Why open a physical place for art instead of an online business? - American Bandito Season 2 Ep 4
The. People in these episodes were nice enough to speak with me and I wanted to return that favor so I'm going to announce some of the events they have coming up here in Madison first, one is the Valentine's market, and pub crawl it's, on Saturday February 10th, from, noon to 5:00 p.m. the, event says, that you can shop over 40 vendors with a drink in your hand that's, happening at the Beau's meatery at 849. East Washington Avenue and on. March 2nd, and March 3rd booth 121, will be participating, in, the vintage shop, hop they're expecting, to showcase, over 400. Plus vintage, shops and boutiques in, Northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, you can go to vintage, shop hop blogspot.com. To, learn more if there's an event that you would like mentioned, on the next show you can message me on facebook and american bandido or, send an email to tom at american Bandito comm now, here's the show. I'm. Tom Rey and this is American band Edo. Each. Week this season I'm talking, to ten medicine businesses, now these businesses, include the Yellow Rose gallery the stone fence anthology. One 1000, booth 121, hatch, art house confection. Ich mother, fools coffeehouse bohemian. Bauble and pieces. Unimaginative. And. How they took their own creative, ventures and turned, that into what they do today. We. Learned last time about the terrifying chance they all took when, they decided to say you know what I'm just gonna open my own place but, why a place I make websites every, day and I know for me it's, easy to just create a store online in no time I can even promote it and sell things without ever leaving my house in most cases there's even little to no overhead, if you're an artist so, the question I wanted to ask everybody this week is what. Made you decide to open a physical place rather, than an online business. So. As an artist or creator if, I ask you this question what, would your answer be maybe, you think that you're not computer, savvy well, you're not alone in that MIA from stone fence feels the same way I am not computer, savvy that's one thing and this is I feel like I have more control over this versus, an online somebody. Comes in off the street they make a purchase you, have this great warm, fuzzy experience, online. It's like oh my god I'm gonna get that to the post office I gotta do this I got it I mean that's kind of a type. Of pain do you think there's a difference between being, able to walk up and see it as, opposed to absolutely. Okay yeah I mean, I think we've all bought things online you get it at home and you're like oh that's. Not that's. Not what I thought it was gonna be like the order by mail type of stuff yeah yeah, sea-monkeys for instance yes in particularly, if it's anything locally made you want to pick it up and see it and feel it how did you find the money to do it I took, out a loan was.
It That's it I had. I had decent credit and I took out alone Wow. Okay. It. Seems so simple yes how. Long did it take you to get, it into shape for yourself I mean I know you have your husband helps you a lot of it he did do a ton of it I would, freak out while he was here getting things done so. I. Didn't, take it took us about maybe, two weeks man. Did, you just ask for a loan it took you weeks how. Do you make the most of using this neighborhood I mean it's a great neighborhood to be in this is this is my neighborhood I mean I grew up on the east side so it just felt like home here and, the people that come in you know they're the, parents of your kid. Goes to school within their teachers, and I mean they're people that you see every day it's very community oriented. When. My wife and I were talking to Laura from Anthology she talks about a disconnect, from looking at a picture to, seeing things up close. Coincidentally. You'll hear somebody, going through the buttons on the table we were sitting at during this question so, that kind of proves her point I would say. Also. Getting people to really, look at things and, say. Oh somebody, made that yeah or to think about oh maybe I can make something you, know and so to me it's like the. Essence of it requires. A, brick, and mortar I get that. It's. Hard but there's no place I would rather be I think, of it as like an intertidal zone so you have fresh, water and salt water and, you have beach and land, meeting, each other and you have people from everywhere. In the world and, they're all coming and they're mixing here and you, know there's a lot of times people come to Madison and this is the only piece. Of Madison, that they see you, know there's like there's a lot of hustle involved. In being in this location but. My, old boss used to always say it, pays for itself yeah you know it's not, cheap but, if, I was somewhere else you'd. Have to pay more in advertising I, think especially for our store I really, wanted to encourage, people to think. About. What, they can do creatively, and just, kind of invite. People to think about, making. Something you. Know doing something with their hands and I, think there's so many people, for, who that is, so, far away their life is so cut off from that that. They may walk in here and they're like oh I'm, not a creative person and they're like immediately, shutting, themselves down and. I. Mean, I work to try to like just, tempt them a little bit like it's really gentle, but you know like just try it but. All of those people would, never make the effort to get in their car and drive to this store because they would have already dismissed us mm-hmm, you know they would say that's not for me and so instead we just basically like lie on the sidewalk, here, on State Street and. They triple, for us and. In the store. What, made you decide to open up not. Even just more than a few stories down from your previous vassal, to me my vision was so, much about the creative element which, had been so missing. From there that. It didn't seem to me that, it. Was going to be a problem and, I think ultimately my, boss my old boss agreed and so we basically like, called. All of our friends, you know there, are some dressers that came from their attics. And the garages and. Just scrounge, together at the furniture and, we started out initially a lot of consignment, artists, and then our own things, there, was quite a lot of, just.
