Updated: Oct 10, 2022
I invite you to listen to my radio interview here: Artique on our Local Lionize Radio Station
and read my very first blog update on how Artique Designs is handling the hardships of Covid-19 and why it is so important to support local!
Hi everyone, My name is Dana. I am the owner of Artique Designs, an eclectic art/thrift shop located on route 63 in Harleysvile, PA. Since opening in 2014, at the age of 22, I knew I wanted my business to serve as a community resource. My goal was to offer this beautiful town that I was raised in, a space that encourages neighbors to interact and inspire one another while participating in therapeutic art and self expression. Artique Designs is a combination of everything I love - unique art, music, vintage/thrifted treasures, costumes, community, activism and so much more. We sell free spirited, vintage and seasonal apparel and showcase local handmade products. We host DIY classes, free art/music nights and community support groups for people in need and donate our time, inventory and resources to important local non-profits in the area.
Tell me about how you felt when you first heard about the lockdown?
I was devastated. It's not easy running a small business to begin with, every dollar spent at our stores help keep the lights on. You have to be completely dedicated to its operation. Over the years, there have been times where I questioned whether I would be able to make enough to stay in business and pay my bills… but I NEVER thought there would be a day where I would be forced to close my doors because of a pandemic. The first week I cried and cried, I didn't feel like myself. I felt fear of the unknown. I had to ask myself important questions like “How do I plan on continuing despite this major issue?” I have grown really close bonds with my customers and look forward to having a free cup of coffee with them, hugging them and hearing about their lives. Not being able to operate normally has kept me from seeing them which really hurts.
How has your business been effected by the recent lockdown?
I’ve had to shut down my physical location for the time being until it is deemed safe to operate normally again. January and February are the hardest months for retail sales even before this pandemic. April and spring weather brings in customers that have been in hibernation for the winter months. People, who are normally excited to get outside and grab lunch with a friend and go shopping are now having to stay home. Just one prime example of how I have been negatively impacted is that I sell prom dresses. Because of the pandemic, schools are closed for the remainder of the year, which means no prom. I have hundreds of dresses just sitting in inventory that I can't do anything with.
How have you (or people your industry/agency) recently adjusted business operations?
Luckily for me, I had already begun creating a website last year. When it comes to my business, I am completely self taught. I’ve been slowly teaching myself how to build a professional online store. An online store is like operating a second business entirely. It was hard juggling the physical store while trying to learn the layout of a website, shipping etc. The lock down has given me the much needed time and energy to pursue this. It has been my saving grace. Without it, I’m not sure my business would have survived this. You can visit our new website at www.shopartique.com. We offer shipping or porch pick up. I’ve also been getting creative doing Facebook Live sales bi-weekly where we showcase the shops inventory online in an interactive video chat atmosphere.
How have you seen neighboring business adjusting to the lockdown?
I’ve seen a lot of restaurants change to take-out menus and local businesses doing shipping and local pick-up/delivery like myself. It's important for people in the community to support us. Liking and sharing our social media pages and posts, subscribing to our websites, inviting friends and family to do the same is a cost-free way of helping your local businesses.
Tell me about small business drive and reliance.
After owning a business for 6 years, I have come to know that you must have these things to keep a business running. Almost all of the wonderful business owners I know are very passionate about what they do and will do whatever it takes to continue. Starting a business at 22 while my friends were still at college was extremely hard. I lost a lot of relationships because I knew if I wanted to make it work I had to give it 100% of my attention. That's why it's so important to be passionate and love what you do. You have to remember why you're doing it in the first place because to start and keep a business running it is constant work and time consuming. There are times when I’ve worked so late at the shop I’ve fallen asleep mid task at 1am. Small business owners do everything in their power to push through any set back they may face. Every failure, a learning opportunity to be better than the day before. As for me, I refuse to let this virus destroy everything I've worked so hard for all these years and I will do whatever it takes to stay in business.
Why is it important to support local?
When you are shopping locally, you are supporting your neighbor, who in return will support their neighbor and so on. It is important to support local because it keeps people's hard earned money flowing in their area. For example, when someone shops at my business and spends $50, I then go to another small business in the area and spend that $50 on items I need. In this example, the original buyer has not only helped one person, but two. This mindset helps everyone get what they need while keeping the money circling, building up our communities resources.
Thank you for taking the time to support your local businesses!
Stay safe everyone <3
Dana, of Artique Designs