ART ON STONE
The Art of Going Digital: How One Local Business Pivoted To Overcome Covid19
#SmallBusinessWeek #SBW2020 #OroMedonteStrong
To celebrate Small Business Week, we are featuring innovative small businesses located in Oro-Medonte. This year, we recognize entrepreneurial resilience and adaptation in the wake of the COVID19 crisis.
Art on Stone is a Horseshoe Valley based studio which turns treasured photographs into beautiful pieces of stone art using a unique printing technique. Images can be provided by the customer or selected from a professional image library and then carefully printed on natural stone to make a unique keepsake or gift. Art on Stone specializes in high quality trivets, coasters and larger stone art.
It has been a challenging year for Art on Stone business owner Jan Novak who, prior to Covid19, built his business by selling products at popular markets, festivals and retail stores. At events like The Images Studio Tour, Muskoka Arts Festival, Bala Cranberry Festival and regional Christmas markets, customers could see, touch and feel his unique product. Yet once these sales channels were suddenly eliminated, Art on Stone had to pivot quickly in order to keep the business going strong. Novak explains, “Covid-19 forced us to rethink our marketing approach to selling our art online. Our 2020 business plan, marketing plans and budget had to be completely revised. New ways of selling our product had to be created...from scratch.”
Over the winter and spring months, Novak spent countless hours working with web designers and e-commerce experts to build an innovative new website that allows people to upload their images and place orders for his stone art products virtually. Novak revamped his website to allow users to create custom designs, and see how they look before confirming the order. Users can upload images that they wanted printed on stone, and place orders virtually. Customers can select free curbside pickup or opt for flat fee shipping to most locations in Canada and the US. He even added a YouTube tutorial video to help people understand the site better.
Building a boutique e-commerce site from scratch was a real learning curve for Novak, who had earlier plans to do this but never a sense of urgency to get it done: “We did extensive research over the internet to see how other unique and custom gift production companies designed their website in way that was attractive, engaging and easy to use. Changes were being done daily and the launch had to be delayed until we were comfortable and satisfied with the design.”
Giving Back to the Community
During the summer Art On Stone helped to organize a fundraiser called Home Made Masks for Home Town Heroes. The fundraiser offered custom designed coasters with a special design to honour frontline workers in Barrie and Simcoe North. Some proceeds of these limited edition products were donated to a local food bank.
In the future, Novak plans to expand these special offerings and work with other groups, organizations and charities where he can provide assistance with raising funds and continue to give back to the community.
*Images provided by Art On Stone