Riley Street Art Supply has locations in San Rafael and Santa Rosa, CA; this month they celebrated 50 years of being in business, with the San Rafael store turning 11 this past June. Both stores celebrated with a two day sale where everything was at least 30% off, and the San Rafael store partnered with vendors to set up outdoor booths with various Make-and-Take activities and demonstrations.
Vendor partners included Daniel Smith, Golden, Strathmore, Jacquard, Savoir-Faire, Liquitex and Marabu. The event was a great opportunity to engage with repeat customers as well as passersby who had never even been in the store.
Outdoor Booths + Downtown Foot Traffic = Sales Opportunities
The interactive outdoor booths were more than an anniversary celebration; strategically timed with weekend window shoppers and tourist foot traffic, the booths drew first-timers in and the hands-on activities generated sales opportunities. Strathmore did a “Splash” greeting card Make-n-Take with FW inks and Art Alternatives artist tape on their mixed media greeting cards. Jacquard presented Piñata alcohol inks on YUPO paper so that passersby could design their own bookmarks. Daniel Smith attracted watercolor enthusiasts with their watercolor dot cards, while Faber Castell had artist Don Colley running a demo on urban sketching with Pitt Artist Pens. Pentel brought the Brush pens, Sign Pens with brush tips as well as their water brushes to demo lettering and urban sketching techniques. Savoir-Faire had Andrew Cook demoing Abstract Acrylics. MacPherson’s Account Manager Catherine Thoele worked two booths over the course of the two day event; Derwent, where she demoed Coloursoft and Metallic pencils on Art Alternatives wood panels, and POSCA, where she showed participants how to create a customized surfboard necklace.
Spur of The Moment: Drawn In & Inspired
MacPherson’s Account Manager Catherine Thoele highlights why these kinds of events are so crucial to growing business and engaging with customers. She was running the POSCA table when a girl and her mother stopped by and chose to do the demo, creating a mini surfboard necklace. They were intrigued by the markers and, thumbing through the brochure, began brainstorming what they could customize at home. The images in the sales literature allowed them to imagine new possibilities. “Your bedroom door! A baseball cap! Woah!” A lightbulb went off. “We should do my friend’s skate deck!”
Later that day they returned with the girl’s two friends; the three of them got to work and 45 minutes later, their friend’s skateboard was transformed into a beautiful work of art. Afterwards they visited the store with their parents and bought over $100 worth of markers.
There are so many ways to use art materials, Catherine explains. “Events like this help address all the kinds of customers. People were watching the kids create, amazed. I like to see people get it; they start thinking bigger than a paint marker on a flat surface.”
Demo: Surfboard Necklace
We’ve outlined everything you need to recreate Catherine’s POSCA demo.
- Mini 4” wooden surfboards
- Hemptique hemp cords, which work well for necklaces and other jewelry crafts
- Assorted POSCA markers
- Workable Fixative
- Montana GOLD spray color – blues, greens or purples look great
- Crafters Workshop stencils
- Drill a 1/8″ hole in the top of the surfboards before event.
- Pre-spray one side with Montana GOLD over a Crafters Workshop stencil so that participants focus on one side—this makes the craft more doable and limits time to keep traffic moving.
Step by Step
- Set out a sample surface so that people can test out different colors and nibs; demonstrate how to blend on a non-porous surface, like Yupo.
- Invite participants to customize their own surfboard on the blank/sprayed side
- Once they are finished, cut Hemptique hemp cord to desired length, thread through hole and double knot it.
- Spray the finished surfboard with workable fixative so the customer could add more media if they wished, she recommended finishing the boards with a clear coat spray.
- Get permission and snap a picture of the artist wearing the finished piece for future promotion and to share on social media!