ART and business can go together. This is proved by an emerging dainty crafts and design shop – the Artisan Paperie along V. Mapa, Davao City (beside Yellow Hauz near Mabini Street).

As the market, especially Davao City’s awareness and interests on arts and crafts, is gaining momentum, art-inclined businesses like Artisan Paperie is starting to flourish.

The art shop owner, April San Pedro, who is a graphic designer by profession and a crafter by heart, witnessed how the market evolved from reluctant and unappreciative to an art-open, interested and explorative market.

“There is really a big, significant difference now on how the market accepts art, before they are unfamiliar of these things, but now a lot of people are interested to learn and explore arts and crafts.

Social media has played a major role on this welcome evolution,” San Pedro shared in an interview with Sun Star Davao.

The art shop, which opened last July 8, 2009 offers a wide array of jewelry, clay, carving rubber stamps, paper flowers, washi tapes, cameras, frames, punchers, planners, accessories, stickers and whatnot.

The product prices range from as low as P30 to as high as over P3,000.

“Almost everything here is handmade and most of my products are designed to be cozy and not commercial looking," she said.

Recently, the art shop also ventured into the craft materials retail, which are sourced and ordered straight from Manila and Canada.

The art shop, which is open from Mondays to Saturdays (9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.), also offers art workshops on calligraphy, water color painting, and paper flower making, among others with some Davao-based and Manila-based artists.

“I am client-based before, now it is more of walk-ins, people come and go then see what’s in the shop, before we only have clients on weekends but now almost every day we have clients from different groups, most are students,” she said.

San Pedro shared that the shop was first meant to be a studio offering a digital scrapbooking services but it didn't build much client.

Thus, she decided to venture in the wedding industry through wedding branding services.

But on 2015, the shop was fully devoted to a craft shop and a go-to retail craft materials shop.

On challenges Putting much effort with an artistic approach, San Pedro struggles to meet the market demand.

"Since I put my artistic approach on every material, mahirap mag catch up sa demand, although production wise it can be easier with an assistant but if I'm looking a designer to help me out, to get things done it should be at par or in level of my artistic taste because it needs to uniform for branding purposes," she said.

Also, she mentioned that in selling materials, extra effort on encouraging the clients to buy considering the prices of materials.

"Honestly some materials are not that cheap, and it is not a need but more of a want and a hobby so we need encourage them by ensuring that what they got is something that can make one learn a skill," San Pedro said.

2017 onward

San Pedro said that she will strengthen what the art shop is offering and elevate marketing initiatives and strategies. More workshops will be lined up monthly.

"I want to establish a venue wherein people can push for their artistic pursuits, workshops will be one, I'll try to have it monthly this year," she said adding that there will be a Calligraphy workshop on January 21 at Yellow Hauz (San Pedro family-owned business).

She said that with the increased interest on art by the market, her workshops, on an average, has 15 to 20 participants.

For this year, San Pedro plans to put another shop wherein clients are more convenient like malls.

"Now that I saw the market's interest, I want to put another small pop-up shop like in the mall as I need bigger space but still needs to be studied," she said.

In making an art-inclined business, San Pedro said, an art entrepreneur must cope with the fast changes of trends and upgrade every now and then.

"In venturing a business like this, make sure to not just sell a product, try teach the customers what they can do with those, as much as I want them to buy a lot, I always tell them to just get basic first then upgrade next.

It is important that you have a personal relationship with your customers, then you are making a good business," she added.

Artisan Paperie, through the years has evolved with the Davao's art industry and will continue to do so like an art, continuous, fluid and always moving.