ASIS Ep.3 – Saskia Saunders: How Saskia transformed her business commanding top prices and attracting high-end clients.

By Jessica Craddock

Jul 20

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In this episode... How Saskia transformed her business commanding top prices and attracting high-end clients.

The “Artist Success Interview Series" is a collection of interviews from artists who have had great success selling their art and reaching their goals. They’ll be sharing the biggest catalysts to their success and providing valuable tips that you can implement in your own business.

As a weaver Saskia Saunders prefers to create quality over quantity, working with high-end clients to create elegant and peaceful pieces. However, Saskia’s success wasn’t immediate, but once she changed her way of thinking about her art business, her entire way of working drastically changed. In the span of only 18 months Saskia went from selling her weavings on Etsy for £35 to pricing them above £1,000. In fact, most of her work now sells for £5K-12K.

Saskia came to the realization that success comes from genuinely believing in yourself because valuing your art is about valuing yourself, and getting there is a journey of personal growth. Saskia admits that those doubts will still creep in, but these days she is much better equipped to overcome them. She now creates very deep and personal connections with clients and is confident about the quality of her work.

You’ll want to hear the self-realizations that helped Saskia build a business that complimented her lifestyle instead of competing with it.

Listen as Saskia answers these three questions:

  • What was your biggest mindset shift to go from selling art for £35 to £12K? (00:06:23)
  • What is the single biggest action step to create more income and space in your life? (00:09:26)
  • What advice do you have for someone who's not sure if they can reach their next level? (00:13:27)

Resources and links mentioned:

  • Catch up with Saskia on Instagram @‌saskia_saunders
  •  Visit Saskia’s website at www.saskiasaunders.com
  •  Would you like to know where to spend your time in order to create consistent sales, without letting it take over your life? Awesome! Grab your free training, "The Artist's Day" here: https://theartistmarket.co/
  • For information on working with Jessica, send your questions/thoughts to jessica@theartistmarket.co

Learn more about selling your art:

  • For more practical and energetic strategies to create consistent income and life balance, follow Jessica on Instagram @artistmarketco
  • Would you like to know where to spend your time in order to create consistent sales, without letting it take over your life? Awesome! Grab your free training, "The Artist's Day" here: https://theartistmarket.co/ 
  •  Sign up for the 7- day FREE trial of my Consistent Income for Artists program here.

Read the Transcript for this episode

Jessica Craddock: I am here with Saskia Saunders for The Artist Success Interview Series.

And if you haven't been following along the point of this series is to help you believe that is completely possible to make money selling your art without wearing yourself to a frazzle. And Saskia is a great example of that, about balancing her time and energy and making sure she has plenty of space for her children and her mental health and everything.

So I'm excited to bring her here today. She is a weaver. She does these beautiful... you can see behind her... elegant, so simplistic, minimalist weavings. If you are not following her on Instagram already, you should be. And I'll give you that handle at the end. Actually, let's just throw it in right now because we're here. It's @saskia_saunders.

There we go.

Hi, how are you?

Saskia Saunders: Thank you for having me today.

It's fantastic to speak to you.

Jessica Craddock: I'm so glad you are. I want to thank you on behalf of everyone who always emails me after I put these things out and says that was so useful. That is all going to you. So just go ahead and accept that energy pre-release.

So Saskia I asked before we got on the phone.

If you were willing to talk about some numbers and you said yes. So I'm going to let you just do that in your own way, shape or form. However you want to do that. We'll start there. And then I will ask you three questions about, what you have done to be able to get to where you are and then we'll wrap up.

Saskia Saunders: Great. Thank you. Yeah, I guess I'd just like to, talk about my work and that I work with high-end clients who are looking for really bespoke, elegant and peaceful pieces of work. I'm looking to make quality pieces over quantity, and that for my way of working as a weaver, because it's quite a time-consuming process, but also suits my attention to detail and wanting to make really quality pieces. And it just suits my lifestyle as well to get, as you've already mentioned, to get balanced around the fact that I have a young family.

I don't want to be, burning the candle at ten million ends. I want to also have a lot of energy to bring to my work. I don't want to be, presenting it for taking all my time and space up. I want to feel like this lovely sense of balance. The last piece I sold was a currently a small piece in my range.

And that was for about 4,700 pounds. That's if, then moving up to my medium and large scale, pieces for commissions at the minute, which are in the range of seven and a half to twelve and a half thousand pounds. So to put that in perspective, about 18 months ago I was selling for a 10th of that price.

