Hand made & carefully chosen merchandise
From crochet sweaters to woven scarves beaded bracelets to sparkly earrings, hand-crafted pottery to skillfully built furniture, blown glass, fused glass to stained glass window art...Sonoma County has a wealth of artists and crafters of exceptional talent.
In previous years we could attend holiday craft fairs, and there are a few even this year under pandemic restrictions (see page 12 & the Gazette’s Holiday Calendar). Farmers markets often feature crafts people, but we have now entered the season of only year-round markets so there are less crafters to visit. Now that the rains have begun, we move indoors to stores that specialize in items that are truly one-of-a-kind.
Art galleries have expanded their offerings in this last decade to include greeting cards, prints, small items that make excellent gifts, and a wider variety of art objects that offer more items people can afford for themselves and gifts for others. It’s part of how they have been able to survive the ups and downs of our economy.
Co-op art galleries have many members that provide a wide selection of art genres as well as the ability to share expenses. For the holidays they often ask their artists to stock them with gift items and even have special Holiday Gift events to lure people who might not enter an art gallery with reasons to walk through the door to see what’s inside. Please do. Don’t be afraid that you can’t afford what’s available. Because these stores and galleries feature creative works, you know that what you purchase can’t be found anywhere else.
Each of our towns and cities has a wealth of artists and musicians of all genres who create because they have to. And each has galleries, co-ops, and stores where we can find the items these people create. They have all learned to serve tourists as well as residents so they know how to merchandise in order to provide items we will covet for ourselves or purchase for gifts.
Many galleries have the most impressive selection of gicleé prints and greeting cards of their painters’ work so you can get excited about an artist and be able to take their images home with you without the immense pondering of how you could possibly afford this work of art that you MUST HAVE!
Greeting cards are also wonderful gifts just by themselves, or mounted in frames. Get creative with how you can offer these exceptional gifts to people you love on your COVID tight budget!
People are getting creative with more than their artwork. They are finding ways to survive the ups and downs of a roller coaster economy with creative merchandising! This year has been more challenging than most.
As Gina Keough of Galleria in Occidental stated...“We realized that when the restaurants close people have less reasons to visit our towns and therefore our stores. We need our restaurants open in order to survive. We hadn’t realized how dependent we are on the other businesses in town!”
This is a consciousness-raising experience and that’s the good news that comes from the bad news. We all NEED each other!
This is what it takes to create a business that serves our community. Offer more to choose from. Offer a broad-spectrum of items but be clever about your offerings.
A unique shop becomes a destination, not just a place to buy stuff.