On June 13 and 14, from noon – 6 pm, InLiquid presents Art for the Cash Poor 16. This year, Go Mad for Art as the three-day event includes all the elements that drive us crazy-in-love with Philadelphia’s creative sector. Over 100 arts vendors will be twisting every medium imaginable into jewelry, photography, printmaking, graphic art, painting, sculpture, and more.
Local small business Philadelphia Independents gives local artists a permanent home to sell their wares. Co-founder Ashley Peel Pinkham gives a rundown on how the shop started in an interview below.
Can you tell me more about Philadelphia Independents?
Philadelphia Independents is a store in Old City I founded in 2014 with my two partners, Tiffica Benza and Jennifer Provost. Our store features handmade items by local artists including jewelry, ceramics, prints, housewares, baby gifts and more!
You’re one of the founders of the store. How did the idea for opening up the business come about?
In 2012 I started my own line of jewelry, INDICAN, and started selling at local craft shows and markets. I loved making and selling my jewelry and loved seeing all of the gifted makers that were selling next to me. After a year of selling, I started to think how I could do this full time. At the same time my two friends were thinking about opening a store so we all discussed how we could work together on this. We discussed my experience with selling at markets and how customers really seemed to respond to buying locally made goods and the store grew out of that idea! We have now grown the store to over 70 makers and my studio is in the back of the store so I can keep on making jewelry too!
Your store features only handmade items by local artisans. How do you go about finding the artists you wish to feature?
There are a lot of ways we go about finding artists. We continue to sell at local craft shows so we are always checking out makers there. We look on Etsy by doing a search for Philadelphia makers. People also contact us directly via email or walk-ins. Word of mouth is always a good way too – one of our artists knows an artist, etc. The easiest way for people to reach us is via email and send along some images or a link to their website or Etsy page. We all make decisions together so being able to discuss via email when we are not all physically together makes it very easy.
Do you think participating in an arts fair as a business rather than an individual artist creates a different dynamic with the customers?
Last fall, the store started sharing a booth with INDICAN which has been fun but perhaps a little harder to explain to customers which is which. People presume that I make everything at the booth in which I tell them that I’m talented, but not THAT talented!
Have you ever participated in Art for the Cash Poor before? If so, what were your impressions?
I have participated in Art for the Cash Poor since 2013 so this will be fun to participate as the store rather than just my jewelry. I always love the mix of makers, music and food and it draws a different audience than other craft shows in the area.
What are you looking forward to most about this year’s Art for the Cash Poor?
I’m always looking forward to seeing new makers on the scene each year. Since this will be Philadelphia Independents debut at Art for the Cash Poor, I’m looking forward to sharing our store to a new audience!