Getting. Products, from artists. And making it ourselves what do you mean your own things what what type of things that we have, prints. And onesies, we, make the buttons here there is probably, like, 30% of what's in the store is designed, or made by my, sister area, for myself really so. It was always about. Inspiring. Customers. To be creative, but, also providing, a venue for our, own creative, work and, then although, you can't really tell it this table, here is where. We have craft parties, and different craft projects, and so it was also about creating a space for people to come and, either, be creative, here or to take things home and be creative how often do you do that not as often as we fought and. Then we ended up the buttons, that political, buttons kind of just, exploded. On us so they become. Sarah. From 1/1000, does do online sales as well as opening, a studio that people could use she, told me about how she struggled, with the idea to open a space and how she learned something, from her involvement with pop-ups, that motivated, her way of thinking she also tells me about how she used an interesting social funding, company called, Kiva, well we do sell online as well but that's been like a big thing that I've wrestled with because, there's, so much you can there's, so many different ways I could take this business and a lot of it could just be pop-ups in an, online, but. What I've found is, like the heart of this whole business model is really the membership, base and the, and. People. There's, something to having a brick-and-mortar that, people can drop into that really solidifies, that community, a lot, of our members might be all over the Midwest having, like this home base where we can it, just makes it more real I think for some people and. More official and then like the energy, that happens when people are working in here in a regular basis, but I still think, that it's not one without the other anymore, this business is actually going to thrive financially speaking. More. So from our online activities, than it will from anything that's happening in the space. We. Sell. Creative, supplies online and right now I'm in the midst of really. Ramping, those up so, this. Is kind of a fun thing that actually happened is when we were starting with our pop-up events, one of the programs, that we started. With was our creative, workshops and so, creative, workshops, to me are a fantastic. Way for our, professional, makers to share their skills build. A community around what they're doing build an awareness about the beauty of handcrafted, the empowerment, of handcrafted, and also helping, people understand, why things cost how, they're made and why things cost what they cost so.
