When we first wanted to start an eco-friendly artists’ paint company, we visited a couple of local Toronto art supply stores to see if our concept made sense to retailers. Our intention was to start with watercolor paint, then launch our oil paint and other visual art media that met our vegan and earth-friendly standards.
We were told by one proprietor that watercolor was a dying medium. She had us look at her shrinking display of watercolor paint tubes (behind the cashier, and next to a low-end brand). But, as an artist myself, that just didn’t make sense. How can any medium in the visual arts ‘die’? Maybe in the art supply, retail storefront world it does, but not according to my Twitter feeds. I regularly get hundreds of watercolor paint ‘tweets’ of artists all over the world tweeting their beautiful watercolor art every day.
Through social media, we have connected with artists like J.Muir, Ashesela K, and G. Papadakis who have used our watercolors to create stunning works of art. We also know, due to popular publications like Watercolor Artist Magazine who will feature our watercolors in their February 2014 issue, that watercolors are still a highly significant medium among visual artists.
We were a little surprised at how reluctant retailers were to offer their customers anything new. They wanted to maintain their current stock of the same familiar brands that they knew would always sell. But, where was the spirit of competition? What about offering customers the best, most innovative and eco-friendly products they could source? Why would a retailer actually set out to restrict the choices they offer their loyal customers?
We travelled across the west coast, from California to British Columbia, and we heard the same message. Although many retailers considered our watercolors to be a great idea, they didn’t want to stray from the same handful of suppliers that everyone was carrying, even when their competitors were literally across the street.
Undeterred, we continue our search to find retailers who are brave and cutting edge, and therefore willing to carry our brand. Edgmon Art and Mudtown Art Supplies are two innovative retailers who are willing to offer their customers Colors of Nature watercolor paints along with the other great products they carry. These retailers embody the perfect fusion of enterprise, eco-consciousness and ethics that makes them willing to provide artists with cruelty-free and environmentally sound options.
The internet has also proven time and again to be our greatest ally in providing eco-conscious artists real choices for their art supplies. We have been in the organic and natural market for close to a decade, and we know that many retailers are still slow to pick up on the growing demand for green’ products, opting instead for limited offerings that are often ‘pseudo-green’ corporate versions of the real thing. In the meantime, we are happy to offer you, and other artists also interested in a healthier planet, free samples and great deals at Colors of Nature!