Jill Fitz Hirschbold in Side Street Studio on Oak Bay Avenue, which offers works from 200 different B.C. artists. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Jill Fitz Hirschbold in Side Street Studio on Oak Bay Avenue, which offers works from 200 different B.C. artists. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Online sales steady the ship at Oak Bay’s Side Street Studio

34-year-old store now sells work of 200 B.C. artists

The owner of the Side Street Studio in Oak Bay is grateful for the online business that allowed her to weather the COVID-19 storm.

Jill Fitz Hirschbold became the fourth owner of the 34-year-old Side Street Studio on Oak Bay Avenue in 2017

The store reopened on May 26, though Fitz Hirschbold considers it a blessing that the previous owners had catalogued everything online and that she was able to continue to offer the works of more than 200 B.C. artists.

“I do ship all over the world but mostly Canada and B.C., and if you order locally, I deliver it free,” she said. “During the break, I was in the store every week, just me, shipping orders.”

On the shelves are nametags for each artist including where they’re from in B.C., as about 200 artists are impressively showcased in the small shop. It features everything from handmade jewelry, pottery, glass art, woodworking, textiles, photography (including Fitz Hirschbold’s own abstract photos on glass and refinished palettes), gift cards and more.

The artists range from 19 to 91 years in age.

READ ALSO: Saanich artists open their doors for Hills to Shores Studio Tour

“I couldn’t have uploaded all of it online if I had started at COVID-19,” Fitz Hirschbold said. “When the [shutdown] happened, online sales went up. Every artist has a unique code, a unique style. It’s quite the process to photograph and catalogue each of them. And I started with zero [experience] with social media.”

Over the last two years Fitz Hirschbold has completely renovated the store. She also expanded the range of handcrafted work and added the work from about 100 artists, including Indigenous art. There are hundreds of earrings in the store in wood, glass and silver.

Before she took to photography, Fitz Hirschbold had a career in environmental science where she managed a team of 50 people. Some of the skills translate, but working in retail is still something new, she said.

Fitz Hirschbold’s own photos are popular and hang on many walls in town. She typically shoots landscapes and abstract pieces, such as a rusted belt of an oil tanker, and gives them added life on old and reclaimed wood. As of lately, she’s put her works on glass prints.

Fitz Hirschbold’s journey into the art scene started with showing her work at the Sooke Fine Arts show and local studio tours and led to more. At a pop-up show in 2017 another photographer mentioned he was representing the listing for the Side Street Studio business.

“They didn’t know it was me even though my [photography] gift cards, and prints, had been selling in the store for a few years,” Fitz Hirschbold said. “Being an artist myself, on the other side of the cabinet, I can appreciate what it’s like for artists. They trust me in the store to represent them.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Art

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A rider crosses a “skinny” on the newly opened trail known as 90s Jank, built within the Hartland system by volunteers with the South Island Mountain Bike Society. (Youtube/MTB Matt)
Mountain bikers celebrate first new trail in years on Saanich’s Mount Work

90s Jank trail a product of licence agreement between CRD and mountain bike society

Fire crews respond to the 3500-block of Blanshard Street in Saanich on April 16. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: BC Hydro crews repairing failed electrical equipment in Saanich

Vernon Avenue reopen to traffic following closure

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
Extinction Rebellion activists march from Vancouver to Victoria this weekend

The four-day trek ends at the B.C. legislature Monday, protest province’s environmental policy

The hiring of out-of-province workers by the Canadian Red Cross to staff the vaccination centre in Langford has raised eyebrows. (Black Press Media file photo)
Red Cross hires out-of-province workers to staff Langford vaccination centre

Staffer worries local jobs weren’t offered to local people

The District of Saanich announced April 12 that the Cedar Hill Golf Course clubhouse would remain closed for at least six months for repairs after a flood on Feb. 14 caused by faulty sprinklers. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Faulty sprinklers to blame for second Cedar Hill Golf Course clubhouse closure in just over a year

Saanich facility facing six-month shutdown for flood repairs, course not impacted

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $83M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Most Read