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New national website helping budding NZ artists

Media release – May 31, 2006

New national website helping launch careers of budding NZ artists


A new national website launching careers of budding New Zealand artists and craft people has become a huge success in just a few months.

eCraft.co.nz is a 100 percent web-based business to help people break into the arts world through buying and selling.

The site, run by Bay of Plenty businesswoman Sheryl Byrne, has already received more than two million hits and 2000 listings and sales since launching some months ago.

Nine out of ten New Zealanders (87.5 percent) are now involved in the arts as participants and / or as audience members, according to a recent report released by Creative New Zealand.

``I have always had an insatiable interest in the arts and crafts,’’ eCraft director Sheryl Byrne said today.

``I was originally inspired by a couple of incredibly talented creative women but they were on a limited financial budget. The effort they had to put in just to sell one item seemed disproportionate to what they were making financially.

``It dawned on me that these mothers, and other artists, whether established or emerging, could benefit from having an online outlet, exclusively designed to sell their New Zealand art and craft. ‘’

Byrne said her aim was to draw all of NZ’s talented people together into one big market place, and provide a one-stop-experience for the buyers.

The website concept started out as an online ‘craft market’ for buyers and sellers but it has already evolved into something rather more sophisticated.

Growth of e-commerce and the phenomenal growth in the arts and crafts industry in NZ meant the timing was perfect to launch.

``There is exhaustive talent in New Zealand and a real ‘do it yourself, give it a go’ mentality. I believe the growth in the arts and crafts in this country is just the old ‘number eight wire’ philosophy evolving with the next generation of New Zealanders.

``We have found the art market has bounced back to buck the trend of any softening in the economy. The art market remains buoyant and has in some instances strengthened dramatically.’’

The market rebounded so strongly after a soft 2005, which is testament to a positive outlook from buyers and also an increasing willingness on behalf of vendors to meet the market.

ENDS

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