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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Crafty Collective Aims For Higher Christmas Returns

Thanks to a pilot program partly funded by EMBERS (Eastside Movement For Business and Economic Renewal Society), seven BC-grown micro-businesses are teaming up to optimize potential Christmas season profits this year. The Downtown Eastside-based non-profit was in the news recently with the announcement that they had received a federal grant to the tune of $190,000 to cover operating expenses over the next two years.

The plan for crafters is a simple one: pool resources to keep cost down. The vendors share table rental fees and have someone else handle sales. The project lowers the financial risk for crafters by drastically reducing their overhead and it means their product can be sold at more than one craft fair, potentially doubling their revenue.

Brainchild of Steve Duncan from Steven R. Duncan & Associates (who will be running the first table this weekend at Britannia Community Centre’s three-day annual fair), the collective is a revenue-generator for him - since he takes a percentage of sales. More importantly, its a proving-ground for one of Duncan's future schemes - a full-on craft fair in an upscale downtown location featuring East Vancouver artists.

"I get to see how a craft fair works from the perspective of the vendor, not just the producer. I also get to meet the other vendors, talk to them and build my database for when the time comes to recruit vendors for my event."

Duncan, an EMBERS client since 2005, sees this also as a chance to give back to the organization - while helping other small businesses like his own.

"EMBERS has been really supportive of me and my start-up endeavors. They help in real, practical ways. They provide a great service. I really want to use this as an opportunity to tell other people about them and steer more clients their way - if I can."

“I know that EMBERS has a lot of experience working with small artisan businesses and can really make a difference.

“Personally, I need more first-hand experience going through what crafters do, to help them as a teacher and as a promoter when the time comes for me to put on my big event."

Initial crafters in the collective include:

Marj KiddMy Crafty Heart

Julia Markus - Possibility Jewelery

Hinda’s Finest - http://www.hindasfinest.com/

Constant Arts Society

BonsEye

For more information and profiles on the artists, check out "The Spirit of East Vancouver” Craft Collective blog at http://eastvanvendors.blogspot.com/

The Britannia Craft Fair takes place on Friday from 3-8pm and Saturday & Sunday 10 – 5pm. For more information about EMBERS and their services, contact them at:

EMBERS

www.embers-dtes.org

Phone: 604.692.0781
email: embers@dtes.ca
Fax: 604.692.0780

209-124 East Pender St
Vancouver BC V6A 1T3

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