The creative impulse to make things is very different from the hard-nosed mindset you need to sell them after they are done. A lot of artistic and crafty people end up selling their products the quickest way possible and for less than they are worth. The selling process itself is inefficient, one person sitting in a booth at a craft fair, selling just one or two things, and not being able to produce new things will minding the store.
I propose becoming the retail outlet of all the local arts and crafts folks who find selling distasteful. We wouldn’t be able to buy their stuff in unlimited quantity, but we could sell on commission, to the international or even global marketplace embodied by the internet.
We’d set up an assembly line operation where we would receive an item, log it, photograph it, list it for sale, pack it up for shipment in advance, put it in storage, then ship it when it sells. We then send a check to the creator.
I think this would definitely provide a service to the local community, bringing Appalachian crafts to the world market. We could make some money ourselves, if we could flip merchandise efficiently.
We would have the creator set the price themselves (or with some advice) and add a handling charge for our services. Some crafters would be intent on producing efficiently and in volume, thus supplementing their income. Others would be hobbyists, who make things for fun and are just looking to recoup their expenses. Either way would work for us.
We’ve got the space, we’ve got the internet savvy in-house, we have the artist connections. I think this one is going to happen. I look forward to employing somebody to train to do this…. when we’re ready.