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Melody and Adrienne the producers of Artisan Cafe

 Photo: Adrienne Cole

Image[Melody Joy Short facebookpage]

 I came across Melody  Joy Short and Adrienne Cole while reading Essence Magazine March issue  and I knew that I wanted to know more about these women who are both Virgina natives. and are the producers of Artisian Cafe. here is our exclusive

acandme1.jpgKSY:How did the idea come about to start the Artisan Cafe?

MS: Short’s hospitality background contributes to her keen ability to recognize what brings people together. Soon after her return to Virginia, she realized that her hometown’s art district had a strong pulse—it had not deteriorated, as she’d feared. It was clear that the natural synergy between life and art existed in many pockets throughout the city. the ARTisan Café promised to connect them under a single roof. Short’s passion for unique, eclectic, independent artistry, her eye for the exquisite, and her outright love for community input and involvement pushed her to unite the River City in the name of creativity. The MJS Collection is founded on her strong community principles.  

AC: Melody had the fabulous idea and she presented it to me to maximize it and partner on how to make it work in Richmond. We have grown the idea and concept together ever since.

KSY:How did this partnership form between Yourself and Adrienne Cole? what are your roles in the Cafe?

 MS: A mutual friend connected us upon my return to Richmond which allowed us to spend time together socially. As a result of the time spent, I recognized many of Adrienne's strengths professionally, her community ties, and her commitment to Richmond, VA. The optimism she exuded and her commitment to rebuild, revive and re-energize Richmond, VA was attractive from a business standpoint and quite contagious. I worked up the nerve to present the initial concept for the ARTisan Cafe to Adrienne and expressed how honored I'd be if she partnered with me in creating this platform for artist, local business owners & ; the City of Richmond. She said YES! Adrienne and I are both creative people so a select few of our tasks may overlap however I manage the operations of the cafe and Adrienne manages the business development and marketing components of the cafe.

With a focus on Business growth, I spend a lot of time on strategic risks and creative innovation for the ARTisan Cafe. I like to look at what we are doing well, and figure out how to do it better or best. The arts and culture fanatic in me is very drawn to the artisans and their products, offering business ideas and approaches as they arise.

KSY:How would you describe Artisan Cafe? and what type of merchandise do you sell?

MS and AC: the ARTisan Café is an indoor lifestyle shopping affair featuring a curated selection of visual art, literature, home decor, wine, food, clothing, accessories, natural hair and bodycare, etc. Live music complete the creative ambience, allowing shoppers to listen to beauty as they survey it.  

KSY:Who are the 20 Artist that are featured at Artisan Cafe? what type of merchandise did they create to be placed in the Cafe?
MS and AC: In response to the amazing demand we've received from artist and local business owners, we've recently increased the number of featured artist to up to 35 per cafe. The artist create and sell visual art, jewelry, clothing, literature, food, wine, pastries, home decor items, cosmetics, hair &; skincare products, handbags + accessories, etc. Typically 85% of the artist are locally based but we also have feature artist travel from NY, Philadelphia, DC and Atlanta.

KSY:What are five things you all can't live with out?

MS: Family/ friends, music, roadtrips, amazing wine/ food, cultural experiences

Loved ones
Rich experiences
God-centered/spiritual base

KSY:What is Your vision for A.C? where do see yourselves and A.C. five years from

MS & AC: My vision for the ARTisan Cafe is to provide economic sustainability opportunities for artist and local business owners + provide tourist and locals with a social experience that supports the local economy of Richmond, VA. In five years I see the ARTisan Cafe as a conduit of change within the local arts community which welcomes art in all of its forms and provides a consistent platform of commerce for local business owners and artist.

KSY:How often do you selected artist to sell there merchandise at A.C. and How often do you rotate merchandise to give other artist a chance to be featured?

MS & AC: the ARTisan Cafe currently operates as a quarterly affair, and artist are selected to feature at each cafe held in March, June, September + December. Featured artist are rotated based on category representation and artist demand.