I've been able to massively jump start and grow my business. And it has just incredibly freed up that energy in that space I've had to then create, because I'm not frantically running around trying to sell 10 pieces of work when I can sell one.

It's 10 times different in that space of time. Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: And I remember we had talked about at one point long ago, you were selling on Etsy and you're feeling frazzled and selling quite well. But when we went back and looked at the numbers, it wasn't nearly worth it compared to just being able to sell that one piece for a higher price point. Is that a good summary of what we discussed?

Saskia Saunders: Absolutely. I, at one point I went ahead a little confidence step recently. I remembered when I used to sell really frequently weavings on Etsy and I used to do it without a lot of marketing. I didn't have a website or anything at that point. And so I felt like I wasn't putting anything energy in and yet people were finding me.

But when you challenged me to actually, and I thought, am I doing the right things at the minute? Or should I perhaps go back to that model of working? But when you challenged me to go back and look up what I was selling, how often and how many you want price? I couldn't believe the kind of small numbers that I was selling my work for.

Obviously, it served a time and a purpose and what I was doing then, and it was just a creative exploration, but I was selling pieces for anything from 35 pounds up. And now, as I said, I don't, I don't sell work less than the thousands now. It's a ridiculously big leap and it's been totally worth it.

Yeah, it's just, it's been a huge shift from working in the terms of the model that I had before with Etsy, obviously it was great for a certain time, but there was no sense of connection there. It was selling small pieces left, right and center constantly running to the post office. Not knowing what was happening, kind of no direction, to now deep and really personal connections with clients, slowing that pace down, making really high quality work. I don't worry. I used to send work off and panic that when it got to them that they would be disappointed because I just didn't know if I put the quality and I didn't know it would just get there and just be a let down.

 Now, I did not ever doubt that.

I know that the work has had all that time and effort going into it. Um, The price reflects that and so in terms of kind of an energy exchange, the client gets something amazing. And I get an amazing experience of making it and sending it to them. So it's just a huge shift. Not only times the money, like the money is a part of it, but it's just a whole different ball game of the way of working.

Jessica Craddock: I love that so much.

[00:06:33] What was your biggest mindset shift to go from selling art for thirty five pounds to twelve thousand pounds?

Jessica Craddock: And, think that leads very beautifully into the next question, which is what was the single biggest mindset shift that it took you to be able to go from selling those pieces for thirty five pounds to selling pieces for five to twelve thousand pounds. Cause I know that there's a big mindset shift there.

Saskia Saunders: Absolutely. I was thinking about it earlier and I realized for me personally, that I think probably the biggest mindset shift has been that there's no magic secret to success. It's all been about believing in myself and my work. Knowing that I am worthy of it, and my clients are worthy of that.

And my art is worthy of the experience. So I think when I first came to you and started working with you, I was looking for an answer. I was looking for you to tell me if I ticked X, Y, and Z boxes, I would be a great artist and I'd get there. And, that was just my personality type, but I just realized I have to trust in myself.

I have to genuinely feel that it's all worth it. So that for me has been the biggest shift.

Jessica Craddock: It takes a lot of work. I mean,

going from thinking, I am only worthy of selling here to selling here. It takes a lot of bravery. It takes a lot of steps. It takes a lot of putting trust in yourself, and you have obviously done that. So I'm very proud of you.

Saskia Saunders: Thank you. And I think you're right. Like it's the steps, isn't it? It's not if you do one thing, but it is, it's all that process, and it's the lovely thing is that it radiates out.

So as you say, it's a personal growth thing. So yeah. It's had an impact on my life, not just my art, like this is a lifestyle thing. This is a, I've had benefits that I've seen in my personal life, as well as my art. And it all connects because I'm not just an artist on one hand and a mummy and a wife and a friend on the other, like everything has to interlink.

Everything has to give each other the energy and feeling more...

you've got to feel worthy in all of those places, and you've got to that all comes together. So it's all had a positive impact in that way.

Jessica Craddock: And I love what you just said about how the energy has to feed each other, because when you can put together, I am Saskia, wife, mother, a friend, all of these things together with I am an artist.

It makes this so much more powerful than I am just an artist because no one is just one thing. Everyone is, a mix, and your thoughts and your beliefs and your values and everything all comes in to that bigger picture. And when you can be a more whole, that all starts to work better.

[00:09:26] What was your biggest action step to create more income and space in your life?

Jessica Craddock: Okay. So next question, Saskia. What is the single biggest action step that has allowed you to, grow to this place of more spaciousness, more confidence, higher income?