We Did those creative workshops and as we were developing them, we needed to source creative, tools. And supplies and, one. Of the classes, is beginner, tapestry, weaving so, we needed to find looms and tools and the source that I had is from a maker in New Mexico, I was commenting one, day on how, it would be nice if these tools are a little bit different, and one of our members is a product, engineer, and, he's like well how do you think they could be different like, well they just don't hold the yarn very, well and then our instructor, Melissa was, giving her feedback and how she'd want them different, and so, we developed our own tools, and now John from, human crafts it makes all these proprietary, tools, for us that now we sell, online right, now I'm working on scaling, those we're working on really making that a strong revenue stream and bringing those on Amazon, that's what I mean like I think, that that, helps us reach a broader community less. Service based revenue. Stream whereas everything else takes so much manpower, and he and, this allows us to like bring revenue online to and he he devotes those himself for I'm sorry produces, I mean Salim it's a really by hand we might get them what. Does they call that like I don't know all the engineering I don't just beautiful, because I don't need to he does right but there's like injection, molding might, be something that will do in the future if we get in higher quantities. But how do you know. The supply and demand and although, most. So our, membership, base. Eighty. Percent our product. Makers so, that's a common issue for, a lot of them it's be like getting. To the point where how. Do you actually like, run a business and make the product is part of it and then, when, you get to a point where you actually want to make. A really sustainable, income how. You scale and what, does that mean like how much can you actually produce or do other people need to start producing it for you and then, how does that supply chain where it's the whole whole, different. Growth pattern yes. So. Kevin zip if you've, not heard of it as fantastic. And highly recommend, it it was a very good experience so I secured, $10,000. Through Kiva zip and. Kiva, zip is a crowd. Lending, platform, your, credibility, comes through your social capital, so, if you have a strong Instagram. Account strong, Facebook, account that gives you some. Leverage with them and. You. Actually have to have a business plan but the business plan can be all, different types, like you needing a piece of equipment or you didn't want to start a whole business, from scratch but. Basically you showed them that and with, a simple application you, get approved and then they tell you that you need to, get 20, or 30 people from your own network to, be your first lenders, and they, have to lend $25. Once, you get that they're like okay people, believe in you we're gonna believe in you and open it up to our community, and they, open it up to their community, worldwide to, crowd, lend the rest of it and it's zero percent interest which is amazing that is amazing so Kiva, zip I think, for like any entrepreneur, or a creative person or small business person it's really good to look into okay, than the rest of it I got through Wisconsin.
Women's Business. Investment, corporation. They support, women and minority-owned. Businesses, they. Helped me secure part. Of that money came through a city grant or a City loan I should say at 5% and then they give, you the rest and you also get a consultant. With that well, so I think there are another really great resource because they really want you to succeed whereas, a lot of lenders where she's like here's. The money you better figure it out. It's. Funny you hear so many companies, explain that's how they got started there, was something they were doing and the tools they needed just weren't right so, they made their own and her, networking, from pop-ups helped find those people and of course we can't mention pop-ups, without talking to Tammy from Bohemian bauble this question was a strange one to ask her because she, started, with a brick and mortar store and then closed it but she still doesn't really sell online which of course fascinates, me I don't. Do online right. Now and, the biggest reason I don't is because most. Of my items are one-of-a-kind and that's the way I like to work the. Idea of having to crank out, 20. Pair of the same earring, kind, of makes my skin crawl okay well, but, I'm gonna have to start doing that because I do need to get online and, and doing the one a kind thing online is gonna be way, too time-consuming and. There's, gonna be too many issues with that so I'm gonna have to change the way I work what would you decide to do pop-ups I think, the very first one I did was on the tip top patio, in case you came to one of those shows I was, there for lunch one day and I went oh my god this would be a great space to have a little show that was it that was it have you've heard of pop-ups before no they were just kind of starting to happen I would say they were just starting to come pop-up was just starting to become a thing when, I started, with the with the tip top shell did you do any research or, did you go I'm just gonna show up here one day you guys cool with that yeah I just went in it was like hey what. Do you think about having some artists set up on your patio like on a Sunday, for six. Hours or whatever we'll bring a bunch of people your, bar bill will go up that day your food bill will go up and we'll sell our stuff yeah and they were like absolutely, let's do it no cut no nothing no but, not everybody, does that they're generous. That way some places, some establishments, do take a cut okay, which is understandable, I mean you've never seen their