Janice and Corey, co-owners of an art gallery, clothing and accessories shop in San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood, pride themselves on providing a space for local artists to shine. “We are really proud of the people we’ve been able to bring together,” says Janice. Since the store’s founding in 2006, Lower Haters has developed a dedicated following of artists, designers, friends, and fans.
Marketing and finding new customers is Lower Haters’ biggest challenge, according to Janice, but once people have visited they usually come back. All of the items found in Lower Haters are designed by local artists, so “people feel connected to every piece in here. The artists often stop by the store, and we end up becoming a big family.”
Janice and Corey further foster that sense of community by actively participating in the neighborhood merchant’s association, the Lower Haight Art Walk, and by transforming Lower Haters once a month for their late-night art receptions. In addition, they have begun hosting trunk shows where vendors are able to set up their own booths right in the shop, and interact directly with their customers.
Janice and Corey now want to add silk-screening to the list of services that they can offer. Up-and-coming artists, who may not be able to afford the higher cost of small run printing services offered by other companies, will be able to bring their designs to print at Lower Haters. Printed t-shirts will be sold directly in the store, or made for concerts and other promotional events.
But despite Lower Haters’ success and the new business that silk-screening will attract, Janice and Corey were unable to secure a small business loan from a traditional bank. With a $5,000 loan from Opportunity Fund, their local microlender, Janice and Corey will be able to purchase a used silkscreen machine and begin operating it at their store. They are excited about the collaborations this new equipment will allow them to pursue.
To find out more about Lower Haters and shop online, visit: http://lowerhater.com
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