Saskia Saunders: I think for me, the biggest action step is almost an un-action step. For me, it's been releasing expectations on any action I take because previously I would think, okay, if I wrote this post, a piece might sell.

If I contact this person, they might commission me. If I do X, Y, and Z such and such will happen. And the problem with that is that it placed all this enormous pressure on everything I did all the time. And it meant I was stuck in my head. And to be honest, it drove me to not do things because I procrastinate and I think, oh, they won't buy it so there's no point in emailing them or that client is too high above me or they won't pay that price. So I'm not going to try it because I'm too... yeah. Or what would they say? And they're going to reject me. Um, once I really picked the practice to just do the things, to take the steps and maybe things will happen and maybe they won't like something, you always say like something will happen.

 If you're doing good actions and they're coming from the right place, and their in the right energy and positive and genuine, and that they're just true to you then something good is going to happen from it. So it was all my attention and my energy was out there wondering what all these people were thinking and saying it's going to do because of me and actually had to draw it all back in and go "I'm doing this, I make this art.

I love it. I'm excited by it. If I put it out there and put it in front of the right people, things will happen eventually." And they do. That's to move all that pressure out of my head. It's all that's why I have to constantly remind myself to do this. This isn't oh, I've done it and I've magically fixed it, but I know that's there now. And perhaps I knew that's my tendency, but then I know when I'm getting caught up there, that's something I have to release and step back. So that's been my biggest. Yeah. In terms of one specific thing.

Can I say one other thing, please? The macro was working with you.

 It's working with you! It's changed everything. Like it's jumped me years ahead of where I don't know if I could have ever been.

 It just genuinely everything is just as I said, at the beginning, I came to you looking for an answer and I didn't know that you almost turn it back on me to trust and guide myself. So working with you means that's how I've got where I am. Just been amazing.

Jessica Craddock: Now I'm speechless. My favorite thing about what you said was you just took all that energy that you had given to all of those other people and you claimed it back.

And I don't think I've ever said it in those words. And that was beautiful. And I love that so much. I'm going to steal that. Thank you.

Saskia Saunders: I've stolen it from someone else, I'm sure.

Jessica Craddock: I read something similar somewhere, but I hadn't thought about it in this context. That's so perfect because I have told my Create Art Sales group multiple times recently, the number one thing that's going to keep you stuck is wondering what they're going to think when you do that step. Because if you are concentrating on what they're going to think, it just goes, zoom, zoom, zoom into a million different directions, and it just leaves you paralyzed. But when you can think about, I am coming from this place where I am excited, I'm genuine.

I am kind, I am loving. I am whatever I am. And I am just going to show you who I am. It makes all the difference.

[00:13:27] What advice do you have for someone who's not sure if they can reach their next level?

Jessica Craddock: My last question is there anything that you would like to share apart from what you've already shared about how you have been able to claim your energy back?

Saskia Saunders: Absolutely. It's like a million things, but I think, when you phrased it to me before it was about, is there anything you would say to somebody, that if they weren't sure how they weren't sure they could do it. Yeah. And what I was going to say is... It doesn't matter if you don't know whether you're ready to take that step. You're never gonna feel ready. It matters if you want to. So even if it's like a tiny little niggling feeling of just there's more for me out there, or I just feel like my, whatever it is, like my art should be seen in better or more places. Or I want to connect, or just, I want to have a bigger income because it will support my family or that I can then be more generous of my time or my money and myself, but it doesn't matter what it is.

It's just, if you've got that feeling inside you, like that's the biggest indicator that you can make it work. It's that one thing to do it. Even if I still feel like I have to go for a whole journey with that, because I had that feeling of wanting to, but I still, as I said at the beginning, I still wanted an answer that would tell me, and then if you do this, then you'll be fine.

And it wasn't that like. It took years and lots more digging and lots more unraveling all the kind of beliefs and things that I got stuck in before. I still want to, and I've never ever given up and I've had some really good periods and I'm really low periods, and really like confidence dips and then ups and this, and it's a real roller coaster.

I've never stopped wanting it. And I've never stopped wanting this life to be real, to think that I can make art and that can be my business. And that can be how I grow for the rest of my life. That's incredible. That's, to me is like the ultimate freedom that genuinely my job is to go out and walk in the Woodlands around me, get inspired by what I see, bring that back to my studio, translate it into incredible weavings and then connect to people that love it.

And they buy my work and then I can make more of it and I have time for my children. I have time for my family. Like every layer that I kind of like grow a little bit more, a little bit more. It just makes me want more and more of that. So it doesn't matter where you start, just keep expanding that out.

