The Complete Guide to “The A List” Application

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BY COMMERCIAL ART BUYERS LOOKING FOR NEW TALENT

 Connect with Commercial Art Buyers, Faster and Easier

The A List is a talent directory that goes BEYOND the art.

Getting on The A List shows commercial art buyers that you have what it takes to work professionally with them.

“I look at aesthetics based on my own personal taste and input from my staff, price points, quality, uniqueness compared to other products I carry… stuff like that. It’s difficult to tell what it will be like working with an artist or designer, and if they become high maintenance in any way, I dropped them.”

Kelly M.  – former MI gallery owner

“Because of the challenges I faced for years dealing with non-professional Artists, I  now only work with Artists that understand business and how to form successful relationships.”

Owner of The Artisan’s Bench, Brighton, MI

Emerging and established artists can can get onto The A List using ONLY their images but to be found by more buyers, it’s best to use a variation of the items listed below.

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

Any Artist or Designer from around the world at any experience level can apply to The A List.

Our list will go out to;

  • retail stores
  • boutiques
  • artisan markets
  • galleries
  • architects
  • interior designers
  • sales reps
  • and more…

We are hand picking Commercial Art Buyers who are searching for fine art, fine craft, fashion, furniture, graphics/illustration, jewelry, giftware, fiber, lighting design, sculptors, fashion accessories to rep, purchase or use in a project.


THE A LIST MOCKUP

BIG Thank you to EC Ambassador, @steveczapiewski for designing this sample of The A List.


STEP ONE

The form found in our website is the first step. All you’ll need a few contact details and 1-3 images. That’s it!

After you click submit and pay, you have the option of adding more details about your practice, your career and how you work professionally into a 2nd form titled, Rise Higher.

Here’s the full list of items that you can choose from when filling out the Rise Higher form. You do NOT need all of these items in your application.


PROFESSIONAL DOCUMENTATION (optional)

  • “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 (optional)

  • 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 EXPERIENCE (optional)

  • Number of Artists Talks or Presentations
  • Retail Experience; trade show; trunk show or art fair/festival
  • Fine Art Rep Experience
  • Wholesale Accounts
  • Wholesale Trade Show Experience
  • Sales Rep Experience

PROFESSIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS (optional)

  • 3 Business References

EXTRAS (optional)

  • Awards you’ve received
  • Your volunteering experience
  • Your publications
  • Social media information
  • Wholesale purchase orders written
  • Your own website

STEP TWO: BEFORE YOU BEGIN-BASICS

  1. Throughout both applications you’ll be asked for the links to web pages. How to copy a web page link or URL.
  2. Review your Embrace Creatives Profile to make sure it’s filled in fully and there are no typos. To build or edit your EC Profile, click here.
  3. Have your Pay Pal account or credit card handy to pay for The A List application.

STEP THREE: PROFESSIONAL DOCUMENTATION

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 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 professionally you will rank lower inside The A List.

Think like a buyer. Whether you’re a ceramic artist or jewelry designer, your Embrace Creatives’ Portfolio or Look Book should showcase cohesive work. You do not need this section to apply but to include this area inside your application, have Portfolios or Look Books uploaded into your Embrace Creatives’ Gallery.

  • Your Portfolio or Look Book should 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? You do not need this section to apply to The A List but for a higher ranking, have a detailed, Project 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?

Your Project should have at least 4 images that share an overall view of what you do 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 professionally you will rank lower inside The A List.

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.

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. 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.



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. Again, nothing in this section is mandatory but it’s helpful if you include as much as you can.

We would like to know;

  • 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, and so on

STEP SIX: RECOMMENDATIONS

What do others say about you? Professionals who read positive reviews from other professionals are more confident about the person and more apt to work with them. 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.  If an Artist takes their career seriously they will have a good number of recommendations from Commercial Art Buyers. This section is optional.


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.

You don’t have to include any of these items to be reviewed or accepted.

Buyers want to see things like;

  • Awards listed inside your EC Profile
  • Social Media information
  • Wholesale purchase orders written
  • Your volunteering experience
  • Your own website

STEP EIGHT: EXPERT HELP

Want an expert review & edit of your current CV and/or Artist Statement? Building your professional documents, Portfolio or Look Book from scratch? Schedule a private session with Andrea Bogart’s Detroit Art & Business Institute consulting firm.

Empower Others