Florida Craftsmen of St. Petersburg, FL is opening their doors to many gift shoppers these days, and has found ways to boost sales while giving artists more opportunities than ever.
Gallery Director Maggie Duffy Alexis spoke with The Arts Business Institute about preparations for the 2013 Holiday Boutique. The main gallery includes a gift shop area and another room for exhibitions. For the remainder of the holiday season, the exhibition room becomes a second gift gallery – including work from new artists who have not previously been vendors. This gives those artists an opportunity to sell their work and become candidates for year-round inclusion in the gallery.
Unusual art and craft work is also included, since shoppers have many different tastes and are looking for unique gifts for the holiday season. The extensive selection offers something for everyone.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, the “CraftArt” festival with over 100 exhibitors takes place on the streets outside the gallery, adding a lot of excitement and drawing crowds who will be buying at the festival and also wander into the gallery for more.
“This weekend produces the best sales of the whole year,” says Alexis.
Since promotion is essential for a successful holiday boutique, and Florida Craftsmen has printed flyers and invitations, sent through direct mail. They have worked with the local press on interviews to publicize the holiday boutique and festival to the public. Print ads and social media promotion are other important marketing activities, as are email blasts to the gallery’s list of customers and fans.
What sells best? “Ornaments are always big sellers, of course,” says Alexis, “We sell tons of jewelry, too and wood items have been very popular. We have recently added quite a few artists who work in wood, and furniture has sold well.”
Florida Craftsmen is collaborating with other local businesses to offer “Flavors of St. Pete” as a special gift set. A handmade ceramic mug is combined with Kahwa coffee and a chocolate dipped spoon for a special holiday gift treat.