Outdoor Furnishings

As summer turns to autumn, backyards, gardens and patios are in high demand for gatherings, cookouts or just quiet moments to oneself. We’ve gathered a selection of outdoor accessories that will help your customers beautify and personalize their at-home escapes.

The Essentials of E-Marketing

One of the greenest—and smartest— ways to amp up your marketing strategy this year is to create an online presence, or improve your existing one. Electronic marketing will cut down on your paper trail and increase your return on investment for each dollar you spend. We asked Thomas Harpointner, CEO of e-business solutions provider AIS Media in Atlanta, Ga., what small retailers need to know before developing an online strategy this summer.

Toby Atticus Fraley

“Picnic jugs were never meant to be attached to vacuum cleaners in a sturdy, yet visually appealing way,” Toby Atticus Fraley admits. But his robots (simply named and numbered in order of appearance) certainly have a life of their own, and are found in complicated—and often entertaining— poses. One swims with fish while capturing it on 8mm film, another stands firm with a space gun, and a third hikes with a pool cue and backpack.

Laura Reese

“From the moment I touched Play-Doh as a kid, art has always been my favorite subject,” says mixed-media artist Laura Reese. Although her calling was clear from the start, her upbringing in a family of doctors initially pushed her to explore a more “marketable” career.

Reese entered the University of North Carolina Wilmington as an art history major, transferring after two years to Tulane University in New Orleans to pursue architecture. There, she took her first courses in ceramics, but pressed on to graduate in 1998 with a master’s degree in architecture.

Karen Klinefelter

Sometimes inspiration is right under your feet. That’s exactly how jeweler Karen Klinefelter designed her Mesh series. “It all stemmed from a piece of rusted metal mesh I found on the road while running one day,” she explains. Intrigued by its texture and geometry, Klinefelter took it home with the intention of hanging it on the wall. “It had a fabric-like quality,” she says. “I wondered what it would look like cast, and decided to sacrifice a small piece to make a mold.” The resulting sterling silver and 18kt gold castings have a beautiful finish and a soft texture.

Reclaim, Reuse, Recycle

One man’s trash is another man’s profit. With more artists choosing to use reclaimed and recycled materials in their work, stocking your store with environmentally friendly craft has never been easier. We’ve gathered work—grouped into four categories—from 18 studios that are going green with everything from newspaper cosmetic cases to traffic sign clipboards.

The Rise of the Eco-Savvy Customer

Eunice Wallar wasn’t sure what to expect from her call for entries to “Think Green,” a juried show in May featuring work inspired by nature, environmental issues and recycled materials at Waverly House Gifts and Gallery in Springfield, Mo. First, she was surprised by a record-breaking 108 entries (with 52 works from 42 artists making the cut). Then came opening night.

The Eco-nomics of Greening a Gallery

As an American craft retailer, you are already part of the “go green” movement, even if you don’t realize it. Selling unique, handcrafted work confirms the importance of investing in sustainability—these items are far more likely to be passed down for generations, avoiding the landfill.