In an interview on the One Million by One Million Blog (http://www.sramanamitra.com) Fine Art America and Pixels.com founder Sean Broihier explains why some artists on the site pull in $10K a month while others see little sales:
Sramana: What accounts for the success of some artists and the lack of success of others on FineArtAmerica?
Sean Broihier: There is a disproportionate distribution of wealth because we do not have a huge bulk of buyers relative to artists. There are some artists who are making an enormous amount of money and some who are making relatively little money. It all comes down to how the artists take advantage of the tools we give them and how they market themselves. The artists who are making $5,000 to $10,000 a month are putting in the required time and energy to generate their own sales. They are doing email campaigns, they are going to art fairs, making TV appearances, and attending trade shows. We are just doing fulfillment orders for those types of artists.
We are a marketplace that gives you tools to be successful. With so many artists on the site, we cannot provide them all with individualized sales and marketing attention. All we can do is give them tools to help them be successful. People who sit around and take the wait-and-see approach will have one or two sales a year. As for anything in life, you will not be successful unless you put effort into it.
Earlier in the interview Broihier explained how the number of artists signing up every day on Fine Art America and Pixels outpaces the number of buyers. In other words, artists on average see less sales unless they are going above and beyond with their marketing, branding and offerings.
Sean Broihier: The vast majority of orders go to non-artists who have found us through Google or Facebook. You would expect that if you had five artists, you would have 25 buyers to keep them happy. However, because we are free to join and everyone has seen how fast the business is growing, we have attracted a ton of artists. The pace of buying has not kept up currently. Obviously, we are growing quickly. If word got out that FineArtAmerica was doing incredibly well, then I could have another 200,000 artists sign up overnight. I am not necessarily going to see a correlation in the number of buyers signing up at the same time.
See the full 2012 interview here: http://www.sramanamitra.com/2012/03/22/doing-5m-a-year-with-3-employees-fineartamerica-ceo-sean-broihier-part-1/