space and all that good stuff grace how did you find the other people to actually know so many people like most of my friends are artists, so good when I had my shop my world, of friends opened, up so huge because. I met so many amazing people that. Started, out as maybe, just a customer, became, a friend or started, out as an artist in my shop became a friend and from. Doing so many shows I do all the street festivals, in town Willie Street Fair Atwood fest la fête I just, meet I'm super, friendly and I'm chatty and I like to meet the other artists so I I know a ton of people to do shows it's, easy to gather them up what, type of stuff do you need to create, a pop up you're not getting a building you're setting up in different places you have a standard, set up like how do you plan for this so the biggest thing is you need a space you. Got to go up somewhere and say hey can we come in here yeah and then you gather your people and most, everybody has a certain set, up that they do when they do a show maybe, it's just one six-foot table or two six-foot tables or whatever, it is everybody's. Usually already got their thing so you just let somebody know this, is how much space you can have at this show and then they work within that space so you don't do like a cart thing or anything no okay, which makes sense because you're saying you don't know where you're gonna be put right. When. You look for the nation's what do you look for so, you you, were, at the tip top and you, did as you've described, me that was kind of like hey what, do we did this here so how do you do that to other places you just show up at places and go yes these people yeah really. That's what I do please walk up so rockhound, brewery just opened on Park Street like two years ago so that's in my neighborhood I I have these two, other artist friends that we do lunch once a month and I was like let's go do it at rockhound, so we can scout it out and we get there and then I'm like who's the owner, Nate, ain't come here I got I got a Picchi an idea and I pitch him the idea now he hasn't done one yet he's thinking, about it okay but every time I go in I'm like hey Nate he's, like I know I it's still in my mind most places are pretty open to the idea how, do you build up the supply and demand for what you're making once you do that your, supplies, have been diminished so I mean how often do you have to take, breaks to make more stuff and then do another one most of the artists that I know have.
A Day job still so they started just like I did so, they work, their. Day job during the week they. Craft, at night and. Then they do shows on the weekend for me I work. During the week making, my things and then do, the shows on the weekends, do you need anything from the places aside from not really a space, like I'm in a lot of places like I'll say, I'll move all the tables so you don't have to do any of that you know I'll, make the space you just have. Good service for people that want to come and drink and eat I like, to do them at bars because, who doesn't like to go to a bar and have a cocktail or a bite to eat when they shop or meet a friend or whatever so, I tend, to look, at, bars. And restaurants, for Pappas. I've. Gone, to a couple of the pop ups that Tammy has been involved in and it's quite a community of people working together for the same goal I'd. Never really experienced, this kind of for lack of a better way of putting it storefront, concept, before. You. Heard me mention how Anastasia, lets people do pop-ups in her parking lot when she has an event but. What made her decide to have a physical building especially since she was only going to be open a few times a year you put so much work, into being in a craft show hauling. Goods setting, up and waiting, and waiting and, waiting for people to come to your table look, at your goods perhaps, buy something, to at least meet the obligation, that you initially had to pay to be there it's a lot of hard work and it's going from show to show to show often times I want. To nest more. And. You know people come into my shop and they'll say no wait you. Closed, for all that time your, stuff stays here, yep I nest I can't, help it I guess and then. I I've had on I have at three Etsy shops that I've actually put on hold I don't, care for working, with Etsy it's a lot of work I've heard that a lot yeah they just don't make it easy I get it because I'm a web developer so for me that all makes sense and I'm like that's not that hard but I get it for people that don't spend every, single day in front of a computer building, websites and messing with computer, interfaces, that. Walking, in and seeing this is different than seeing a picture of it or once somebody comes in and says I sort. Of have this really good idea but. I'm just not sure how to make it come alive and, so we consider and talk about it and we could try these things and what do you have at home that we could put with it you just can't, have those conversations about. Creativity. My. Partner at the time and I were, able to get this space, at a very good price, to start and it, was sitting vacant, for a while and I wondered sometimes if that's not a good way for other shopkeepers. To kind of look for, opportunities, go look perhaps for a space that's been sitting vacant, for a while a person who owns it would love to have somebody in there doing something with it is everything so. It, started, out with that and truly, cobbled, I mean. I was bringing stuff from home to. Use, this displays, and, I was going to garage, sales and secondhand, stores to see what I could fix up and bring in his displays, one, of the nicest compliments I got is a woman who came back she came, like the first year we were open and she never came back until, the October market.
