How This Designer Adapted His Business For An Online Marketplace
Deon Best is a multidisciplinary artist and instructor with a creative background in Modern Batik Art, an East African Fabric Art style. He was mentored by Batik master David Kibuuka and has become one of the premiere practitioners first across the GTA, then all over Canada. Over the last decade, he has run DBest Designs as a creative platform to offer numerous summer camp programs, and creative retreats for students of all backgrounds and skill levels.
He has also collaborated with various galleries and institutions such as the Gardiner Museum, Aga Khan Museum, and many other local community organizations. Deon likes bringing bold, colourful designs to life through multiple expressions. He has expanded his product line to canvas prints, posters, accent pillows, and other original home décor pieces.
Because of the impact of COVID-19, Deon has not been able to offer in-person classes and has pivoted to hosting live workshops that respect safety protocols, and commissioned artwork requests. Additionally through the ShopHERE Powered by Google Program, he has a new online shop that gives him the ability to promote his brand and the Batik art form globally.
Since getting his website live, Deon’s knowledge of eCommerce and social media integration has evolved and he’s developed a better appreciation and understanding of promoting his business on Facebook, Instagram, and Google. It was also his first time working with services such as Shopify and Printful to transition his unique artwork to different mediums.
“It was great to have the support of an eCommerce Coordinator to help answer questions and make the transition smoother”
While business has been slow because of the pandemic, Deon is nonetheless excited for the opportunity to share his online shop to start reaching out to new audiences. He strongly believes that the ShopHERE Program can help transition businesses to a more widely accessible, safe, and recognizable platform.
His advice to other artists or small businesses dealing with the COVID-19 situation is to “step out of your comfort zone and explore other options to bring your gifts to the world! There are great resources & tools available. You just need to seek them out!”
Check out Deon’s website at dbestdesign.ca to see more of his unique designs and home décor products. You can also follow him at d.bestdesign on Instagram to follow his daily activities. If you want to learn more about the ShopHERE Program, click here. To learn more about Digital Main Street's other programs, read more about them here.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19 in Southern Ontario.