Mon | Oct 14, 2019

The Shopping ‘Silver Lining’ of Art Cloud

Published:Sunday | October 6, 2019 | 12:07 AMKrysta Anderson - Gleaner Writer

Imagine a world where you can purchase art and crafts at your fingertips. Sounds too incredible to be true, right? Well, believe it! Providing that shopping silver lining and revolutionising the way we access local entrepreneurs is The Art Cloud.

Outlook got the exclusive on this creative phenomenon.

Rick-Ashley Foster, has just completed her Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene and is preparing to graduate and sit her board exams, and Androy Cameron is an aircraft mechanic. But the two have always considered themselves artistic people. Cameron enjoyed his days studying art in high school and has been creative and hands-on ever since. Foster focused on the style aspect of art, pursuing fashion and lifestyle photography for two years.

After deciding to start a collaborative art business, one where they would create and sell art, the quest began in seeking available and appropriate avenues needed to place their products on the market. The discussion of making a website arose while dealing with this particular difficulty. It dawned on them that other artists and creators may very well be unable to find a similar platform to advertise their products in order to receive the desired exposure and recognition, as well as generate more income. That is when the business took on a more service-oriented route. The two are now founders of The Art Cloud.

“The Art Cloud is an online marketplace where you can discover and shop from Jamaican entrepreneurs and artisans all in one place. My partner and I created this business with the hope of providing a central platform to uplift and promote Brand Jamaica by giving our local entrepreneurs a central platform to promote their craft. It is also within our aim to promote the importance of celebrating and supporting our local businesses,” Foster explained. The website features handmade items created by Jamaicans.

Here is how it works: interested vendors simply fill out an application on their website. The Art Cloud will then make contact, supplying them with the necessary steps to get their products listed and get approved. For customers, it’s even easier, all you have to do is add your chosen items to your cart and check out just like any other online shopping experience. After that, your items will be shipped to you, no matter your location. “We made the site as a means to help other creators reach a global market without having to deal with the ups and downs of setting up their own website,” she added.

Following their official launch in November of last year, the reception, they say, has been amazing, “We have received so many positive reviews. Customers are very pleased with our customer service and level of order fulfilment. We had our first event in July, where we gave our vendors a physical location for the day to sell and promote their products. One vendor stated: “Thanks for giving small businesses the opportunity to sell. We unanimously believe you guys did an amazing job,” and that made this venture all worth it,” Foster revealed. While marketing hasn’t been their strong suit, through event visits and social media promotion, the website is currently home to 12 vendors in total, and counting.

They remain motivated by family, friends, and each other, relying on the self to keep hope alive and thriving. It is their dream to make The Art Cloud a household name and nurture the business to become the central platform for local artisans and creative crafters, along with local and international customers seeking quality ‘made-in-Jamaica’ products.

“Vendors should sign up on The Art Cloud because it is an opportunity to be a part of a creative market where buyers around the world can shop for their unique hand-crafted items. For now, it is free to sign up and vendors have another avenue to sell their products without the stress of managing another platform. We also offer several resources our vendors can utilise for brand development,” she said. “People should shop The Art Cloud because it is 100 per cent made by Jamaicans. We have made it convenient to support local businesses. You don’t have to wait until craft shows to come around. If you need something, for example, home decor pieces, you can head to the site, or you may have a favourite maker, you can search for their names on The Art Cloud and see what they have in store.

For more information on how you can tap into the shopping silver lining of The Art Cloud, you can visit the website www.theartcloudja.com, email: theartcloudja@gmail.com, follow on Instagram and Twitter: @theartcloudja, or call: (876) 585-2663.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com