As you may have read I am in the market for artist inventory management software.
I found Flick! first and jumped in. After hours of getting my inventory setup and ignoring smallish limitations I think I may need to rethink the investment and research other options. Below are the options I found.
- Bento – for MAC users, will not review
- Working Artist
- Artist’s Butler
- ArtWorksPro – very poorly constructed site… makes me nervous about the product
- Masterpiece – seems expensive but really tries to manage everything from inventory, website to sales. Might be interesting!
- Art Gallery Solutions – looks quite clunky but claims to be the best of the best out there
- MyArtCollection – not sure if this will have all the features I need as an artist as it is made for general art collection as well.
I’ve spent a bit of time with several of these programs at this point because none has sweep me off my feet. I’m kind of amazed at the lack of a good solution in this space.
Flick!, eArtist and ArtTracker are created with FileMaker and are a bit clunky and buggy. For instance Flick! has fixed length panels that are larger than my laptop screen, which makes for constant scrolling and missing information. It’s inventory reporting features look awesome as they allow you to select what fields to include in each report and filter inventory. But when using it I found some show-stopping bugs – like the one that returns incomplete reports whenever any filters are used. Who knew a filter action could be so hard?! eTracker took me a bit to wrap my head around as it has a bit of a learning curve – because it links up data nicely for you but also because it is clunky and not so intuitive at times. I spent a bit of time appreciating its features only to find that no images of works are included in reports. This was a deal breaker for me. ArtTracker has rudimentary navigation, whose location jumps around from page to page and forces users to return back to the homepage whenever switching tasks (doubling the number of clicks). When creating reports with this program I also found bugs. The way in which items are included in reports is a bit hard to use and then the reports themselves were generated with all of the title fields blank… not very useful.
Artwork Archive (picture above) gets it right. I like the look of the product, how the site manages your art and it’s history of consignments/sales, links between these items and clients and the reporting they offer. They also have incredible customer support. I’ve been in communication with them several times and am very impressed. However, I am still on the fence about this one. Users are asked to buy an annual subscription and as I spent significant time finding a long term solution to my inventory organization needs I have to ask myself if this online service will be around in a decade and how much they may feel like charging at that time. This is a deal breaker for me.
Working Artist is software created with Microsoft Access. Reading up on it’s creation an artist needed a tool, got Access and started building. While I commend the effort I think I’d like to just learn access and build what I need rather than learn her program.
Artist’s Butler… I cannot being myself to get up to speed on another software program only to be let down.
Plan B – build my own database. Any advice?