


STEP FOUR: ART BUSINESS EDUCATION

Talent isn’t enough. There’s A LOT of competition out there – how do you stand out? By being educated in business strategies, that’s how. That’s why Embrace Creatives has given art business education its own section. We recommend that glass artists, illustrators, abstract painters, shoe designers, sculptors, and others learn targeted, entrepreneurial skills because;

  • Commercial Art Buyers expect you to be set up as an organized, professional business with a clear understanding of your clients.
  • Retail buyers and sales reps look for artists who understand the ENTIRE sales process (from introductions through reorders).
  • Curators and Interior designers won’t help you price your work, find insurance, or promote your business – they want you to have these important strategies already in place.

Buyers are not your mentors. That’s not their job. To develop the important skills that ease the frustrations of business building and that buyers need you to have, look into the trusted, Mind Your Art Business educational programming that’s brought clarity to hundreds of artists and designers just like you.  EC Members get a special discount.

Buyers will see you near the top of the list when we see you’ve invested in your business through education and/or private coaching or you have education or career experience, so gather your certificates and/or add your education to your EC Profile.


STEP FIVE: YOUR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE

Your creativity is what buyers see first but your professional experience is what they look for immediately afterwards. It’s a small, creative universe. If you’re not skilled at creating healthy relationships or you’re difficult to work with, not only will buyers not work with you but they’ll tell their colleagues as well.

Your ranking will depend upon how much experience you have working with and Selling to commercial Art Buyers.

We want to know things like;

  • The number of solo gallery exhibits you’ve had
  • The number of group gallery exhibits you’ve participated in
  • How many active wholesale accounts you have
  • One wholesale trade show you’ve participated in as a vendor
  • One retail experience you’ve participated in as a vendor
  • The name of the Wholesale Sales Rep you’re actively working with
  • The name of the Art Rep you’re actively working with

So choose which information you can gather and get it together for The A List application.

If you’re new to the art world and don’t have enough experience, that’s okay… you can give us your professional recommendations (next section), art business education (previous section) and any extras (last section).


STEP SIX: RECOMMENDATIONS

What do others say about you? Until now, we’ve receive your own interpretations of your creative enterprise so now it’s time to share how others feel.  Professionals who read positive reviews from other professionals are more confident about the candidate and more apt to begin a business relationship. Why? Because recommendations can be hard to acquire, and people’s names and public identities are on the line when it comes to vouching for you. Basically, the more professional recommendations you have, the better. If an Artist takes their career seriously they will have a good number of recommendations from Commercial Art Buyers.

Your ranking will depend upon the number of professional recommendations you have acquired.

You can ask people like;

  • Your vendors (who you actively purchase supplies from)
  • Creative colleagues you’ve collaborated with
  • Gallery directors/managers or store owners/buyers
  • Sales reps / art reps
  • Non-profits you’ve volunteered for
  • Anyone else you’ve worked with professionally in the creative industry…

Get a list of people you can reach out to, or go to your LinkedIn account then add Recommendations inside your The A List application.

Tell them you’re applying for a special, new talent directory that ranks Artists on their business relationships as well as their creativity and you need to add a short testimonial or recommendation on how awesome and easy it is to work with you.


STEP SEVEN: EXTRAS

What buyers want. We asked Commercial Art Buyers what extra things they’d want to know about and they gave us a short list. Emerging Artists & Designers can use this are to increase their The A List ranking.

Buyers want to see things like;

  • Awards listed inside your EC Profile
  • Social Media information
  • The number of Wholesale Purchase Orders written during the past 12 months
  • Your volunteering experience
  • Your own website

    STEP EIGHT: EXPERT HELP

Want an expert review & edit of your current CV and/or Artist Statement? Click here

Building your professional documents, Portfolio or Look Book from scratch? Schedule a private coaching session with Embrace Creatives and Detroit Art & Business Institute Founder, Andrea Bogart.

 

Empower Others