Owner Shanan Campbell talks about living in the unknown, getting creative, and an increase in custom pet portraits during this time.
Editor's Note: As statewide rules and regulations continue to change rapidly, please contact retailers for their latest store hours and delivery capabilities.
Shanan Campbell, owner of Sorrel Sky Gallery and Shanan Campbell Art Consulting, says creating remote business opportunities in her “high-touch” industries of jewelry and fine art has been a challenge. However, she also believes this disruption to the norm will change her business forever—and she and her business will be stronger because of it. We asked Shanan to give us some specifics on how she and her team have handled life and work during these changing times.
What does your current business environment look like, and how is it different than the norm?
Sorrel Sky Gallery has two locations as well as a strong online presence. Our business is different right now in that we are essentially closed for walk in traffic—the first time in our 18-year history that we’ve had to close the galleries. Closing our physical locations is extraordinarily difficult in an industry where fine art and jewelry are typically “high touch” acquisitions.
What has been the biggest challenge in adapting to the current situation?
Our biggest challenge is the “unknown.” We are navigating a world that none of us have ever experienced, and I think the worst is just not knowing; not knowing how long this is going to last, not knowing what was going to happen next, not knowing what to expect and what to expect when this is all over! Business is never going to be the same. What’s important is determining how we are going to operate after this and grow and adapt and change in an environment that is yet to be seen.
Business is never going to be the same.
Has your business adapted to producing digital content?
Everyone at Sorrel Sky Gallery has really stepped up to be proactive and creative during a time when we cannot be relying on our walk-in traffic. We are doing virtual tours of the gallery, focusing on our social media platforms, doing live Facebook interviews with our artists, Facetiming with clients, showcasing examples of installations, and blogging. We are extremely focused on giving our clients value and comfort at this time.
Has anything changed in how you interact with your customers?
Being in the art business is being in the business of beauty. Beautiful things make us happy, so art occupies a special place during this time where we can actually affect our customers’ emotions. It is scientifically proven that humans react positively to symmetry, patterns, and that colors affect our feelings. Now, more than ever, surrounding ourselves with beauty is important to our health, mood, and well-being. We take that responsibility seriously, and our art advisors at Sorrel Sky are committed to the gallery, committed to our mission, committed to our artists and our clients, and believe in what they're doing.
Has any recent content resonated with your audience?
We blogged about our furry friends being the “Best Quarantine Companions,” and were flooded with comments and interest. So, commissioned “Pet Portraits” have really resonated with our customers. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to highlight Tamara Rymer, Phyllis Stapler, and Michelle Tapia. Right now, people are spending most of their time at home with their pets, leaning on them for comfort and companionship. Our environment really matters.
Do you have any tips for other Western businesses looking to take their business online right now?
Truly, the only way to survive moving forward is to have a strong online presence, and if this pandemic hasn't proven that, I don't know what else would. You’ve heard the saying: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and the second best time is today.” So, if your business doesn’t have a strong online presence—focus on that today .
Have there been any silver linings to your experience during this time?
I believe our silver lining will be the flood of creative energy and artwork that will come out of this difficult time. I think we will never do business the same; we won’t/can’t solely rely on walk-in traffic, we will continue to value relationships with customers and artists, and we are going to come through this stronger than we were before!
This interview is part of an ongoing series that W&E is conducting with retailers. Click here to peruse more stories and interviews from the retail industry.