The Craft Council of British Columbia is hard at work on an exciting new project: Craft Carts! Yes, kind of like the colourful food carts downtown selling portable deliciousness from every cuisine imaginable, but our carts will sell small, affordable craft pieces from local artists. Like food carts, we aim to station our Craft Carts in various public areas in downtown Vancouver. This environment will allow artists to share and promote their work to a wider audience by making craft more accessible for people who might not otherwise seek it out.
Our superstar team member Chloe Sjuberg decided to go out and talk to potential customers to see if they’d be excited about buying local craft artists’ work from our Craft Carts on the streets of the city. Over a few gorgeous sunny days on Granville Island and on the boardwalk downtown at Canada Place, we spoke to over 50 visitors to Vancouver, giving them a short survey about what they look for when it comes to shopping for mementos to bring home from their trip. We are thankful for their encouraging feedback! Here is a quick look at the results of our survey.
We spoke with visitors largely from the USA and Europe, but also Asia, Australia and those visiting from elsewhere in Canada.
Nearly every participant said they most often sought out mementos at retail shops. A few, though, said that they enjoyed shopping for mementos at arts and craft market-type settings. We were glad to hear this. What comes to mind when we think of markets is the focus on locally crafted products and the joy of happening upon something lovely while strolling through the streets. This is exactly what we want to embody with the Craft Carts.
Participants have diverse preferences in terms of what types of items they are looking for. Many shoppers were looking for functional items, such as vases, mugs or other housewares, while still more were on the hunt for art pieces and ornaments that were simply decorative. With work from a variety of artists and media available on the carts, we’re sure everyone will be able to find something that suits them!
We wondered if visitors set a budget for how much they were willing to spend on mementos, and while less than half said yes, many of these people said their budget would be around $50 to $75.
We were especially thrilled to report that every respondent said they would be willing to spend more on handcrafted and locally crafted items rather than commercial, mass-produced items. They’re our kind of people!
Even if you’re very drawn to a piece that you find, it can be a big decision to actually choose to make it yours. We asked people what might prevent them from buying a memento that they found and really liked. Cost was a concern for many, and others raised issues relating to ease of transport back home, such as size and fragility. People wanted something small enough to take home in their bag or carry-on, without need for shipping, and something that wouldn’t break easily in transport.
Throughout the day, several people expressed their desire for something “unique” and said they wanted to shop “wherever they could find something” that was unique and high-quality. One lovely participant told us he values handcrafted items that represent something of the local culture – perhaps made from local materials – and once again, that are, above all, unique. Is he our soulmate? We think he just might be!
There is still plenty of exciting work to be done on the Craft Cart project before it launches. We will continue canvassing for feedback from both local and visiting customers, and use our findings to plan things like what you can expect to see for sale at the Craft Carts and where you can find them.
Thanks to Chloe for canvassing and putting together this post for the blog! Stay tuned because Chloe will keep us posted.