You may have heard of the City of Toronto’s Digital Main Street program for small businesses and their addition of the ShopHERE program that includes artists? The former has been around for a while, I understand. Mayor John Tory announced the latter in May as a measure to help the economy during this pandemic, and I leapt to apply. To my surprise, they approved me and created a shop through which I can sell my visual art as posters and limited editions and on face coverings, T-shirts, tank tops, and the like. Having a web developer work on my website and a ‘Solutions Leader’ step me through the process was rather nice. I finished the final setup of products last week.
ShopHERE creates the layout, provides free logo creation, and uploads the images and initial products you provide.
There have been some issues, the primary one for me is that Shopify, a Canadian company, charges its monthly fees in US dollars. The City partnered with Shopify to provide the backend for ShopHERE and with Google and Facebook for ad credits. The other big issue for me is shipping. I create visual art, not products! But there are lots of companies that manufacture and make clothing with one’s art on it. They handle everything, but having to work out shipping drove me crazy! I ended up not putting Canada Xpress Post on as an option because it has a separate fee for practically every city in the country and inputting all those manually or guessing was a bit much!! Luckily, there’s a community where you can find help and advice, and your Solutions Leader will answer your questions during and in between virtual meetings.
If you have a small business or are an artist, I’d encourage you to check out Digital Main Street and the ShopHERE program, which the province is expanding beyond Toronto. Then share your story and website with us. And if you already have a website, share it, too, so that we can post it here and encourage your Tri Delta sisters to ShopTHERE!
*Discount code is good until August 22nd.