Photo: Julian Greene  returns to The ARTisan Cafe - Richmond, VA to feature his amazing gift of artistry. Add a Julian Greene piece of art to your walls to give depth and vibrance to your home, office or even as a gift and you will surely be the talk of the town.  For more information on Julian Greene's art please join us at the Summer Edition of The ARTisan Cafe| Saturday, June 16th | 6- 10pm | The Plant Zero Arts Complex | 0 East. 4th St. | Richmond, VA 23224 - we'd love to see you there!!
Image [Melody Short Facebook Page] featured artist Julian Green


 KSY:How do you balance your day job's and A.C.?

MS: I am a mother, daughter, sister, friend, Operatons Manager for a corporate housing facility in Washington, DC + an entrepreneur/ business partner. Managing the many hats is truly a result of God's grace. That is the only way it's possible for me to keep things in order.

Virtual Self, LLC is 5 years old and is a full time endeavor for me. However, I work part-time hours for 7 months of the year to assist with stability and consistency. As with anything, time management and organization can make or break you. It is a must have in order to be successful!

KSY:What is the most rewarding part of A.C.?

MS: The most rewarding part of producing the ARTisan Cafe is providing a platform for business owners to to share their gift of creativity with the world and generate income that will assist with taking care of their families in the process of doing so. Contributing to the growth of our city through revitalization efforts that are inclusive and give opportunity to the underrepresented artists and undercapitalized entrepreneur. In addition, watching my 4yr old daughter get excited about the cafe and share info on the cafe with anyone we meet in passing, I love it!  Inspiring others to take the leap of faith to pursue your passions.  

there are too many rewarding aspects of the AC to name. What I will highlight is the overall impact that I have witnessed the AC have on the city. From artisans, to attendees, creatives, and the city as a whole -- the Artisan Cafe is truly a unique experience that Richmond had not experienced. To hear the feedback of attendees and participants is priceless. From Cafe visitors, business owners, Creatives, and artisans. By offering a platform and opportunity for exposure and support, the Cafe served dual purpose and all parties succeed. The Creative and the Consumer. THIS impact is quite rewarding to me.

KSY:If you could offer advice to someone who wanted to follow in you all footsteps what would you tell them?
MS: Explore what you are passionate about and turn that into a profitable venture. 

I believe that many bright ideas get stuck in thought and consideration, and rarely get moved to a productive place of action. My advice is to let go of fear, and grab courage by the horns. Just do it!

KSY:Tell us about the MJS Collection?
MS:The MJS Collection's mission is to provide signature events that cater to Richmond's diverse and imaginative artisan community, providing a vehicle to drive their talents and skills into the community lives. Dedicated to fair trade and environmentally conscious artisans and patrons, the MJS Collection trusts that its signature event, the ARTisan Café will weave the threads of economic sustainability and growth into the community that bore its creation.

  Virtual Self, LLC is my company and through it I offer consulting and project management services to creative business owners and creative artisans. Services vary, but are mainly organizational, strategic, marketing related, or community connecting projects. My objective is to provide essential professional services at reasonable cost, thus enabling entrepreneurs to focus on their craft while my company handles much of the rest. The Artisan Cafe was a perfect fit for my client portfolio, and partnering with The MJS Collection is providing exc

KSY:What is next for AC? do you have any upcoming events or projects?

MS and AC:  The ARTisan Café will transition from a quarterly event into a retail space that offers a permanent home for underrepresented artists and undercapitalized entrepreneurs.  In doing so, we aim to revitalized the retail experience in downtown Richmond while giving balance to the arts community in our City.  In addition, we are exploring the requests of other cities to take the café on the road

Image[M.J.S. Facebook page] at latest event Plant Zero Arts Center

 Special thanks to Melody and Adrienne for doing this Exclusive with me.

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