20/11/2007 - 22:00

Case study: Online growth for kids' art

20/11/2007 - 22:00

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Fine Arts graduate and art lover, Saffron Solomon, has turned her hobby into a successful online business, selling unique and affordable artworks for children.

Case study: Online growth for kids' art

Fine Arts graduate and art lover, Saffron Solomon, has turned her hobby into a successful online business, selling unique and affordable artworks for children.

After having trouble finding quality art for her own children’s bedrooms, Ms Solomon decided to make it herself, and in doing so stumbled on a niche in the local market that wasn’t being accounted for.

Starting her business, Lollydandy, just two months ago, Ms Solomon said she has been amazed with the strong response from customers from across the country and internationally.

With the artworks starting at $39, including postage, pieces can be bought straight off the shelf, customised with the child’s name or custom-made from scratch according to the client’s needs.

“I’ve always had the idea to make art more accessible and more affordable,” she told WA Business News.

From the moment she established her business, Ms Solomon said she wanted to engage with the community and not-for-profit sector in some capacity, either through donating time or money.

With a belief that business both big and small can give back to the community, no matter what the size of the commitment, Ms Solomon formed a partnership between her business and parenting support organisation, Ngala.

She felt strongly about supporting Ngala not only because of the synergies between the two, both being related to early childhood development and having a similar creative ethos, but also because of personal experience she had with Ngala after the birth of one of her own children.

She contacted Ngala directly with her offer of donating a percentage of each sale, which received the full support of its management and board.

“Small business are often reluctant to make the call because it’s not a big investment their making. But you can really see the results in getting programs up and running,” Ms Solomon said.

“You have to be passionate about it.  And it has to marry with the business otherwise it makes no sense. There’s no point starting something that’s not going to help each other grow.”

Ms Solomon said she felt comfortable in the knowledge that Ngala was a highly credible and established organisation, and trusted the money would be going straight into developing and implementing its parenting programs.

And while the response from customers has been very positive, Ms Solomon said it was too early to quantify whether it was directly impacting on their choice to purchase through Lollydandy.

She believes her actions could encourage customers and other small business owners to follow in her footsteps, and re-position the arts industry as one that can be on the giving end, as well as the receiving end, of corporate contributions.

“It could spark them to think, how can I do something similar?” Ms Solomon said. “It’s very fulfilling.”

And, as the mother of two devotes more and more time to creating artworks, as well as sales support, distribution and online marketing, the business continues to grow at a rapid pace.

It is currently tripling the conservative monthly sales targets, as set out in the business plan in order to break even in the first 12 months. 

Ms Solomon is keen to keep the business small enough to manage it herself, and will consider various growth strategies, such as establishing distributors across the country or selling to retail outlets, down the track.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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