We have closed our Semiahmoo store after 7 1/2 years in that location. Although we developed a clientele in White Rock / South Surrey, the market is not enough to sustain a full time, year round store. We plan to have kiosks in Semiahmoo Centre for short periods throughout the year. And we’ll have a popup store for Xmas shopping at the Centre. We have an online store with many of our larger pieces. Also, people can email or call us if they’re looking for things that aren’t on our website. We can ship or deliver the items. We don’t want to lose our local customers.
They economy and the way people shop is changing. And we want to change with the times. We are working at becoming mobile and flexible in our marketing strategy. Our Native Art Business will continue. We’re not exactly sure what it will look like. But our focus will continue to be on authenticity and we will continue to have a wide variety of products and price ranges.
A major theme of our business is authenticity. Many of the tourist shops in Vancouver and elsewhere sell supposed Native art that is mass produced offshore. The designs are fake ‘Native inspired’ or directly stolen from legitimate artists. Native people don’t receive one penny from those sales. At first we carried only Native handmade products. But customers asked for products like silk scarves with Native designs, coffee mugs, and serving sets. So we realized that if we were going to be able to sell handmade products, we’d need to carry some of those products. We decided to carry only products in which the artist is paid a fair royalty.
Most Native art stores are in tourist areas. Our idea has been to sell Native products to community members in the area. Often before making a trip overseas, people would stop by the store to purchase gifts to take with them. Or when people have foreign guests they would bring them by. But our basic plan is to sell to community members as well as local businesses and organizations - art and housewares, jewelry and designer clothing, spa products from Native medicinal plants, and many other Native made products.
We wrote this article to let our customers know what we’re doing with our business. We want everyone to know we’re still available to anyone wanting to purchase Native Art. We appreciate the customers we’ve developed.
thanks for your interest Cheryl and Jim