From Canvases to Clicks: The Studio Art Gallery’s Digital Journey
Fifteen years ago, Pamela Smith and her husband purchased a building in the small town of Desden, Ontario to invest in the community, and their futures. That building is now The Studio Art Gallery, a community art gallery featuring local artists.
“I am dedicated to supporting and promoting local artists and providing an opportunity to showcase their work in a welcoming space. My mission is to engage community audiences, connect artists with collectors, promote creativity and learning and to inspire an appreciation for arts and culture”, shares Pamela.
The gallery serves as a hub for artistic expression and community, where each brick and brushstroke converge to create a welcoming space for local artists, visitors and tourists alike.
Pamela recognized the opportunity to take The Studio Artwork online so she decided to join the ShopHERE powered by Google program. With her community and artists in mind, she viewed it as an opportunity to enhance her efforts, reach new markets, and provide better service for the artists featured in her store.
“I was very overwhelmed by the thought of creating a website. Local web services are very expensive for a small business like mine, probably unattainable and I don't have the skills to build a website from scratch. “
Fortunately, through the ShopHERE powered by Google program, small businesses like The Studio Art Gallery, can access free one-on-one support for creating an online store. During her time with the program, Pamela was partnered with an E-Commerce Coordinator who helped her build a website on a platform that best suited her business needs. This online store allows Pamela to sell art pieces online and sell tickets to workshops and events.
“My Coordinator was very knowledgeable, she helped me to build a beautiful website that would work well with the products and programs that I was offering. Then she gave me advice so that I could develop it as I needed. I couldn't be more satisfied.”
Pamela was not only able to set up an online store and promote her business online but also received training and advice from her E-Commerce Coordinator to independently manage and maintain her online presence moving forward.
“The process was easy, my coordinator was very knowledgeable, patient and friendly and in the end, I think we produced a great online store together. On a scale from 1 to 5, I'm confident in a 5 that I could manage my online store.”
Now that her business’ online presence is established, Pamela can showcase her products to her audience at any time, opening the door to a variety of opportunities. She can customize and upgrade her online store as she sees fit, depending on the direction the business chooses to take.
“I found the process of getting an online store set up empowering. I felt I was taking back a little more control of what I wanted to do with my business…It's all in my hands now.”
ShopHERE E-Commerce Coordinators go the extra mile to support businesses like Pamela’s to help small businesses flourish and thrive. Through the ShopHERE program, Pamela has gained knowledge has allowed her to regain control and the flexibility to shape her business according to her vision and goals.
“I think the ShopHERE program is invaluable for small businesses. (Setting up) a business online is unattainable for many startups as the costs are very high and the technology challenging. Being able to promote my business and sell artwork through a website will help me reach a much wider audience. Coming from a very small town in Southern, Ontario, that's a big deal!”
To learn more about The Studio Art Gallery, please visit their website here.
If you are interested in setting up your small business with e-commerce through the ShopHERE powered by Google program, please click 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, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.
Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.