The artists at Kan Du Studio are expanding their offerings. While the studio’s iconic stars continue to be popular, graphic t-shirts and cell phone PopSockets (available on Amazon),scarves, rugs and dog leashes are all in the works. “We’re always looking for ways to grow and to do something different,” said Mike Chiarelli, CEO of the Kan Du Group.
The studio’s partnership with Amazon provides an exciting opportunity for Kan Du artists to sell their artwork to a broader audience. About 10 artists work with instructor B.J. DeLong to create a variety of one-of-a-kind graphic designs through Merch by Amazon, a print-on-demand platform. Customers can order these designs printed on t-shirts and PopSockets through Amazon’s website. Artists receive the proceeds from their sales.
“I was impressed with how many shirts they sold over the holiday season,” said Chiarelli. “The artists are constantly working on new designs and tracking which designs are most popular.”
Trying new things
Kan Du Studio artists are also experimenting with looms to make scarves and potholders. “We have ordered a big loom that will enable the artists to create larger items like rugs,” said Chiarelli.
Looking ahead to summer, the Kan Du Studio will have a presence at the Hancock County Farmer’s Market, and artists are brainstorming new items— like dog leashes— to sell at the booth.
Kan Du’s mission is to “promote the independence, community integration and employability of adults with developmental disability,” explains Chiarelli. “Our (artists) want everything we want in life, and it’s our goal to provide that.”