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Art School Business Idea

Art classes are a value-added service that can enhance the commercial viability of art supply and craft retailers and provide an additional stream of revenue for both the teacher and the store. Starting an art school in association with a retail outlet can be a cost-effective way to promote your services and attract new customers.

Art classes can be tailored to suit the needs of both children and adults, allowing you to expand your customer base and ensure a steady source of revenue. In order to start an art school, it’s necessary to determine what type of classes you wish to teach. Pottery making classes can easily be integrated into an existing pottery store, or you can open your own combination pottery school and retail outlet to maximize your profit potential.

Art supply stores are another example of potential synergy. By supplying your students with the materials required for courses held in your own store, you can realize significant profits both from the classes and the sale of art supplies.

The most important element of starting an art school, however, is the teaching staff. Choose the type of art you love and are comfortable with. Your enthusiasm will shine through and attract new and repeat customers to your classes.

Starting An Art School – Start Small

For some entrepreneurs it may make good financial sense to reach an arrangement with a local art supply retailer or crafts store. This partnership can reduce the initial cost of starting an art school to virtually nothing, since in most cases the store will provide you with space on a profit-sharing basis.

In some cases you may be able to obtain art supplies at cost or arrange for the use of on-site equipment that may be prohibitively expensive to purchase on your own. One example is the kiln and throwing wheels available in most pottery stores. A good quality kiln costs hundreds of dollars and pottery throwing wheels can cost even more.

By arranging to borrow or lease time on this equipment for your classes, you can reduce your initial outlay and avoid incurring excessive debt. After you have established both a reputation and a clientele, you may decide it’s time to put the power of synergy to work for you.

Multiple Income Streams

It makes solid financial sense when starting an art school inside an arts and crafts related shop – numerous business owners have combined the two successfully and profitably. Incorporating art classes into an art supply store allows you to market both products and services more effectively and efficiently.

Additionally, you can schedule courses that may allow you to sell excess inventory and showcase specific products you wish to promote. For instance, a pottery painting and glazing class might require the purchase of a specific vase, pot, or bowl available for sale in your retail location. This provides additional profit for you and added convenience for your students.

Operating Expenses and Equipment

Depending on what type of art school you intend to start, the space and equipment will vary significantly. For a small scale pottery school and supply shop, equipment costs will range from around $2,500 to $5,000 for throwing wheels and a small commercial grade kiln.

An art supply store will require only the space for its inventory. Of course any retail outlet will require an initial investment in salable goods, whether those are ceramics, paints and brushes, or any other arts and crafts supplies.

Retail space pricing varies widely from region to region and neighborhood to neighborhood, so it’s not possible to give an accurate estimate on the probable cost per month of leasing a store location.

A general guideline is to lease the best location you can afford, whether that is a freestanding building or a storefront in a strip mall. Leasing interior mall space is an expensive proposition and generally best reserved for the larger chain stores.


While a degree from an accredited art institute will make a nice decoration for your wall, it’s not a requirement when starting an art school of your own. Some of the greatest artists in history were self-taught. All that is necessary is to have a degree of natural talent, a willingness to learn and keep current with new techniques and methods.

A genuine desire to work with and help others is also a requirement. If you intend to operate a store in addition to teaching classes, some bookkeeping and inventory control experience is recommended as well.

Attracting And Retaining Customers

An essential element of any business plan is to win new customers and keep the current ones happy. One way to increase your overall visibility is to offer occasional free art classes to introduce new clients to your business and your field of expertise. These classes can be much more effective in increasing your customer base than traditional advertising methods.

Joining and remaining active in various art organizations in your area can also provide valuable networking contacts and help boost awareness of your art instruction. Finally, don’t underestimate the value of personal contact. Offering demonstrations at local events will give you the chance to meet new customers and make a favorable impression on them, leading to increased business for your art instruction classes and your store.

Starting an art school is a major undertaking and requires a great deal of advanced planning and a moderate level of initial investment. By constructing a realistic and detailed business plan and tailoring your services to your target customer audience, you can ensure that your business has the best possible chance of success.

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