From Februrary, 2006 to June, 2010 I owned and operated Gallery Athena.
Our first gallery was located in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. We later relocated the gallery to Wolfville which is about an hour outside of Halifax.
For both locations I was responsible for the renovation of our retail space. I worked mostly solo and executed complete interior design; retail display design; colour palette; and consistent branding.
And I did almost all of the renovation work myself.
Our second location featured a hidden, queen size Murphy bed, a full kitchen and a new customer bathroom that contained a hidden, handheld shower.
We were able to stay overnight during late evenings or bad weather (we lived about an hour away) We also leveraged the amenities to entertain locally.
Notice the beautiful display cabinets? I designed them from office furniture and created amazing jewellery displays at a fraction of the price.
And yes, I installed the flooring, lights, bathroom, kitchen etc… This location had been an abandoned fast food restaurant. You can see the befores and afters on my Interior Designer page.
When I wasn’t creating, building or working at the gallery, I was programming our full ecommerce website; GalleryAthena.com. Mastering OsCommerce and providing an integrated shopping experience in 2007 was a challenge, especially with very few mods written for Canadian sellers. However, my learning curves in PHP and OsCommerce have proved invalvuable in being able to quickly implement WordPress.
A little primitive looking now but pretty good for the time, I think.
Give it a click for a screenshot of ecommerce in 2008.
Ours was the only gallery in Nova Scotia with a 24/7 video display in the front window. Do not ask me how much the 36″ television cost at the time. It was attached to a DVD player playing a slideshow loop with images from our artists. Yes, I made all the slideshows too.
We played jazz classics both inside and outside the gallery. I concealed speakers in the outdoor canopy. Our clients loved the music and we never had a complaint at either location The music was a constant draw and set the tone for the gallery. It was as important as the visuals. Clients always recalled our artwork and the music. I created the playlist from my favourites songs.
I created a very chic but welcoming gallery. We had excellent taste without being pretentious. We showcased some of the top contemporary jewellers in Canada and our repeat business was excellent. I had a vision that I developed when the gallery was still just an abandoned store. Before I had even begun building it out, I had a floor style, lighting style and wall colours already picked out. Most importantly, the gallery matched our own esthetics and was an expression of us. In that regard, it was easy to maintain consistent branding and messaging.
For Valentines we hosted a show along with online sales of the same items. This was revolutionary for the time. Many of our clients were seasonal Americans so they loved having the chance to buy from us during a winter show.
I created this invitation. My Adobe skills are just not there but it worked…