It took only one visit for me to see what an awesome-sauce venue art crawls provide for the indie biz community. The first I attended was on the Sunshine Coast of BC, Canada, with my close friend and colleague, Vicki Warner of WarnerWords. If you think you need a fancy building for an art crawl, that’s just not so. This one was exceptionally presented in what the rivers’ land folk refer to as a hot-house. It was a large, Conestoga-style building with a clear cover over it. Nothing fancy and it worked perfectly.
Vendors had beautiful displays set up on simple tables and easily transported racks. Some were made of wood pallets and cattle fencing. Others were lightweight bakers’ racks or just basic tables covered in pretty cloth. The overall look was relaxed, rustic-elegance.
Visitors could wander the aisles made by the space between the vendors’ displays. It was a great setup because it allows for the guests and vendors to develop a rapport with each other, helping to establish both a professional and personal relationship between them. People are more inclined to make purchases from businesses with which we have a positive, personal connection.
Added to the eye-candy wares on display, the air was scented with aromatic baked goods, herbal bunches, sachets, soaps and oils, hot chocolate and (mmmm!) coffee! What’s not to love?
It wasn't only food products that drew a steady crowd. The art crawl has other participants who have paintings, clothing, hand-crafted jewelry, woodwork, photography and other attractions on display and for sale.
The Sunshine Coast is no stranger to the farmers’ and artisans’ market concept. The seaside towns have one every weekend that locals flock to, and make purchases from on a regular basis.
It isn’t uncommon to have vendors selling similar wares and the competition isn’t frowned on. If one vendor has sold out of a product and has clients asking for it, they’ll direct them to one (or more) other vendors who have an available supply. I was impressed with how the Sunshine Coast indie biz community is so well meshed in providing positive support for each other to ensure overall success for independent business owners as a whole.
The Sunshine Coast Art Crawl operates in the same fashion but it moves along the coastal community in a set schedule, first in one area, then another over a period of weeks. The end result is a rich display of high quality wares in a beautiful, yet low-cost venue, providing opportunity for increased sales and shopping.
An art crawl in your area?
The art crawl concept is something I wish all communities could experience, rather than having to wait for the county or state fairs. Art crawls can be set up in simple, inexpensive quarters.
It’s a low-cost way to generate revenue in an area while providing a mobile setting that moves from area to area. This makes for easy access to regular and new customers without costing them a small fortune for the vendors to participate. Whatever costs are incurred in a business is reflected in their sale prices to customers. The better the prices the more sales a business can generate.
Apparently the art crawl concept works because it’s been consistently successful on the Sunshine Coast. My thanks to Vicki for introducing me to it. If you’ve not yet attended one, I encourage you to at your next opportunity.
If your area doesn’t have art crawls, maybe you'll now be inspired to have a get-together with some of your own locally owned businesses and see about getting one started.
They’re well worth the time invested to help your community flourish in opportunities for both indie businesses and customers.
My thanks to the super-friendly indie biz community of Canada’s Sunshine Coast for allowing me to speak with many of you, take pics and include you in today’s edition of flashPress. You inspired me and I hope by spreading the word of what you’re doing will inspire other communities to join you in establishing art crawls in their areas.
A special thanks to Vicki Warner of WarnerWords and Maria Jordan of marcoujor’s musings for featuring an interview on FarmaCopeia: The Little Book on Lavender in last week’s edition of WarnerWords. It’s the first link presented in ShoutOuts below for you.
That’s it for this one!
God bless you, thanks for the read and see you next week!
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marcoujor, Virtual Buskers' Guild
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