Here is the next instalment in our stockist interview series. This week we chatted to Daniel from The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester.
1. Tell us a little about the history of the shop?
The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) opened its gift shop in 2013 when the centre rebranded from Chinese Arts Centre to CFCCA. The aim was to provide visitors with an opportunity to not only invest in the gallery but also to purchase unique items that relate to the gallery and its exhibitions. The shop’s offer is unique within Manchester and has supported work from regional as well as national and international suppliers. It was also launched in conjunction with CFCCA becoming a registered publisher of contemporary Chinese art publications.
2. How did you decide on the name?
The gift shop is part of Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art – the rebranded name for what was formerly Chinese Arts Centre. The change in name was to reflect our renewed focus to a future-facing contemporary art gallery focus; looking at what China culture means today and moving away from more reductive traditional views of China.
3. What products could we expect to find in the shop today?
We stock a range of products ranging from jewellery, stationary, apparel and affordable gifts. The items we stock come from independent suppliers and relate to the three strands of our shop remit:
- East Asian twist
- Design Led
Items on sale currently include organic Chinese home and kitchenware, Chineasy products for learning Mandarin, Chinese designed contemporary jewellery from I Am Acrylic and Jen & Tonic, political campaign t-shirts from Chinese designer Wu Tun and a series of stationary by Manchester based Chinese artist Lydia Meiying.
We also have a renewed focus to present stock that directly relates to our exhibition. For example the RECLAIM bag range ties in with the sustainable and environmental focus of the Micro Micro Revolution exhibition which presented environmental and socially engaged art projects from Taiwan.
In 2016 we will also be launching our print shop as part of our 30 year anniversary programme with celebrated local artist Stanley Chow.
4. How would you describe your typical customer?
Being based in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter we attract a lot of the young urban cultural crowd – generally aged 20-mid 30s and living, working and spending leisure time in the city centre. We also attract a strong national and international tourist audience who are attracted to the gallery’s internationally facing programme. We are also currently developing our programme to attract a more mature audience of potential patrons.
5. How do you find brands to stock in the shop?
Ongoing research informs artists we work with. We try and match all suppliers and products to our three strands of our shop remit and ensure we have a broad price range from affordable low cost items to more boutique or collectible items. As of October 2015 we will also be issuing regular call outs for independent suppliers to propose new exclusive stock to tie in with our programme.
6. If designers want to pitch their products to you, what is the best way to get in touch?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with images and descriptions of your work and how it meets the following criteria:
- East Asian twist