Since we started ArtsyBug Studio, we've been fortunate to have met so many wonderful people who have become friends. We've called our customers "friends" for quite some time now. It just made sense. Our primary business push from our "customers" were the painting parties and then the painting classes. Doing these night after night provided us the opportunity to get to know so many wonderful people. We feel the term "Friend" is the closest word we could find to describe the relationship between us and everyone who comes through the ArtsyBug doors.
To many of our friends at ArtsyBug, we've given away hundreds of dollars in free classes, reduced price classes/events, valuable coupons, etc. Yet all of these giveaways pale in comparison to the support each of you have shown us and the friendships you have blessed us with. We are truly blessed to have friends like you.
September started the traditional "busy" season for us. As we roll into October, we can share with you that we have concerns. One of which is our September numbers were a mere shell of themselves relative to prior years. We showed a 42% drop in sales compared to September of 2017 (which itself was a decline over 2016). October is not looking better. We know that our traditional two best months are November and December and even with drops in sales compared to last year, we should be able to hold on during those months. But we need your help!
We know there are people who still enjoy creating art in the studio as much as we enjoying seeing friends creating artwork in the studio. Our ability to provide this service depends on having enough people to support what we do. We know there may not be something you want to create this week or next, or maybe even the rest of this month. But we know at some point in the future you may want to create art with us. We ask that to keep the ball rolling, that you consider buying yourself a gift certificate to use as you wish at ArtsyBug. Or, look over our calendar and see if there is something you (and maybe talk a friend into coming with you) want to sign up for today. Our plan is to hold on until after the holidays at Northpark Mall. After that, we will have to analyze if Northpark is cost-effective enough to warrant staying there or perhaps move to a location more cost-effective (cheaper). We do know our old studio building is still available and the owner is likely motivated to get someone in there--even at a reduced costs. That is just one possibility.
Along that same line, when we moved from our first studio building on 16th Avenue in Moline to the downtown area, we could hold 25 people in that building. Since moving to Northpark, we haven't had one event open to the public that we couldn't have held in that little studio building on 16th Avenue. We didn't move to Northpark because we needed the space. We moved so others might become aware of us with the increased foot traffic Northpark offered compared to the downtown Moline area. We have been told by other retailers in the mall, that this spring/summer has been slower in the mall than ever before. That little studio building we first acquired in 2013 was less than 1/3 the rent we pay now. So you get the idea, with numbers down, we are looking to see if there is something that we can get for less monthly rent. But again, until we get to that point, we could certainly use your help now if at all possible.
We do have some exciting news that some may be interested in. Our Wood Workshop projects now are available as at-home kits! With the At-Home Wood Workshop kits, you get the wood piece for the project of your choice, the paints, the stencils and brushes (and yes! you get to keep the stencils and brushes when done with your project). So there is absolutely nothing you need to create the wood project that isn't included in your kit! With your kit, we also provide very easy to follow, extremely simple instructions to complete the project just as we created it! If you want different colors than we used, you can do that too by simply contacting us when ordering that you would like different colors. These take less room to do and don't take the level of instruction that the follow-along paintings require. We think this would be a great thing for people to do as a small group in your own home or something to entertain yourself alone on some cool night. Imagine sitting near the fireplace creating really cool wood projects this autumn/winter! We hope you check them out!
Theresa and I thank you for being an integral part of ArtsyBug and what we do. Your support over the years has been immeasurable. The friendship we have established with you is priceless. If you cannot make a purchase at this time, we truly understand. If there is one thing you could do for us--and it costs you nothing but a few moments of your time and a heartfelt moment with God, I ask for your prayers that we get through the road ahead. As always, we will keep you in our prayers as well--as your friendship is something we thank God for on an ongoing basis.