Oakville Artists Sell Pieces Across The Border With Online Store
Wendy and her husband Chris are classically trained musicians from Oakville, Ontario. They have worked for major arts organizations across the city. They offer piano lessons, voice lessons, and Wendy performs as an opera singer in the COC chorus. In 2012, the couple decided to simplify their lives by joining all of their self-employed work together under the name of Foley Music and Arts.
Foley Music and Arts is a multifaceted company, offering piano and music theory lessons to all age groups. Wendy acts as voice talent for descriptive video in addition to being a professional opera singer. She also sells original acrylic paintings. Wendy and Chris have always been up with the times, and utilized technology early on in their business. Wendy mentions:
“My husband, Chris, was a pioneer in using technology to help teach music. He would send lesson notes directly to parents and students during their lessons. He had online registration for new and returning families and he wrote a very successful classical music blog called ‘The Collaborative Piano Blog.' His wait list became so long that we hired another piano teacher, Natasha Fransblow, to accommodate all the students. I also continued painting and selling my work. We had our fingers in many different artistic pots.”
However, COVID-19 turned their business upside down. With opera houses shut and recording studios stopping traditional voice recording, a large part of their income was gone. During this time Chris and Natasha continued to teach online, and Wendy continued to paint – a lot. At the same time, they realized that they needed to make selling art pieces a bigger part of their business. That is when they applied for the ShopHERE Powered by Google Program.
For Wendy, the process of getting an online store set up seemed completely overwhelming at the beginning. However, thanks to her eCommerce Coordinator Tishan, Wendy was able to learn by taking baby steps. Wendy’s Coordinator made sure she learned how to add new products to the site and set up all the parameters that would fit their business.
Wendy remembers it being a huge learning curve, but one that was relatively painless. ShopHERE took away part of this difficulty by providing free knowledge, which is incredibly valuable when income is reduced. Now, their website allows customers to see all the relevant business information, and they have a page for their customers to purchase her art. As Wendy mentions happily:
“My first sale through the website was to a collector from Utah!”
The journey continues for the couple as they are now learning to market their business online, and they are enjoying the process. Visit Foley Music and Arts and check out Wendy’s paintings here! Learn more about how ShopHERE is helping local businesses survive the pandemic 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, and Yellow Pages.
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.