If you ever find yourself in Arizona, be sure to stop by Creative Gateways, a family of art galleries that offers unique fine art and jewelry experiences. Creative Gateways has three locations across Arizona and online stores, and the business sells a wide range of art and products, including blown glass, stainless steel sculptures, handmade jewelry, and more.
We recently caught up with Brett Labit, who serves as president at the company, and asked him to share the story behind Creative Gateways Art Gallery.
Check out what he has to say!
1. Tell us a bit about how Creative Gateways got started. What’s the story behind the business?
The first Creative Gateways Art Gallery was started by artist Pilisa Rainbow Lady in Sedona, Arizona. Pilisa is a fused glass artist with a passion to create beauty through her art form and also through collaboration with other people. She retired at the young age of 33 through the sale of a Tech company and was able to focus on philanthropy and her art form. She purchased a building in Sedona and invited other artists to come share the space and collaborate on work.
From there, Pilisa acquired an established 47 year old art gallery in the popular Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village in Sedona, called Kuivato.
Valeria Gavrilova and I had a long friendship with Pilisa. We have enjoyed wine, travel and several business partnerships together over the years. Partnerships are not always easy but with the three of us, our bond, openness, and care for each other keeps us aligned even when we don’t agree. So partnering in the gallery business was an easy choice and we continue to enjoy the day to day and everything we look forward to in the future.
Currently I serve the company as President with Valeria (Lera) handling operations. Pilisa continues to be our angel and mostly enjoys creating her art, cheering us on and helping the company expand as our main investor. All decisions are made with a nice bottle of wine and plenty of smiles together.
2. What are the unique things about your store that customers love? How do you keep people coming back?
What makes Creative Gateways unique is our attitude that we are part of a whole ecology that extends way beyond selling art.
We see everything through a 6 win filter. The gallery, team, artists, guests, clients, and community, all should win whenever we interact.
At the very minimum, kindness should be at the center of every interaction. Our team is trained to deliver a happiness experience. One without pressure, allowing people the space and environment to enjoy and make their own decisions. We simply are available to serve when needed. Sales come after our connection with people is established.
In addition to our beautiful art ranging from blown glass, stainless steel sculptures, dimensional wall art, and paintings, we offer social and fun events. Our artists have an open invitation and periodically come in to work on pieces in our galleries so that our guests can learn and enjoy seeing them create.
3. What are some of the challenges that come with running multiple stores and how do you overcome them in your business?
We have three physical locations, a website, and we sell on other channels.
This can be challenging when it comes to keeping inventory straight and making sure that our clients maintain the highest level of happiness.
As we did our research, we found that Vend would be the best solution to be the hub of our inventory and solve our problems. We have found that good data and good communications allow us to scale and grow.
We believe that multiple locations require two approaches. Management (efficiency) and Leadership (effectiveness). We do our best to optimize, automate and innovate in stages. We are constantly revisiting those three areas to make sure we stay relevant and strong.
4. Are you using any integrations with Vend? Can you tell us more about what you’re using?
Third party integrations are very important to us. We currently use an integration with Woocommerce and Mailchimp and are happy with what we can accomplish with them.
One of the mistakes we made in the past is choosing partnerships that were too new to have robust integrations with the biggest and best third party applications. We were pleased that Vend was established and had a range of important integrations we would eventually need.
We have learned that success in the gallery business begins with creating a solid foundation of automation that allows us to scale our time and energy. A dependable POS with multi-channel capabilities that can scale with us is very important and that is why we chose Vend as our partner in creating a beautiful future.
At Vend we’ve built an open API and ecosystem of apps. That means Vend will work with what you’ve already invested in and you can add extra functionality as your business grows.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.