Even though Taylor always wanted to open a retail art shop, she didn’t think it was ever going to be a viable option. Instead, she worked on building an online presence where she could sell her myriad creations, from paintings, to postcards, to crystal sets with accompanying card decks. Right around the start of the pandemic, her online business took off.
After operating out of her house for over a year, Taylor found the perfect spot to open a store—right behind a street known locally as Artist Alley. Located off the Coast Highway, Artist Alley is Oceanside’s well-established art hub. Opening her store there meant she could fully integrate into the Oceanside art community. What’s more, Taylor could participate in the multiple events hosted there each month, including a family friendly Art Walk with art displays, live music, and dancing.
With the new space came an opportunity to expand her retail offerings and feature work from local artists in addition to her own. Taylor wants art to feel vibrant and accessible to her patrons, not stuffy and elitist. With her Oceanside community in mind, she now stocks an array of items including original paintings, home decor, clothing, and stickers. In Taylor’s words, “I have stickers for as low as two or three dollars, but they’re stickers from artists that are really cool. It’s kind of a great way to purchase art and support independent artists.”
Taylor’s approach to business is community-centered in almost every way. She even discovered Clover through word-of-mouth. A family member used Clover for a vintage store she opened, and an employee had used Clover in a prior job. Both people had great things to say about Clover’s user-friendly functionality. In doing her own market research, Taylor admits that she hoped Clover would get good reviews because she thought it was the best looking POS system—an important feature for someone with a discerning eye.
Luckily, Clover has lived up to the hype. Taylor particularly likes the integrations from a wholesale site she uses to source new artists, and the automation features for her inventory. As her business grows with Clover, she hopes to learn more applications. She is considering adopting Clover Go for her pop-up events since she and her employees would love to add a good barcode scanner to her system.
Taylor doesn’t know how her small business journey might have looked in different times. But the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic shaped not only her business, but her worldview. While she had been paralyzed by the uncertainty of opening a brick-and-mortar store, she found that making the jump was less scary than she’d imagined. She was able to trust her gut and her heart while also receiving more support than she expected.
Indeed, this is one way Taylor connects with her customers. She sees how the pandemic has shaped their demeanor: people seem more appreciative of the ability to experience art in a physical space and to interact with her in person. In addition, she also sees a desire to find beauty in the unknown. In this way, she wants to share her perspective with other small business owners.
To those who might hesitate to go for their small business dreams because of the unpredictability, Taylor says: “The beauty is that you never know what will happen.” Plus, “If you’re a business owner, then you already probably have good instincts and energy about starting something. It’s more accessible and attainable than we think it is. And there’s a lot of support and community.” The biggest challenge is getting over one’s fear and embracing the beauty in the unknown. Immersed in a like-minded community and equipped with the right business tools to succeed, Taylor seems poised for continued success.
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