Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
Prior to opening the gallery, Station 16 began as a print shop, specializing in silkscreen printing on textile. Station 16 began to work with local artists, experimenting with printing on paper and creating limited-edition silkscreen prints. This developed into establishing close relationships with artists, selling silkscreen prints and original art, specifically within the genre of street art and graffiti. In 2013, the gallery opened in conjunction with the Montreal Mural Festival and continues to work with a wide range of local and international artists. Our silkscreen prints are printed in the Station 16 print shop. The artist develops the imagery and files, but the print shop creates the final product. The gallery also sells original art, which is sourced directly from our artists' studios.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Word of mouth and social media were certainly aspects of earning the first sales. The gallery also participated in many art fairs locally and internationally to develop the brand name and grow a client base. We see the greatest traffic and interaction throughout social media, specifically Instagram. However, we generate the most sales through the relationships we develop with our customers. Many of our sales are from returning clients, as we place a high emphasis on developing strong relationships with our clients. Whether it is an online sale or a walk-in customer, we aim to form a connection with each client.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
We use social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest), as well as Mailchimp. We find Instagram to be an excellent way of connecting with our fans and clients, as the gallery sells works that is very visual, which works excellently for Instagram. For generating sales, we find that newsletters through Mailchimp are highly effective at sharing information and converting that into sales. We handle all shipping and fulfillment internally. We use FedEx to ship all orders.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
It is important to have a clear message and target market. High quality visuals and easy website navigation are key to successful e-commerce. Optimize your online presence!!