We are all looking for creative ways to market our work, especially in these times when sales are fewer and harder to come by. I came across a pretty good idea a while ago and thought I would pass it along.
We some friends who own a small specialty grocery store. They had spent quite a bit on rehabbing the retail space and, since they are both artistically inclined; the place was looking pretty good. But they needed fixtures and were a bit short on cash.
Right across the street from them is a guy who makes furniture. Actually, what he makes are metal brackets that can be used to assemble furniture. He also is a big promoter and provider of recycled materials. They got him to put together a main service counter and, in exchange for the exposure, he gave them a substantial discount. The deal has worked out well because every time someone comments on the counter, which is very nicely designed and attracts a lot of attention, they can just point to his shop across the street.
Another cabinetmaker made them a large stand-alone island that is done in a kind of rustic antiqued style. It's great for displaying products and looks beautiful sitting in the front window. This piece is actually on loan with the understanding that if someone actually wanted to buy it, it could be sold. So far this has not happened but the store owners have refereed a number of people who were interested in commissioning work to the maker.
Both of these pieces have generated work for the shops that provided them. It's a really good form of advertising because people can actually see and touch the pieces, which is much better than seeing pictures of them somewhere. The store owners keep a supply of cards from both shops on the counter to give to people who are interested. The store owners benefit from having attractive fixtures and the actual owners of the pieces can still sell them if the occasion arises. So it's a win-win deal for everyone.