Art on Silk

We recently interviewed two painters who sell their work in a different format: silk scarves as fashion accessories. They share their stories and strategies on building their small businesses.

 

Reka Lena Scarves

 

Artist Elena Avanesova approaches her business like a seasoned entrepreneur. She explains her inspiration, presentation and marketing, saying,  “When I first created a design inspired by my floral oil painting and printed it on silk, I found that when I wrapped the scarf around me, my art took a three-dimensional character that I would not see in a print on paper. Transforming a piece of fine art into a wearable art means my paintings get a second life and a renewed purpose.”

She makes scarves from three different types of silk, and describes them as, “Lightweight silk ponchos and shawls, that are perfect for summer and sunny vacation. Long and narrow scarves are made of Silk Habotai, which has a medium weight. There is a new collection of small square scarves and pocket squares that are made with the same silk. The big square scarves are made of heavy satin silk with a shiny finish.”

All Reka Lena scarves come in original gift boxes that she designs as well. She states, “I believe high quality silk and a fine presentation is an important part of my product.”

When asked how she sells her work, Elena responds, “Facebook works really well for marketing my products, and I also show my scarves along with my paintings at art and craft shows, and sponsor events like Girls Night Out at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Currently, I am working on establishing the Reka Lena presence more online, through Google shopping, Etsy, and my own online shop. I also have my products at some local boutiques and gift shops.”

 

Alexa Sofia collage

 

Artist Alexa Koutsomitis creates bold and colorful designs that translate beautifully into silk scarves. She recalls, “After my senior painting thesis at Pratt Institute, I realized that the body of work I produced based around patterns could become wearable art. That is when I had a realization that not all paintings should be two-dimensional surfaces.”

She goes on to explain, “At Alexa Sofia, we create wearable art accessories so that people can take artwork with them. Each scarf has a pattern element to it; either with just a patterned background or a patterned background and a realistically rendered object in the front. That’s how Alexa Sofia Inc. started and how we began producing artistic fashion accessories.”

At the moment, her company sells 100% scarves ranging from 36″x 36″ to 42″x 42″, and are planning to sell other accessories, including pillows, clutches and phone cases. Each accessory design is based on a different original artwork.

How did her small business get traction? Alexa explains, “We have benefited from word of mouth marketing and being featured on reality television in the UK. It is pretty incredible to see that chain reaction occur when someone sees your product on television. We love the power of selling online and being included in marketplaces, such as Of a Kind and The Grommett. Our marketing strategy starts with making limited edition scarves because we know that it’s more special to make fewer items and it increases the allure.”

 

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