Marketing Ideas



It emerged in other threads that villagers produce a wide variety of traditional art – ivory carvings, beadwork and leather goods. They also knit and crochet like crazy! 

We started tossing around the idea of marketing Native arts and handicrafts to enhance the income of the artisans.

 This thread is for discussion about how to help rural artisans get their art work to market.

 Is an I-store the way to go? Selling on consignment? Other ideas? Post them here!

 We have threads for art supplies/raw materials, finances/micro-loans and the power of flat rate boxes so please try to keep this thread focused on “marketing ideas.” 


18 Responses to “Marketing Ideas”

  1. shrinkinggranny Says:

    I don’t know if this is the correct place for this – but for those in Anchorage, – well, here’s a cut-and-paste from adn:

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Native Arts and Crafts Show is underway featuring Alaska Native artisans selling and demonstrating their best art at the Dimond Center.

    The show includes various items such as basket weaving, beading, ivory, wood carvings, spirit masks, jewelry, and more.

    This is going to be “until Sunday.” (?) It might be a nifty thing to check out (and visit with artists, y’think?).

  2. anonymousbloggers Says:


    Good idea!

    You’ve been following this thread. Do you have time to go through the comments on the old page and summarize them as the intro to this page?

    It would help get this section organized.

    Think about it…


  3. Say NO to Palin in Politics Says:

    you could maybe under marketing have a thread listing places that carry AK Native products

    and another thread asking for any outlet source possibility

    and another thread on product ideas, which is why I came back in from my weeding, lol.

    Windchimes! I love them, lot’s of people do, the more creative, unique and natural the better, “in key” is nice but always necessary……I do not like those loud metal clanging ones, that is not pleasent to my ears or brain. My fav are bamboo sounds and anything in key, I’d had pottery chimes but they don’t hold up too well outside, but would work inside.

    Water Feature Items! I love the sound of water and many other do too. Anything in this direction would do well.

    gone weedin’

  4. Say NO to Palin in Politics Says:

    I should proof read, lol, and I do apologize if this direction is inappropriate or not cultural, just thought of that.

  5. shrinkinggranny Says:

    I’m working on sorting out the “moving on” page into categories (more or less). Have to reboot, the keyboard is getting a little weird again & striking terror into my heart.

    I should have something done before “prime time” lol


  6. Say NO to Palin in Politics Says:

    I just came back from giving our 5 chickens and 3 roosters (the roosters are too pretty to let go,lol) I also love how the cockle doodle me, flirts.

    Anyway, all food scraps should be fed to chickens, could smaller villages have community chickens? They give eggs, meat and great fertilizer, they can also do well with weed control if moved around in a detachable from the main coop mobile unit that can be moved around, also very good bug eaters.

    We love our Guineas, all day long they eat bugs and come home to roost at night, every year we lose to road kill, dog kill and raccoon bust-ins, but they are so worth it. We also try to raise from their egg nests but the tend to hide the nests anywhere but the coop if let out to forage bugs like we do. They’re also good watch dogs (as are peacocks), the the Guineas fun to watch. We’ve never eaten them or their eggs, have no clue on that factor, but, I have read their feathers are sold to fly shop stores for fly tying.

    there’s another product catagory! feathers and even pre-made fly’s for tourists or shops…….Natives would best know what is hatching (bugs) and when fish feed on them and how to imitate creating them, I can supply Guinea feathers. Fly tying booths at events, demonstrating how to create, selling instructions and supplies, talkin up Native life and culture. All sorts of fur is used also. Probably done up there already, don’t know. Just throwin out ideas.

  7. Say NO to Palin in Politics Says:

    agh…..I shouldn’t say all food scraps, not meat, you know that. Also, chickens and Guinea hens are different.

  8. Aussie Blue Sky Says:

    Summer is coming. Maybe in the short term you could liaise with Cafe Press and have T-shirts saying something like “I [heart] Yup’ik” or “My [heart] is Yup’ik” …..

  9. Aussie Blue Sky Says:

    I forgot to say – or “My [heart] is Aleut” ….

  10. JuneauJoe Δ Says:

    There are a lot of foxes in Emmonak and it is below zero for about seven months out of the year. Cattle and chickens in blow zero weather, with a wind put on top?

    Heating a chicken coop is a luxury that the YuPiks that I met could not afford.

    I would imagine the short growing season would be intense and productive because of the midnight sun. There can be a lot of sunlight in the late spring and summer, which could make the growing season productive.

  11. JuneauJoe Δ Says:

    IDEA: Have a Ice Break Up Raffle like Nanana does. Nanana breaks up early compared to the Lower Yukon. Put up a BIG TRI POD and have people bet on when the Tri Pod would move. I know last year it would have been after May 22.

    Could split the contest 50/50, with 50% going to the Fuel Fund or Food Fund, etc.

    In Juneau, I just heard an advertisement for Nanana and thought the Lower Yukon Could do that to bring in a few bucks.