She, Said this is a. Complete, transformation from, where you began and I'm. Like thank. You as, that's taken forever yeah, yeah, but honestly I encourage people go check out Habitat, ReStore go. Go. Check out garage, sales or Craigslist, and see what, you can do to to. Work with. Products, that are already out there and you can dress them up and put them in your shop and use them for a while until you can bank, a little bit of money to, do something else more expansive, in your shop I've just never. Been about giving loans or, we. Just sort, of make it work the other thing is if something's. Not going try. Something, different if that thing that you've got out right now no. One seems to be interested, in pack it away for a while and then maybe a year to bring it back out again and see if people like it better, at that time or abandon. The idea altogether I mean listen to your customers, and what they like and what they expect if I don't have a successful, market it's always a an, opportunity, to look at what, did I change what, did I do that people didn't, want, me, doing always, have a mission statement and goals to, go back to and, build some that's always. Kyle. Of pieces unimaginative. The. Kind things but, there's an obvious reason he tells me that he doesn't sell online. Yeah shipping. Has got to be a pain I mean you have a website but you don't have an online storefront, no, we really don't I mean you can buy stuff off of it but that's not our Rus, it's really you got to see it you can't tell, that it weighs 450, pounds, there's a lot of people, recreating. Industrial. Modern furniture and it, doesn't, wait anything, and it's made of a brittle cast iron, on, and on and on and all. Of our stuff is like top-notch I, just challenged people to push our tables, like just try to make. The table wiggle. Yeah and you can't pencil you're not gonna get that online. We. Participate, a person gallery night and then we make it a big to-do and then we've got like three other events, so, when I came on the street I saw that, there was a growing, number, of retailers. So I started. A Merchants. Association and. So even that's called we are Willie we coordinate, our efforts. Right. Now to do events and they. Are evening, events, and like they do free, wine and beer pourings, free, analogue music, or live music, hors d'oeuvres, and it's, basically just say have, fun a lot of people say they just love to just sit here that's, the night you can do that Oh what made you decide to start, that organization, I was thinking, I would have more time and, I wanted, to develop it and be like stain streets so that's what the goal is okay, and we just need other people to step up to the plate and be able to do the. Things it takes to get there but we do get this events, are incredibly. Successful yeah well they're like 750. To 1200 people to come in between 5:00 and 9:00 but, we want a map but we want a better web presence, we have a web page but it's you know that it's not great so, we have goals but it, is just to tell people this is a good shopping corridor. And it's a hip, shopping. Previously. Lia from booth 121, talked about how she used to show her stuff right out of her storage space her business partner Rebecca, tells, me about how she found, the space that they would eventually open. The story I was driving down Monona, Drive and I noticed too big for lease sign right there and I just flipped aue and I was looking, in the windows, and I called, the number we, had checked out a couple of different spots we knew we wanted to be on the east side we looked at a place on Atwood, it was too much too, much we couldn't spend.
That. Much we didn't want to take that big relief then we looked at another place on Atwood which we were thinking of but we really wanted to have my workshop on site so. When, we found this place I love monona I love this area. Great. Outlet from the west side monona. Means another place at a place like this, and I, have my workshop right on site so it's perfect, I can be here, be. Here working when, it was slow. And then I saw Sarah come in as. And. Tammy. From the hatch art house never thought twice about having a store instead of selling online never. Question, there. Is just you really, need to see, the. Work and experience. It in person, I mean, nothing against online stores that's not what. I I don't think I would be very, good at it honestly I do. Enjoy being in the shop and working, with customers and especially, people trying. To decide what, kind of art they want to have on their walls for the very first time do they come up to you and say I'm looking for something like this yes. I'm. Looking for a soap dish so. We're. Gonna wait till after this but we have also have a purpose to be yeah we have some debris Patterson, herself. I want. It to be on, Willy Street it reminded me a lot of of. Portland. And some, of my favorite neighborhoods they are very, eclectic. Just. Emerging, itself of course this was seven years ago there was a lot that was. Changing, at that time this, building that were in right now was. Built seven years or was finished seven years ago so I was the very first it. Was a perking love wasn't it it was a parking lot