No doubts the Internet has helped artists all over the world to expose and sell their work nowadays. But unfortunately, it can also be difficult for Artists to build up a reputation in the industry and build relationships with art buyers and dealers if the artwork is not curated.
Spotting the gap in the market, Art Basket provides an entirely curated, high-quality online art shop that works as a physic art gallery to connect real art with real people.
Midlands Traveller: Tell me a little bit about your background in business.
Sophie Green: I am an artist myself, and so business was never a huge part of my life before setting up Art Basket.
I did learn a lot, however, about selling, marketing and branding by selling my own artwork over the years and this helped hugely when setting up the online gallery.
It has been a big learning curve for me, and I’ve absolutely embraced being an entrepreneur and learning to think in a completely different way.
MT: How did you come up with the idea of a business like yours?
SG: The art market has changed a lot over the past decade. Unfortunately, the high street seems to be dying and the buying and selling of art have started to move online.
There are quite a few large websites that allow artists to post their own artwork and sell for a small fee. This is great, as it offers artists an online portal to try and sell their work.
Unfortunately, however, none of the artwork is curated, and therefore it can be difficult for Artists to build up a reputation in the industry and build relationships with art buyers and dealers.
It was this gap in the market that inspired me to set up Art Basket; an entirely curated, high-quality online art shop, with the values of a traditional brick-and-mortar gallery.
MT: Tell me about Art Basket’s mission and what products and services do you offer?
SG: Our philosophy is to connect real art with real people. We carefully select the artwork that goes on the website and we aim to build relationships with both our Artists and our customers.
We help with our Artists’ professional development, promote all of our Artists and their work and hold pop-up art exhibitions to encourage real people to discover the amazing artwork that we have on offer. We also offer a bespoke service for customers looking to commission a piece of artwork, working alongside both the
Artist and the customer to create individual pieces of art. On top of all that, customers looking to fill a space with beautiful art can also use our personalised art consultation service to find artwork, and even the perfect frame, to suit their style.
MT: What is unique about your brand?
SG: I believe that it is this personalised approach to selling art that sets Art Basket apart from other online art stores. We build trust with our customers, something which was previously crucial when the art market was on the high street.
Our customers also trust that the service and products that they are receiving are of the highest standard.
MT: What is your kind of clientele?
SG: Art is so subjective, and therefore our demographic varies greatly. Botanical prints may be more popular with women, whereas our realistic animal paintings can be more popular with men.
We sell artwork for children’s bedrooms, which are normally snapped up by mothers, and we also sell giclée Star Wars prints for sci-fi obsessed men!
MT: What are the challenges of a business like yours?
SG: It’s always difficult to cut through the noise of large, international corporations when you’re running a smaller, more personal business.
Building up a customer base was difficult in the beginning, as people tend to turn to the bigger, well-known companies to buy artwork.
Once we built up a reputation as being a high-quality business, selling only the best products, however, our customer base grew, and we started to notice a high rate of returning customers too.
MT: How do you choose/create your products?
SG: Our artwork is all carefully chosen by our curators. We take into consideration the current interior design trends, current affairs and popular Artists within the art industry when deciding who to sell.
We take this very seriously, as we want to offer only the best to our customers. All of our artwork also goes straight from the Artist to the customer, allowing our Artists to build a relationship with their customers.
MT: How are social media (and e-commerce) important to the success of your business?
SG: Harnessing social media as a tool to create business has been one of the most important aspects of setting up Art Basket. In this day and age, social media allows you to reach potentially millions of people (for free) and build relationships with people with the click of a button.
Most of our customers follow us on at least one form of social media and many will see artwork that we post and buy it straight away. As Art Basket is an online art store, it has been crucial to network and engages with as many different people online as possible.
MT: What are the next steps for Art Basket?
SG: We’ve had a fantastic year and we hope to continue to grow and develop in 2019. We have several new Artists signing up with us in the new year and it would be fantastic to hold some more pop-up exhibitions in different locations around the country.
Art Basket on Social Media