How are you adjusting your business during these times to provide to your customers?
I have a few different businesses that I’m involved in, one of which is East Coast Art Party – which typically does social painting events at our Studio in Charlottetown and occasionally all over PEI in select restaurants and venues. It’s a very social and fun event and we have a great time doing it in person, but obviously with everything that’s going on in the world we had to adapt and with my technical background we decided to take the fun and try to see if we could broadcast it live into people’s homes for free.
We had this idea in our heads long before COVID-19 arrived, it was always on our radar to figure out how to reach people that weren’t local to one of our areas. The feedback to the events are always great and people have a fantastic time listening along with our charismatic artists, we do trivia and have a lot of fun banter so it’s far from a regular “art class”.
We did our first event and it was a hit! We had over 500 viewers and although we had a little bit of lag during the event due to the connection and amount of people tuning in, we knew we were on to something. We’ve done 2 almost every day since (at 11am and 6:30pm) and have received hundreds of kind words of support and thanks for doing them.
One thing that we started doing to earn revenue to keep it going is we started to sell art supplies online via our website, and then offer a secure, safe, isolated way of picking them up which has worked great so far.
Do you have any inspirational words to share with the PEI community about moving forward into the future?
The obvious thing to say here is “We got this.” We really do however, we are (in my opinion) doing a fantastic job of listening to our government officials and we just need to keep it up. Things will get better, it’s just going to take time. Use the time wisely and to your advantage, we have never experienced a situation like this before so it’s important that we realize this, stay positive and focus on the good things that are a result of this.
What has been your favourite project to be a part of to date?
With regards to East Coast Art Party – my favorite project was when we were expanding into each region around the Maritimes. We traveled to all kinds of different communities including areas of Newfoundland and Labrador during our expansion period and it was an incredible feeling to have a product/experience that people wanted to do, and to bring it to them in such a fun and creative way.
In all honesty, the biggest piece of advice wasn’t advice at all. It was something that happened. You see, my father was diagnosed with ALS back in 2012 and that had a profound effect on me. He lost his courageous battle with that devastating disease after battling it for 2 years in June of 2014, and that changed my mind set incredibly. I came to realize how lucky I was to have my health and how we only get one life to live and it goes by quick! Later that year I joined up with Jeff Kelly to start East Coast Art Party (then it was called “Art After Dark”) and we have grown it into an incorporated company with 2 full time employees and a few licensees around the Maritimes. My “just go for it” attitude has stayed with me in almost all my projects and I’m very excited about what the future holds.
During this time of social distancing, it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t taken in an East Coast Art Party free online painting class, for more information check out their website! Follow Versatile Management Group on Facebook or Instagram for more good news stories about the leading faces in our community!