Katie Wilson and Scott Grover opened Touch Art Supply in June of 2019. They had lived in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles for about six years and realized there isn't an art supply shop nearby. Since they are both artists with experience in retail, they decided to go for it.
They carry an assortment of products that range from essential to artist grade materials. Their product line is always expanding and they do their best to include beginners, children and professionals in their catalog.
In the age of COVID-19, running any business is challenging, and for the team at Touch Art Supply managing the retail operations has required pivoting and creative problem solving. "Here in Los Angeles, we've been in a hot spot since the beginning, and still aren't out of the woods yet," says Katie. "When we were first put under a Stay at Home order, we actually moved all of our inventory from Touch to our home, so we could still ship out Art Supply Care Packages to our customers."
Once they were allowed to open again, they put together a walk-up shop. They have a full display in their window and a little table with plexiglass in the doorway. "Customers walk right up and can order whatever they're looking for," says Wilson. "It's worked out well for us so far, and keeps us, our employees, and our customers safe. We're planning to stick to online and walk-up shopping until the numbers look a lot better around here."
Scott and Katie own two shops, Crush is an art-focused gift shop where they sell all sorts of fun stuff like greeting cards (including the ones we design at The Good Twin, my stationery company), art books, prints, jewelry, and a ton of plants, too. Crush and Touch are sister shops, they get a lot of customers that stop by Crush for gifts and then pop over to Touch to stock up on art supplies.
They opened Crush in 2018 and Touch in 2019, so it's been a hectic few years. Katie and Scott are both really passionate about creating beautiful environments and curating products for the shops.
"I think both stores are really special. Between the two of us, we have learned to build and paint almost every fixture we have - we've always been DIY and that's definitely helpful as a shop owner," Wilson says. "We also have a small team of incredible employees who help us keep everything running. It's so much work, but my job is finding cool products and learning about art supplies - can't get much better than that!""
For Katie, her favorite part about running the business is that she can curate the selection of products that they sell while also helping customers find the perfect supplies for a project.
"We recently started doing more demos on Instagram, so I've been playing around with all the different paints and pens that we sell, and it's a blast," says Wilson. "I went to school for illustration, so I do have a lot of experience drawing and painting, but I've branched out a lot since and now I have access to so many different mediums."
Turning to the sticker sheet, Katie shares a little bit about how she designed their sticker sheet and what she was looking to communicate with the art. "We sell a TON of stickers at Touch - we have a whole sticker section on our site," says Wilson. "We made this sticker sheet to celebrate our little shop, and so our customers could take a little piece of Touch home with them (it's also fun to send to our online customers, who often haven't been to shop in person yet)."
The sheet features Katie's drawing of the storefront, some of their favorite supplies, and their pug Peggy, who hangs out in the shop with Katie when she's working and likes to greet all their customers (unless she's napping). They sell stickers on their website, in their shop, and they have been known to include extra stickers with every order that they ship out. "I also like to keep some by the register to treat our customers who come to shop IRL," says Katie.
As if the last few years weren't busy enough, they've got some fun projects on the horizon. They are currently researching new supplies to add to the shop, as well as gearing up for the busy holiday season with new Touch-themed gifts coming soon, too).
"We're looking forward to opening our doors to customers who want to come inside - hopefully soon," Katie says. "Right now, we're just thankful that we've been able to make it through all this craziness - we are so grateful to all of our customers who have prioritized shopping small, they've kept us afloat."
TRY CUSTOM STICKER SHEETS