By Aaron Itzerott
As attractive as the low price and convenience of the big online stores can be, we all know that buying locally and supporting the local economyhas never been more important.
The internet and social media has brought with it huge opportunities for artists and makers to sell theirwares and reach new audiences across sites such as eBay, Etsy and Kickstarter and while there are many easy to use and well designed solutions for putting together a small website to establish your brand’s home online, it's often all too easy to get lost in the noise and miss that vital connection to shoppers in your local community. We need a better way to bring local shoppers and local artists together.
That’s why I created the new service at GiftDerby.art
GiftDerby aims to be the quick and easy to use tool for buying local from Derbyshires creatives,
discovering new local talent and new unique, handmade gift ideas.
What I hear from talking to friends, family, colleagues and local businesses is that there is a huge and genuine interest in buying locally. People love the idea of supporting our local arts and crafts, just that in reality, it's not always that easy to do.
Mainstream shopping, particularly around the holiday season, is well engineered to be just a tap or click away and we are bombarded with enticing, shiny offers which are too good to miss. Between the rush we get from finding the best Black Friday deals, and the heartwarming catharsis of those big-budget Christmas adverts, it's no wonder our local creatives are often overlooked.
So while sourcing gifts locally is seen universally as an idea we like to get behind, it is that competition for convenience and attention, which becomes the real challenge. To meet that challenge, I wanted to develop a strong concept which could provide streamlined, easy access to local creatives and their work, putting a great user experience and a fair deal for creatives at the very heart of the solution. With GiftDerby, we are trying to cut out the noise, put the work (and the talent behind it), front and center. The vision for what we want to be is simple and clear:
“A one-stop-shop, just one-tap away, where Derby shoppers can find, follow and buy the latest, unique, handmade gifts directly from their local creatives”.
Making this a Derby-first initiative was also a no-brainer. We have always had huge wealth of local talent, well supported and connected by institutions and organisations like Derby University, Banks’ Mills and the Big House Initiatives such as Mainframe from Quad.
To Help Discover & Support Local Creatives
The site is built around two core themes, ‘ Support’ and ‘ Discovery’. The best way to support your local artists is always going to be by buying directly from them, so we provide a simple, clear and direct link straight to their store page for that specific item, placed conveniently below the item description.
The other great way we can support our artists is by following and sharing their work. The “ Discovery ” aspect, being the second theme, is something I think will keep visitors coming back. From the item page you can read a short bio, see a profile picture and link direct to their social accounts to easily follow on services such as twitter, instagram and facebook. You can easily share their work to various social sites, which is an excellent way of helping your own followers discover them too. We will also, from time to time feature artists on our homepage, helping to provide even more exposure where possible.
A Fair Deal
As someone who has dabbled in the arts myself I know how challenging it can be to maintain a stable income, especially when creative work is often easily under valued. Our artists and makers deserve to be able to make a living and charge a fair fee for what they do and I wanted to make sure GiftDerby never undermines that. This is why we’ve taken the approach of not
charging any fees or taking any commision on sales. This approach ensures artists are respected and earn what they deserve, whilst giving shoppers the buying confidence, knowing that the artist will get every penny
Local is for life, not just for Christmas!
With the festive season upon us, our focus is of course on asking people to use GiftDerby to source their Christmas presents, but the scope and ambition of what we are all about goes far beyond the end of the year.
The idea is that going forward, GiftDerby can be the go to destination for any and all occasions such a birthdays, valentines, mothers day, weddings (or if you just fancy a little something for yourself!). GiftDerby will remain somewhere people can continue to discover new artwork from local creatives as we develop new ways to support them and build relationships.
Looking ahead to the new year then, we’ll be seeking funding for more development which will mean we can make the service available as an app, so you are only ever a tap away from discovering and supporting exciting new artists and makers in Derbyshire and getting your hands on unique, handmade products. Also, artists who get onboard now, will get first preference for the weekly, featured artist slots, where their work will appear on the homepage, as a way of saying thank you for helping get things started!
Derby shoppers can visit the website to discover their local artists and makers for unique gifts
this Christmas at giftderby.art . Artists can sign up at giftderby.art/artist-form
Aaron Itzerott is a local web developer, photographer, digital media consultant and is the founder of GiftDerby.art