A resolution upheld by one Scranton business owner is set to benefit other area artists, crafters, and designers.
‚??My New Year‚??s resolution was to spend 50 percent of my time selling and learning how to sell online. Chrissy (Manuel) and I kind of dove right in to learning everything we could,‚?Ě explained GreenBeing owner Cristin Powers, 29, of Scranton.
Instead of simply managing entries on her Etsy shop when items in the 334 Adams Ave. store would sell, Powers began to realize the power of an online marketplace as she continued a consignment agreement with Manuel, 36, the Scranton owner of the Shoplift store at etsy.com.
The duo developed the ScrantonMade brand with the help of 22-year-old Scrantonian Samantha Nardelli, a graphic design student at Marywood University who is expected to receive her bachelor‚??s degree this spring. The hand-drawn fonts and Scranton skyline fit hand-in-hand with the carefully crafted goods that the logo promotes.
Launched with several blog posts beginning in August, ScrantonMade (scrantonmade.com, scrantonmade.blogspot.com) will open an online marketplace with eight initial artists in mid-November.
Artists behind the venture are Jenn Bell, creator of copper and enamel tiles; Annie Cadden of Fisher Cat Fiber Co., who crafts rugs from recycled materials; Kathie and Amanda Fox of the vegan soap and body product shop Fanciful Fox (342 Adams Ave., Scranton); Alicia Grega, who will contribute Scranton-based accessories and printed tiles; Matt Hiller, a letterpress artist from Revival Letterpress; Valerie Kiser, a fiber artist specializing in hand printed T-shirts; Nardelli‚??s screen prints of the Scranton skyline and bound books; and Powers‚?? handmade accessories that are common to shoppers of GreenBeing.
Powers‚?? initial inclination towards e-commerce may have started with a simpler goal, but she and Manuel were inspired to create the opportunity after attending a recent handmade gift fair.
‚??Chrissy and I have been brainstorming back and forth for a while about doing something. We did a show ‚?? BUST (Magazine) Craftacular in New York City ‚?? and doing shows like that, it‚??s just a one day event where you‚??re paying all of this money and lugging your stuff. We wondered, ‚??What could we do that‚??s longer than one day where we can combine forces with other local artists and offer our products?‚??‚?Ě Powers said.
Originally, they planned a simple holiday marketplace but quickly wondered why they should limit themselves to just a few months each year.
‚??We‚??re interested in finding ways for artists to sustain themselves and make art for a living,‚?Ě Manuel explained. ‚??We‚??re excited about how much interest we‚??ve gotten, and each person brings their own customer base with them. It‚??s been great for us to share that.‚?Ě
Just as GreenBeing and Fanciful Fox have helped build a destination for handmade goods downtown, collaborators behind ScrantonMade hope the online shop will be a place where people point their browsers.
The storefronts aren‚??t going anywhere, either. Established brick and mortar shops won‚??t be replaced any time soon by owners huddled behind their computer screens.
‚??We want to still continue to do things in the community, not just online,‚?Ě Manuel emphasized. ‚??We‚??re so rooted in the community, even though we‚??re online.‚?Ě
In fact, the ScrantonMade crafters will participate in the ‚??Buy Local Holiday Marketplace‚?Ě at the Scranton Cultural Center (420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton) on Nov. 25.
The ScrantonMade blog will continue to feature new artist biographies, DIY project ideas, artist and small business resources, event information, and more.
Artists interested in joining the effort may have an opportunity to apply after the new year, Powers said.
ScrantonMade online marketplace: Launching mid-November at scrantonmade.com, featuring works from Jenn Bell, Annie Cadden, Kathie and Amanda Fox, Alicia Grega, Matt Hiller, Valerie Kiser, Samantha Nardelli, and Cristin Powers. Info: [email protected].