How Passions for Art and Travel created an Online Small Business

Posted by Siobhan Hitchmough
Jeff Vanderpool

In this customer spotlight we speak with Jeff who manages an online store along with his wife, Bonnie, who sell licensed artwork from around the world.

Hello to all of our inFlow partners. I am Jeff Vanderpool, and I am the founder and Creative Director for Island Art and Treasures. Founded in 2007, we are a growing business specializing in Caribbean and Island themed art. After repeated trips throughout the Caribbean, my wife Bonnie and I began seeking a way to combine our two passions, travel and art. A few months later the plan for IAT was born and was quickly set in motion.

Jeff and Bonnie from My Island Art

Buying and re-selling art and paintings is actually only a small part of what we do. On a larger scale we license certain images with local artists, and we produce an expanding line of home and gift products using these images. With over 120 different products in inventory, a proper controls and tracking system is essential. We were excited to find inFlow, and quickly found that it passed the test!

What products or services does your business offer?

At Island Art & Treasures, one of our objectives is to introduce the art and artisans of the islands to a larger audience. We do this largely through a series of licensed products that we produce using the artists’ original works, in a unique and creative way. Our line started simply enough with a single set of stoneware coasters and a series of Art Cards. We have expanded aggressively each year since. We have recently introduced a successful line of Ceramic Tile based products, including a beautiful Wrought Iron Table and Wooden Jewelry Boxes. Recently a customer purchased one of the Jewelry Boxes with a tranquil beach scene for use as a Memorial Urn for a loved one. We were flattered and honored to be selected.

What are some day to day challenges you face?

As I said earlier, with a growing catalog of products, we need a reliable system of controls for tracking our sales and inventory. Previously, we had relied on a complex Excel spreadsheet to track customers, inventory, pricing, and sales.  We soon discovered this was not a long term solution. inFlow was the perfect solution to our needs as a small business. inFlow Inventory has more than enough ‘guts’ to perform all our tracking, reporting, and ordering needs. We can, at a glance, see where we’ve been, and even more importantly, where we’re going. Plus the customizable features allow us to put a professional image in front of our customers. From Proposals, Vendor Purchase Orders, Customer Sales Orders, Packing Slips, Invoices, and Receipts, we now have a cohesive look and feel to everything we do.
My Island Art Artowrk

What advice could you give to other small businesses?

Our advice to the budding small business person is to look for help to do the things you don’t want to do, which will free you up to do what it is you do best. I was getting frustrated spending valuable time trying to write an Excel matrix for inventory and database controls. I wasted countless hours that could have been best used on the creative front. Now with inFlow, our wheels are no longer spinning!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

For more information on Island Art & Treasures, feel free to check out our site at www.MyIslandArt.com You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MyIslandArt or follow our daily tweets on Twitter @MyIslandArtJeff Also be sure to follow our blog posts at www.blog.MyIslandArt.com. You can also get in touch with me directly at jvbythesea@myislandart.com.

Our experience with InFlow has been nothing but positive. inFlow has been invaluable in helping a small operation keep track operations, sales, and accounting, at an affordable price. Thank you for your great product!

Siobhan Hitchmough

About Siobhan Hitchmough

Siobhan Hitchmough is a customer advocate, community manager and part-time tutorial wrangler. When she's not seeking out new challenges she leads the community and support team at inFlow Inventory.

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