AkshayaBorkar2The Craft Gallery

Being an Artist, Akshaya Borker started a hobby craft blog after her first baby was born in 2011. The blog started receiving lots of visitors and readers were asking about where they can buy supplies that she used in her projects. This lead her to start an online craft supplies and handmade store.

The handmade products which Akshaya created started getting more response and she soon realised that she was spreading herself too thin trying to do everything. Finding a marketer who could promote her handmade store was tough and yielded no good results. This frustration resulted in connecting with fellow artists who faced the same dilemma of creating vs marketing!

This lead to her current venture, Online Gallery where Akshaya provides tailored marketing and eCommerce services to creative businesses so artists can go back to creating without worrying about their marketing and exposure.

Here is what Akshaya shared about running her business.

Q. How long have you been in business?

Including the craft supply store, it’s been 2.5 years , but the current Online Gallery services has been around for just 1 year.

Q. What did you do before you started this business?

I was working full time in administrative services for various MNC, local government bodies and educational sector

Q. Who are your main customers and why do you enjoy working with them?

We have two set of customers Artists and Artlovers (buyers).  Our main customers are our artists, who have this vast range of experience and skills in their creative field. I love working with them, because it gives me immense satisfaction of helping an artist grow and the feeling of being surrounded by creative people is really rewarding.

Connecting with artlovers and knowing that they found the unique or one-off piece they were looking for makes me smile.

Q. Did you have any business training before you started?

I had completed my bachelors of Business degree, but had no other form of experience. It was all learning on the go

Q. Describe your business and products/services you offer

Services for Makers:
The Craft Gallery provides all the online marketing and e-commerce services to creative people / businesses in Australia. Our services increase online presence for their brand/artworks, saving the artist from going through the steep learning curve themselves. We become the online face of their products, responding to customer enquiries and promoting their products for various occasions throughout the year.

All our marketing plans are tailored made to suit the business goals and direction. Our graphic designer professionally edits raw product images to make them more appealing and copywriter paints the story of the artists’ creation.

Along with these services, we are constantly working on making the site more search engine friendly, mobile optimised and creating social media followers.

Services for Buyers:
The Craft Gallery provides quick and reliable service to Art Buyers , by offering free shipping on all products within Australia. We endeavour to answer all queries within 24 hours and offer a 30 day return guarantee if the goods are damaged in the shipping process. Art Lovers can also get request customised products from our artists

Q. How many hours a week do you work in your business?

I work 40 hours a week in my business

Q. What kind of online and offline marketing do you do and which is working for you?

Social Media, Blog, Print Media article submission, Contributing to Craft Book, Visiting craft markets, promoting at events, Supporting local Not for profit organisation, active member of local art society, are some of the activities we implement as part of our marketing

Q. Do you use social media as part of your marketing?

Yes, we promote our artists work on 10 different types of social media accounts.

Q. What mistakes have you made in running your business and what lessons have you learnt from those?

Not networking enough in person from the start of our venture has costed us a lot of learning time. We now regularly network at various business event and constantly look for industry engagements and partnership opportunities.

Q. What obstacles or challenges do your small business clients face most often?

Our Artists face the biggest challenge of time management, learning the ever changing technology and harnessing it to maximise the growth of their business.

Q. Any other tips you would like to share about running a small business?

Promoting your business is not a bad thing! Get HELP early in your business to avoid the risk of burn out or getting stuck in your business.

For more information, visit The Craft Gallery website.