Business Spotlight: Artisan Elements

To walk through the doors of the Artisian Elements Collective at 77 Southwest Street (Route 281), directly across from the High School, is to walk into a cornucopia of artistic crafting and health-related gifts and services unlike anything you will find in Homer.  Or anywhere else in Cortland County for that matter.  Owner and soul propreitor Amber Oursler says, “This was always my dream, to have a place where artists of every kind could have a place to sell their goods and gifts.”

Where does this passion for artistic expression and talent come from?  “My passion for art of all mediums has been something I’ve known my whole life. My passion for starting my own business comes from my daughter, Koelynne.”  Initially trained and educated at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a major in Interior Design and Archecture, and a minor in Psychology, Amber shifted to psychology fully, receiving her degree and actually practiced for fifteen years before returning to her first love, art, in all its facets.

The original location for her store was going to be in the old Cresent Commons building in Cortland, but the COVID pandemic hit and plans for that location collapsed.  From there she moved to the corner of James Street and Rt 281.  “I loved that location in the beginning but it just wasn’t big enough to fit all of the things i wanted to do,” she recalls.  “Where we are now allows us to offer so many other great health-related goods and services and art.”

She has a moveable handicapped ramp to allow access to the many different rooms and areas of her new, multi-level facility.  Shelves, tables and creatively laid out display areas offering a wide variety of handmade goods, from clothing, ceramics, jewelry, candles, therapeutic oils and lotions are just a few of the many types of goods you will find throughout the many rooms on the main floor.

“Everything here is handmade,” she says.  “We have artists and craftspeople from right here in Homer, Tully and all over Central New York, the Adirondacks and as far away as Rochester.  All of our artists and practioners are within New York State.  We have no one from outside the state.”

Amber is a firm believer in supporting locally owned businesses and finding great gifts and services right here in our own back yard.  “We need to support our local business community,” she says, with great passion.  “People think its easier to just go on line and buy something when, for all they know, they could have bought the same thing, and better quality, right here in Homer. And when they do that, they are supporting their own community.”

A significant and rather unique feature of Artisan Elements business structure is that the vendors rent space in the facility.  All profits go to them.

“We are not a consignment or commissioned-based type  business,” she says.  100% of the sales item or service purchase price goes to the vendor.  “I just wasn’t comfortable with the idea of taking other artists money,” says Amber.  “I didn’t make the product.  They did.  They diserve all the money.”

When I asked her to describe, not just her business model, but also her mission statement Amber leaned back against the counter and thought for a moment.  When she had it clear she pushed away and proudly proclaimed, “I wanted a place that would employ people and their families that create products and services that they would be proud to sell in their own community.”

The goal of Artisan Elements is also to create a very eclectic space that is not over-loaded with too much of the same thing.  She insists that no more than two of any kind of grafted goods or services be in the store. She currently has a waiting list of vendors eager to come on board.

Feeling a little run down, or in need of a massage, foot therapy, emotional cleansing or good yoga class?  Artisan Elements has all that and much more.  “We also have people that give music lessons,” says Amber.

There are also community rooms available for meetings that have involved Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, readings and lectures, as well as space for AA and other substance abuse and support programs.

“I wanted to create something that gives back to the Homer community that has given me so much.,” says Amber, with an emotional timber in her voice that was potent.  “The people of Homer reached out to me when I need them most.  I was overwhelmed by their love and generosity.  Art heals and gives back so much.  That’s what I wanted Artisan Elements to do for Homer.”

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