I forgot, before. That it was a gas station there's apartments upstairs and, then, we have three shops here yeah, and that was the first one so I looked at it when I was empty and I had to do the build-out and everything, these were all new experiences, for me I waited tables and, I wasn't artists I was selling. My work on my own and doing that kind of thing and I had experience. In working in art galleries and things as, well so when, this came, on the market I, came. Here the landlord was awesome he was he, really wanted to help. Out somebody, like. Me that was just starting. Out a small shop. You did, not want to have anybody that was like, a franchisee. Of some sort. So. I always wanted to be called art house instead, of art gallery because I thought was more inviting this is this is a house that's filled with art and hatch. Because, of, the hatching, artists, and, emerging. And hatch, is also a form of drawing hash marks. So. It was it's just it means it has a lot of different meanings they, all in one way or another pertain, to art, I feel like I mean my last name is not hatch I. Just. Wanted you to know that we did end up buying a ceramic soap dish while we were there it was a lot easier to make a decision while we were looking at it, mother. Fools as a coffee house so, you go there to get coffee not really a way around that so, I asked, John how he dealt with that location and how the coffee house culture has changed over the years I think the thing that for me has been hardest to deal with though as far as change in culture, his laptops. When. They first came in I sincerely. Thought it was gonna put us out of business because one of the things that we loved, about our, space, is. We. Were really different than those downtown coffee, houses we had big tables, you could sprawl, out you could really bring, in a group of friends and play a board game or have, fun together and the, first wave, of laptops. We're. Really big they're like these coal-fired. Steam engine. Things you know they're massive, it's like being on your grater around yeah I set up and they right this, is my table so all the sudden you'd have a three, or four people in here and there's. No other effective, seating, so it's just really weird and people we, tried things with little table, tennis and please share your table and people got really angry about that huh it was really hard to transition. And. It's also it was really emotionally, difficult for, for. Myself but also our, long-term baristas. When phones, came in and all of a sudden people weren't. Talking. To you anymore I feel like that's swung back again. It's more human, but for a while it's, like if you had a phone or a computer it seems like now we've got better etiquette, again, but we.
I Totally, thought we're gonna go to a business when laptops came and it was really hard so we had to one by one get. Rid of our big tables you know put in smaller tables, and we put inside counters, where people can sit that, makes perfect sense when you say it but now coffee shops are so. Connected. To those particular, devices like, it's important, to have Wi-Fi at a coffee you know I you know do you guys get a deal for a Wi-Fi it's the, same as everybody else you have a business account okay yeah so it's different than a residential account but well. Yes and, that just popped into my head because it's like free Wi-Fi at a coffee shop is, pretty much a given good, like you expect, it mm-hmm and so but it costs the coffee shop money it, doesn't really cost us more than what we would pay, to. Have our own service, yeah we. Use the Internet in our office and Twitter. We put up our soup every day on Twitter and things kind of yes we use, internet so we would still have that basic service. And. Of. Course it's also pretty self-explanatory, why. The Yellow Rose gallery, is a physical, space it's, a gallery then you go to a gallery to see people's works but I did ask Micah how they got their location, the original owner of the gallery had a working relationship with. The owner of the building that, goes back a while I guess again, knowing people it's since raised about knowing people so we have a really good deal here, in that allows us to have to make use of this the, sixth floor and part. Of the second floor which is the main area of the gallery he owns a lot of stuff in Madison yeah his name is Harold, forgot. His last name that's. A weird lesson club, really it's. Just known that feral imp. During. These conversations, I was kind of being swayed to the benefit, of opening. A physical store I get, that when you see pictures of things online it doesn't overwhelm you in the same way it does when actually, seeing it but, I still have to argue with the reach that one can have if you sell things online you, can't beat that either I. Want. To thank you for listening to the show today and if. You haven't already you can subscribe to this show at American. Bandido comm slash subscribe it's, also available on, Apple, podcasts, and Google Play the. Music. For this episode, is by rom-com, let's, come with two M's you, can hear more at American. Vendido calm, slash music, I'll. Be asking another question next, week so until then so, long.