Paint with Me! Art Kits for everyone
So a little background about us --we are a two-family run business with no employees. We are officially registered as Picktown Art Works, LLC, which began 3 years ago as an art studio located in Pickerington, Ohio. Prior to COVID, we contracted with several licensed and certified art instructors or working artists to offer many different art/craft classes along with the STEAM curriculum and summer camps to our local area. We service over 2 large counties and are the only art/craft/maker studio in over a 50mile rural area. With little to no monies, and only sweat and long hours, and my VA disability check, I began this business to provide a much-needed service to the area. It was my dream to give back and put a smile on someone's face with creativity. It was slow going being personally financed and without any marketing funds, but we did see growth and the studio was starting to pay for itself -- almost. We really felt that 2020 was going to be the year where we would break even or maybe, just maybe, see a profit.
So.. Where does Honeysuckle May come in??
Well, In September of 2019, a family friend began volunteering her time to help us out (we still could not afford to pay for an employee). She was amazed at what I had done and expressed a desire to start her own biz. In late November, over a glass of wine and lots of laughs, we realized we should take my experience and her ideas and put them together - and thus began what is now Honeysuckle May. It was to be a brand that offered personalized items, but not just any item with a name on it, though. No, we wanted to create and offer items that would become special to the person who bought it. You know the kind of special, --like the first card you got from the person you love, or the first stuffed animal your child had. That kind of special!
So now fast forward to March 2020, when our area began being affected by the COVID crisis, and our local schools began to close. The orders to stay home were given, businesses were told to close their doors, and everyone was scrambling to keep afloat. Small businesses like ours were left to fold and perish, with no financial help (no employees = no loans or government assistance) and since we didn't qualify for any assistance our landlord also wasn't offering much assistance. Faced with having all my hard work for the past 3 years, all the 20+ hours a day I put in to make this dream a reality, I had to be creative/innovative to survive and quickly came up with our Create with Me! Art & Craft kits for kids. Immediately kit 1 was thrown together (in a pizza box no less) and we began to offered them locally. It was this quick thinking that gave over 150 parents something to keep their kids busy during this time and also kept the business able to pay the rent (although barely).
Since then, we have designed 7 different and unique kits - where I would live stream making the art or craft for that day (each kit included 4 days worth of an activity a day and on Friday's we offered "freebie Fridays which was an art/craft project with items from home. Freebie Fridays were also free to everyone and did not require the purchase of a kit).
In April, I saw the need for face masks, and to help both our community and neighbors worldwide, I began making them. I offered them under our new brand/store on Etsy called Honeysuckle May, and within 10 days I had asked my friend Dawn to help. The demand was so overwhelming and I knew I needed help otherwise our idea of Honeysuckle May was going to be ruined before it ever really became what we had envisioned. It was never our goal to sell masks when we began developing Honeysuckle May, but since we had already launched the store prior to this it seemed the best place to offer the masks to those that need them.
Fast forward to today... once again we are on the cusp of making it or closing, as sales of facemasks have become almost nonexistence with big brands and overseas sellers flooding the marketplace. Handmade masks are now offered in many different styles and made from many different materials. Until the public realizes that this also means the quality of the masks is not the same we will have to continue to compete with those who are selling a lower quality product with a much higher marketing budget. Something, one small biz who's just barely making it can't pay to do. So, needless to say, but our sales of masks have dramatically diminished and we are once again struggling to pay the rent.
This brings us to today - We are going back to our roots, back to art, and what we wanted Honeysuckle May to be. We have been working on rebranding and creating a more cohesive development of our art/DIY kits. We also realized that kits such as these are being sought after beyond our local area and thus began devising a way to launch these to a bigger audience. In addition, we have taken the art/DIY kit idea and brought it to our summer painting series that we normally offered weekly in the studio. Our customers have consistently signed up for these painting sessions in the past, so we hope by offering them as a virtual art/DIY kit, then others will also be able to enjoy this genre of art.
So, in the past two weeks, we have been fine-tuning our kits and their presentation in an effort to launch them on Cratejoy and our Etsy shop. We are almost ready and would love to have you be one of the first to try them out and tell your fans about them. We hope you will consider applying to this campaign and help us spread the word about our little biz and art/DIY kits. We also welcome any feedback (privately please) that you think would help us enhance or make our kits better. :). Please apply and help us bring awareness of our awesomely fun interactive and virtual art/DIY kits to your audience - we think you'll love them and they will too :)!