I used to sign and date my paintings and keep a photographic record of the image but, other than such a simple action, I kept no other details. My first sale, an oil painting, was decades ago but I never felt the need to keep formal records until 2019.
I had an Etsy store that I maintained until the end of 2019 but closed it down as a result of moving to Brazil at the start of the pandemic – exporting items from Brazil has attendant bureaucracy so I now have a separate Etsy store aimed only at the Brazilian market.
In support of the Etsy store I used to record items using SKUs. It then occurred to me that I should apply such a record to keep track of my paintings. I began this October 2019.
What is an SKU
A Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is merely a record-keeping system that can be applied to any inventory eg household goods, car fleets etc. I have two: one for non-painting items sold on Etsy and the second for my paintings and fine-art photographs.
I keep the record digitally using One Note (free software from Microsoft) as I use One Note for other uses, including my agenda, on a daily basis. I can also access or update One Note from any device and even while travelling.
The key elements of my register are:
- SKU reference number *
- Title of the artwork
- Date of completion
* My SKU format is ASG-00001, where ASG refers to my painting / photography (Alan Skyrme Gallery) and the number run from 1 to (theoretically!) 99,999.
In addition I also record a series of details that buyers may like to have:
Finally I keep information that I like to track
- Sale price
- Reference number of the photograph of the artwork
- Support pictures
- If prints are available (I have a few paintings that are for sale as prints, or only as prints)
- Sales channel ie Etsy, Saatchi or direct / commisioned
- Social media posting
- Status (sold, reserved etc)
Regarding One Note
I am not sponsored by anyone, but just love this software. I used it years ago when I ran a consulting unit with small teams around the world dealing with operations in dozens of countries. it was possible to have several team members work on a report concurrently. Ideal.
Since then I have used it for my own personal projects, maintaining a diary, keeping notes, tracking my paintings and other items for sale, household inventory, planning trips etc
I have run courses on using One Note so if anyone has a question about the software I should be able to answer it.