Following this new trend, a group of 30 entrepreneurs got together shortly after the Movement Control Order was announced, to see how they can get a share of the online market. Thus, the idea of forming The Artisans Haven was born, and it now has 60 tenants as of August 1, with the number targeted to reach 100 by end of August, and 500 for 2021.
The Artisans Haven is a virtual real estate with artisan and retail stores and bazaar; it features unique, good quality products from talented artisans, retailers and entrepreneurs. Besides that, it has attractions that include a ‘happyness’ retreat, adventure park, a convention center, auditoriums and study abroad campus.
Its activities bring together people with interests in self-development, education, arts and handicraft, adventure and entertainment. An office block with a penthouse for tenants to offer their professional services, and a cinema, are being planned.
The Artisans Haven is keen to promote local artists who are given their virtual art galleries, which the mall management is considering giving rent-free. This is not an e-commerce portal, it does not take any percentage of tenants’ sales.
“Our focus is to build awareness of our tenants and their products and services,’’ said curator Jade Lee.
How it works?
Marketing is done mainly on Facebook where its reach has just crossed 100,000 with a 15% engagement. This will be stepped up 10 times when the digital campaign kicks off in September.
“People buy products from artisans because they see the passion and hear the story behind each person. We take the effort to delve into their stories and share them on our blogs, postings and website,’’ said Lee.
Rental is RM200 per month, and is used largely to promote the digital mall on social media, with 12% spent on operations. For artisans and young entrepreneurs, this rental amount is insufficient to generate awareness on social media and create traffic.
“We are pooling the resources of artisans, retailers and entrepreneurs to help each other make an impact in the digital world,’’ said Lee.
The founders Jade Lee and Rosalie Lin, together with the team at Artisans Digital Mall Sdn Bhd are working pro bono, using their expertise, network and resources to connect the tenants with the right relations within the virtual mall. All the vendors and agencies also do not charge much fees; more rentals collected will be spent on marketing activities.
“With our experience, we want to help with low cost promotions and placement opportunities at the mall, and advice on making the sales process simple, safe and customer friendly,’’ said Lee.
Lee, with 40 years of experience in financial institutions and Lin, marketing director of DCR Marketing Sdn Bhd that specialises in customer loyalty and marketing programs, had worked together during their tenure at RHB Bank.
A few other companies have also lent a helping hand, such as Malaysian Mosaics Bhd is virtually re-tiling the mall with their products and designs and Asian Esteem Industrial Sdn Bhd is decorating the art gallery and mall with their molded frames.
“While we are reaching out to our network, we hope more corporates will support us to promote our worthy artisans to the world,’’ said Lee.
Many parties have contributed to make The Artisans Haven work; a seasoned digital marketing and public relations agencies help to generate traffic to the mall. Freelance copywriters, videographers, designers and retired experts help to show the passion and share the beauty of the artisans’ works.
As The Artisans Haven grows in its sales, tenant base and exposure, its activities will also be bustling with lots of variety, fun and excitement.