New Program Brings Artisans To Market
Kentucky is home to more than 6,700 artisan businesses that employ 24,400 people – nearly four times as many as Toyota or Ford. The arts are a big business in Kentucky and the Kentucky Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) is working to grow these artisan businesses through an exciting new program – Access To Market (ATM).
ATM is a year-long program that will select 50 Kentucky artisan businesses based on a simple application process. Program participants will receive step-by-step business coaching, product development, pricing expertise, and wholesale relationship strategies. In addition participants will build an on-line presence with websites and social media, develop wholesale clients, and move from local to regional and national sales via participation in regional and national tradeshows.
Who Participates in ATM?
Established “professional” artisans who conceive, design and render decorative objects or functional products in contemporary and traditional study. These expressive cultural products include:
- Regional folk art
- Textiles & more
In the current recession there is an estimated 150,000 emerging artisans that only work part-time at selling their craft online and occasionally at local fairs. They have demonstrated the ambition to start a business, but have little access to the resources and counseling that would provide them with a sound direction for growing their skills and products into a profitable business.
Economic Impact of Access To Market
A national study conducted in 2010 by the Craft Organizations Development Association revealed that the craft economy contributes an estimated 14 billion dollars to the annual GDP. The study showed that:
- Artisans relying on local retail sales to the public grossed $25,623 annually
- Larger studios, with primarily national wholesale distribution, grossed an average of $288,596
While there are 120,000 documentable professional studio artisans in America, less than 6,000 will grow beyond local selling opportunities due to constantly shifting trends and imported knock-offs or craft look-a-likes in the marketplace.
If you have any questions about Access To Market, please email Vallorie Henderson.