Lots of local businesses are treading water in the time of COVID-19, and for DIY artspaces that operate month-to-month, trying to stay solvent right now also requires an extra level of creativity.
Case in point—DIY gallery and venue Etiquette. We've mentioned it before as a more democratic alternative to Santa Fe's often astronomically expensive gallery scene, and curator/co-founder Drew Lenihan has put together some of the most memorable shows in town over the last few years (Jared Weiss, anyone? Daniel McCoy?).
But as the shelter-in-place order was handed down and Etiquette faced stark new realities about hosting events, Lenihan and partner Kevin Doria had little choice but to kick an in-progress project into high gear. Their new online consignment shop Fake Cowboy is ready to go. Granted, Lenihan and Doria had to pull the trigger a little sooner than they'd have hoped, but with online infrastructure already in place, they're accepting donations and consignment items now.
"We were starting an online shop anyway, and now with this [COVID-19] situation, we're trying to build it up through people's need to donate things and not having access to Goodwill or Saver's right now," says Lenihan.
For donations, this means curbside pickup, which starts by contacting Doria and Lenihan through their website, fakecowboy.com. Together, you'll decide best practices for a safe pickup, though Fake Cowboy mandates all items be placed in a bag and left outside so as to eliminate contact. From there, they'll leave items outside for 24 hours before washing, steaming and otherwise sterilizing them with industrial grade tools. Then it hits the online storefront.
"We're definitely focused on clothing, but we have sections for jewelry, books, objects and other stuff," Lenihan explains. "We're just getting started, but there's a lot of potential there."
Indeed. The online shop's only been open a few weeks and there are already countless affordable looks to be thrown together from its offerings.
"Another idea would be to work with artists we know or would like to get to know for editions of prints or short runs or T-shirt designs," Doria adds, "especially right now when artists can't really have shows and visibility is tough."
There's also the option for consigning items, and both Lenihan and Doria say they'll work with potential consigners to work out a fair exchange. Any items not chosen for immediate sale will be stored and dealt with at a later date; neither Lenihan nor Doria wants items winding up in the trash.
"We're not throwing anything that can be used into a landfill," Lenihan says. "We're going to upcycle at a later date."
As for that later date, Lenihan and Doria are excited to throw together potential pop-ups and more of the artist events for which Etiquette is known.
"We can't wait to actually open this place up," Doria says. "Once we're able to that, that's something exciting."
Oh, and they'll deliver locally and ship nationally.
"All of the money we make through this is going to help with [the Etiqutte] rent," Lenihan says. "It all goes to help save our art gallery."
Catch Fake Cowboy on Instagram, too.