DAVIDSON – The Sanctuary at Davidson is known for its devotion to supporting artists from all over by displaying and selling their pieces. The gallery, located at 108 S. Main St., has been running for four years in Davidson. The Herald Weekly caught up with owner Kristen Feighery about her business.
Q: How did your business begin?
A: The previous gallery was not doing well, yet my work was selling fine. The owner asked if I wanted to take ownership and try to make it successful. As a happy surprise, it did.
Q: When did you decide you wanted to do this for a living?
A: Four years ago. I never thought I would own a business but definitely wanted to. It was an answer to prayer, and I enjoy it so much. Helping artists gain a following and introduce them to a new customer base is extremely rewarding.
Q: Is the business modeled after anything?
A: Our model is very unique. I took ideas from several different businesses I spoke with over the last few years and created our own. We are co-op where the artists pay a $30 fee to display their work. Some artists, instead, work at the gallery and receive a higher percentage of their sales. My working artists are invaluable to me as they love to help each other out and are each others and the gallery’s biggest supporters and fans. They know each artist’s work very well and can easily explain the process of each piece to curious customers. The gallery would not be successful without them.
Q: Why choose this location for your business?
A: The historic district of Davidson is perfect! Walking distance for locals and right in the middle of town to allow new customers to “stumble” upon us. Customers don’t even have to get into your car to shop with us.
Q: What exactly is offered and sold at your store?
A: All things handmade. Jewelry, pottery, knitted items, paintings, photography, cards, woodworking, you name it. We also offer Cocktails and Paintbrush parties for adults, birthday parties for kids, and fun art classes for all ages.
Q: Where do you get the jewelry/accessories for your store?
A: Local, regional and national artists. Everything is 100 percent handmade.
Q: What are the general price ranges for your items?
A: Between $5 and $1,000. We make sure everything in the gallery is affordable. Anyone should be able to walk in Sanctuary and be able to afford something.
Q: Is there any brand or type of object that you would consider the most popular among your customers?
A: Absolutely our jewelry! It’s a great gift for anyone!
Q: How has your business grown in the last four years?
A: We started out very small always with the idea of growing larger and adding more artwork, more artists, more classes and more parties. I wish I had more space as we are always thinking up and trying out new ideas. Our next project is to offer online classes to allow our customers to take classes in the comfort of their own home.
Q: Does the business change at all during the Christmas season? Do you sell according to season?
A: Not really. Everything is always handmade in our gallery, even in the rush of Christmas. We certainly offer seasonal items but nothing manufactured.
Q: What is it about your business that makes it stand out from the rest?
A: We truly do support local artisans. We try very hard to support handmade, which is a dying concept. We want to bring back the beautiful art of creating things “from scratch” and the appreciation of what goes into that. Artists get overlooked so often since we live in the age of import and export. Our goal is reintroduce handmade and bring back a demand for it.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: Discovering new artists. But the most amazing part is calling a new artist and letting them know they just had their first sale. That’s a great feeling.
Q: What is a favorite memory you have of your experience here with the Sanctuary of Davidson?
A: I have so many! But the most amazing is having locals come into the gallery and thank me for opening The Sanctuary and how much they love it and appreciate it. That’s a great feeling!