In this episode I talk with Leisa Collins, who started her art business by targeting people whose homes she wanted to paint. After a few failed attempts at marketing her work, her career as a house portraitist took off. To date she has painted more than 2,500 house portraits and has a waiting list for commissions. She no longer has to send direct mail, which you’ll hear about, but maintains that the personal relationships with clients are paramount.
Leisa shares her quest across the country to paint a house in all 50 states, that following up with prospects results in 85% more sales for her, and how she has partnered with realtors to provide closing gifts for their clients.
“I exchanged my art for everything.” Leisa’s adventurous art journey. (2:17)
Combining a love of art with architecture and advertising it in effective ways. (4:36)
The details of direct mailings that lead to collectors. (9:45)
Hand selecting the demographic you want to work with. (13:05)
The business process and price range of Leisa’s non-traditional approach to commissioned art. (16:10)
Selecting, photographing and painting houses in all 50 states. (22:26)
Creating 250 pieces a year means Leisa gets two or three new clients a week—and has to keep careful track of them all. (30:50)
Selecting images, marketing and selling a book. (36:50)
The importance of following up with prospective clientes—without being too pushy. (39:31)
The details of Leisa’s spreadsheets help her maintain a personal relationship with her clients. (45:10)
Creating relationships with clients through realtor closing gifts and phone calls. (48:51)
A look at what is coming up next in Leisa’s very busy holiday schedule. (53:25)
“I could choose my demographic very carefully by looking at the house.” — Leisa Collins
“I now get tons of commissions every week because they told their neighbor… by now it's just word of mouth.” — Leisa Collins
“I get quite a few commissions coming in every single week. I get two or three new clients a week.” — Leisa Collins
“If you love what you’re doing, it’s not so much like work.” — Leisa Collins
Leisa Collins, a native of New Zealand, has carved a niche for herself as an acclaimed architectural artist.Eventually settling in the United States, Leisa became interested in the people and cultures that defined architecture throughout the country’s history. She was inspired to drive from coast to coast, creating original paintings of homes in every state. She selected 650 of these works of art—as well as the fascinating stories behind many of them—to share with readers in her new book, Hand-Painted Homes: An Architectural Artist’s Pen and Watercolor Journey Across America (May 2021). This coffee table book explores architectural styles in all fifty states, plus the nation’s capital.
In 2013, Leisa established the Leisa Collins Historic Preservation Award to pay tribute to exceptional individuals committed to saving and restoring old buildings across the country. Her work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Huffington Post and Los Angeles Times.