  12. Mark Springer Says:

    Marketing per se is never a problem for high quality Alaska Native arts and crafts. Many artists have a fairly established customer list either in the village (teachers, manly) or out. Personally, I am a sucker bet for a particular oomingmak knitter (you know who you are, now where’s my scarf!).
    The Bethel Saturday Market at the Cultural Center represents possibly the best-kept secret in our State in terms of one-stop shopping for all your malaqai needs. It’s worth the price of a r/t ticket from Anchorage, and a nice article in the Alaska Airlines magazine would really be helpful.
    The internet is a good place to sell stuff, eBay has been successful for a number of Alaska Native artists of various media, so there isn’t a real need to build a new website every time. On the other hand, lets not forget that the global economic crisis might have an impact on that disposable income we all want to see flowing into pockets out here!
    So, lessons learned: Ask local artists where and how they are already selling their work; check with the University of Alaska rural campuses to see what sort of outreach they have available on small business development and arts and crafts marketing in particular (there is a lot of help to be had there!)
    And a brief note on gardens- we have a very successful farmer, production-wise here in Bethel (Tim Meyers) who recently got an Alaska Marketplace award and who has been champing at the bit to share his well thought out technology with villagers. Gardens in Rural Alaska are nothing new at all. From Holy Cross to Hooper Bay vegetables have been grown with no problem at all.
    Mark Springer

  13. anonymousbloggers Says:


    Thanks for your ideas. I Googled Tim Meyers and found that Tim “Myers” will be a presenter at the conference that Victoria will be attending in Fairbanks.

    I put a copy of your comment on the new post updating her trip. Check there for feedback.


  14. UgaVic Says:

    OT OT – but addresses comments above on chickens:-))

    I have chickens in the Pilot Point area, as do a village north of us, by Non-dalton.
    We did ours so that our coop, that is 6″ studs and insulated well, so that we have enough hens to keep it pretty full. If I remember right you need 1-1 1/2 sq ft per hen for coops.
    Ours produce enough heat when closed up at night to keep them from freezing.
    We did 2×4 roost beams and layed them flat so when they roost their feet are totally covered.
    I feed corn at night for a small portion so they produce lots of body heat.
    I also choose layers that are known for good cold weather and small combs so they will not freeze.
    I actually have more issues with the eggs freezing if I do not collect 2-3 times a day when it is -20 and below than the hens having an issue.
    I used to put a 250 w heat bulb in the house to help but found they did not need it. They now just get a good light.
    We get eggs all winter and no one has suffered due to cold since starting it 3-4 years ago
    I raise the feeders in summer for fall butcher as they only take 6-10 weeks to mature.
    It is an idea and one we can adapt in a number of places. Fox are the biggest issue :-))

  15. JuneauJoe Δ Says:

    On-Line Auction: Auction off native made goods etc. Maybe Grant Aviation would give a seat to Emmonak to be auctioned. Alaska Airlines might give a ticket to Anchorage, etc. Baskets, carvings, moccosins, hat, jewelry, etc could be auctioned.

    My daughter just had a auction for my Grandson’s school and they cleared $6000.00.

    I think there are enough people now interested in the villages to get some decent prices for things.

  16. Noelle Says:

    OK, totally different idea but what about selling on Etsy? Etsy is what ebay should/could have been. They ONLY allow HANDMADE products, and I’ve seen/purchased some lovely artwork from there. What you’d need: an email addy, regular access to a computer, ability to mail your product, and a spiffy logo which can be purchased for $10-15 or made for free by some cool people who visit your blog;) If you specify that you can only ship on these certain days in your policies and on the listing there is no problem! Obviously you’d only be able to sell during certain times of the year but I think there would be a great market there.

    I had an ebay following that drove business to my website, and I hopefully physically will be able to open my new business, which is linked to an etsy store. Many people have an etsy sttore, and then say, “visit my website” I’ve had an online store/website since 2002 and would be willing to help you with this (not during the move unfortunately!)

    If you’d like, I could investigate how one could get listed w/fair trade orgs too. There are many places that sell traditional art made by women for a fair-trade only price. I’d have to look into that one. Anyway, those are my brain pickin’s :)
    With love from hot and sunny Cali,

  17. Noelle Says:

    Oh, to prove I’m not a newbie at it, here are my sites. I have a redesign on the boutique one coming, and have to fix and upload the gallery, some other stuff. I did NOT design them, but had others do it for me. For like $12/month you can have a website and I’m POSITIVE people here could design a header to go w/ a preformatted page. Maybe one that includes a photograph of a necklace against black, w/ lettering on the L, that’s what I see! :)
    and the site I’m not proud of/is being redesigned

  18. Noelle Says:

    Crumb-bum! I keep forgetting things and am clogging your thread, I’m sorry!!! My host is now and I’ve had many, and they are the best by far.

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