Jessica Craddock: You have to want it and you have to really truly deeply want it. Not want it because someone else told you that you need to want it, or you should want it or that's what you should do. You should sell your art. If there is a should in there, it's not strong enough. It has to be deeper and all these things that you were talking about.

Yeah. Money was in there, but it wasn't so much about the money. It was about what the money afforded you to be able to do - walking around in the woods, making more of that art, spending more time with your family. And those values are going to really help you anchor into that want and desire. Then when you have to take some little scary, uncomfortable, "what are they going to think?" type steps, you can go... " it's worth it."

Saskia Saunders: Absolutely. Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: I'm there with my business as well. Like mine is, I want spaciousness in my life. I want to be supported. I want to be loved. And by me being able to make money for my family so I could spend time with them. So I can, have all those beautiful little moments of walking through a field or whatever it is.

That's what it's really about. If that's the feeling you've got... Just get started because the longer you wait, the longer it's going to be until you start to get those results in. And the results help with the confidence to do some more like Saskia was saying earlier, it's not something that just goes away.

It gets easier. And you're able to notice it more. If you start now, think how much further you'll be in five, six months, then you would be, if you wait five or six months and then start.

Saskia Saunders: Yeah. And I think that's when I remember when I first started working with you that you were the first person that was... you don't have to do X, Y, and Z to make a successful business that you can be any type of person. And you can have any type of business, and that you can sell any kind of art. And you can do anything because you could shape that. And that trying to explain it in some way, but there was just no specific format that my business had to be.

Just because I had young children doesn't mean I couldn't make it work. Like I can figure out ways that I can build it and make my work patterns work around them.

When I first came to you, you were the first person that was saying that I could build a business that worked for me in the way that I wanted my life to be. That being more successful wasn't necessarily working more. That it wasn't I had to do all the things that I would actually spend all my time, marketing and business and admin, and never making any art, which was one model that seemed to be proposed that I needed to work all the evenings, all the mornings, get up 10 hours before my children wake up to do all the stuff.

It was about what have I got, what can I focus on? What can I prioritize? Like how can I kind of create that, that lifestyle? And, and that was what I wanted. Like, that's what I needed somebody to say is that actually we can work with whatever personally you want to do, and personally you want and need.

Previously, prior to that I'd, I thought I want something more, but I didn't want what was being shown to me. I didn't want that 24 hours a day, always working, always crazy, always doing all this and oh, then you have to do this and this to be successful. I felt like I wanted something, and I wanted my art and I wanted this. I felt that I could grow and I felt it was worth me and more and something, but you were the kind of person to

open that door to go, "okay, what do you want it to be like? And then how can we make it work like that?" So that's where I feel like that's where anybody can have that kind of, if you've got that feeling, don't feel like you don't because you don't fit into a format that you've seen before it's not possible. Its possible because you've got that feeling and you've got that feeling that you want to do it and that energy, and you're gonna, you're gonna make it work in your way.

Jessica Craddock: Saskia. I love you. Thank you so much for coming. I really truly appreciate everything that you've shared and said, and being vulnerable and talking numbers and telling what it's really like behind the scenes.

Everyone just sees these pretty pictures of everyone's successful but me and that's not real. And everyone's confident but me and everyone has it together. And everyone's... even the people who are doing great work, still have this stuff going on, and that needs to be shared. So I really appreciate you being willing to do that. Thank you so much.

 If you want to learn more about Saskia, you can go to her website. Www that Saskia Saunders Again, I'll spell it. S A S K I A S A U N D E R S.com or same at Instagram with an underscore between first and last name. Saskia I appreciate you coming. Thank you again so much.

Saskia Saunders: Thank you for having me, and thank you for everything.

More about Intuitive Art Sales

This is the show where I, Jessica Craddock, am going to teach you how to source your art marketing from within. You're going to practice claiming that authentic art business that you want and leaning into the most natural way for you to get there. You're going to learn to get connected to your intuition, your confidence and your community, so that you can sell your art consistently while holding strong boundaries on your work life balance.

Seasons 1 & 2 are full of interviews with your peers. In these episodes, I explore what each artist wants and give them the next steps to get there. You can take their struggles and their challenges and learn how to navigate your own and create actionable steps towards creating more art sales, more consistently at higher prices than you've ever sold before.

You can find all the episodes here.

About the Author

I’m a mentor for intuitive visual artists to sell more work, more consistently, at higher prices — with better work/life balance. Founder @ The Artist Market Co.