Plunging Into Retail – Selling Art Through SDX

Setting up my art in SDX.

Last October I was looking through the Creative Scotland website for work opportunities and I came across the Scottish Design Exchange (SDX). SDX is a not-for-profit shop set up to help artists and designers get into retail – they provide exposure to the masses through a busy shopping centre. I found them at the perfect time, as they were looking to take in a new batch of makers right then.

There’s a real affection for this shop, as it’s completely packed with work from such a variety of creatives, and people know that they’re buying straight from the makers themselves.

Having had limited experience of selling art through galleries and shops, it felt like a big step up to get a hold of my own wall space in the shopping centre. I quickly made a budget for myself and got to work producing plenty of prints, cards and framed paintings.



When I got my hands on the first sales reports I found my prints were very popular, so the first couple months left me feeling very optimistic. One piece of advice from the staff was particularly helpful in the run up to Christmas: make your work available at various price ranges, so if somebody likes it they can buy something whether they’re looking to spend £3 or £200. For me, this means selling work as cards, open edition prints, limited edition prints and framed original paintings. Other creatives sell everything from custom clothing to badges and stickers.

In the months after Christmas, the shop’s been much less busy (which is another lesson to keep in mind in retail) but I’ve found the staff more than make up for this. Most of them sell their own art/designs through the shop and have been generous with their experience. They also occupy a uniquely valuable position in that they’re working from the centre of so many talented creatives. If they can’t help with something, they usually know a local who can.

Working with the SDX team has been fun and rewarding. If you’re checking out the Edinburgh art scene I’d recommend paying the shop a visit. I’m excited to see what else comes from our partnership in 2018.

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