As physical distancing orders spread across the country over the past month, so did the demand for art supplies to those hunkering down. These supplies are either for creative consumers themselves or to occupy and educate their children.
The impact of Sheltering in Place and Stay at Home orders hit art supply retailers, both big and small, very quickly and led to some very creative responses to keep creatives creating.
The Art Dog team is tracking and sharing these innovative actions to keep the industry inspired through these uncertain times.
Curbside pickup, BOPIS, taking orders via Facetime, email or phone are among the new ways of doing business in this crisis.
Retailers quickly started engaging customers via Instagram, Facebook and Email lists. Several retailers including Collage in Portland and Meiningers in Colorado setup or boosted online shops in record time.
CC Lowell, Art Coop and Color Theory
Napa Valley Art Supplies are among the stores we’ve seen offering customized and premade kits for specific projects, entertaining children and celebrating Easter.
Streaming demos and virtual events are ways that several are using to engage customers and stay involved in the community. Among these include Paper Source’s demos on IGTV and Palace Arts involvement in a Virtual First Friday Event in Santa Cruz. Alabama Art Supplies introduced a “Make Home Schooling Cool” supply list for call in order for curbside pickup, local delivery or shipping. They also are offering a discount on a monthly membership program. Kittle’s Fine Art & Supply Co. have done a great job engaging their community through their Facebook page. They have launched a weekly Family Art Contest, partnering with a local insurance agent as a sponsor.
Not all the new ideas are high tech or complicated. The ARTSpot in Edmonds, WA are inviting folks in the local community to post messages of hope, creativity and community on the front of their store, and then they post daily updates to their Instagram page.
Polly Wong, Managing Partner, Strategic/Ecommerce/Creative Services at direct marketing firm Belardi Wong advises “Above all, know that now is not the time to cut back arbitrarily. Never walk away from communicating with your best customers and best prospects. The brands that act nimbly and decisively today can uncover unique opportunities to maintain those critical relationships in a time of rapid change and upheaval.”
Through all of the ups and downs of the last month, it is clear that art supplies are on the top of the lists of many consumers, and local art supply stores are stepping up for their communities.