In providing artists a venue to showcase their work, Julian and John opened their gallery Outlet Fine Art in Brooklyn, New York. In addition, they launched an online shop to offer artworks to audiences everywhere, and showcase local artists to an international audience. We meet Julian and John in their gallery to learn more about their story.
“There are a couple things in the backend that are really helpful for us. One of these is the tax matrix - so we are not sitting around trying to calculate, but it is already baked into the software.”
- John Silvers, Outlet Fine Art
What is at the heart of your business?
John: We started our gallery three years ago in a district east of Manhattan. It is an area where a distinct community of artists and galleries are based. I always wanted to have a gallery myself, because that way I can bring art together as well as gather ideas together in art.
Julian: I also love working in the arts because I get to deal with people who are passionate. I grew up immersed in the art world. Today, I am also an artist. That’s why the interest in being a curator naturally emerged. The concept of Outlet Fine Art is basically an outcome from a discussion that I had with a friend – there are so many talented creative people who have a huge passion but they are lacking a venue to showcase their ideas. That is how Outlet Fine Art was born.
How did you get the idea to sell art online?
Julian: We do a new exhibition every three to five weeks here at Outlet. As people are increasingly spending more and more time online, it was important for us to reach into that space. We felt that opening up an online shop was a good way of connecting with a new audience and would help artists that we work with to expand their reach. The web shop generates more support for artists and helps our art community here in Brooklyn to reach a larger global community.
John: I think it works really well, we try to feature a lot of our exhibitions online. Our main goal online is to show as much of our program as we can. If I think about the vision for the online shop, or what advantage it gives us, it would be that we reach a different audience that maybe is a less traditional gallery audience. Possibly, it attracts also younger buyers who are much more into working with apps and shopping online.
”We felt that opening up an online shop was a good way of connecting with a new audience and would help artists that we work with to expand their reach.
What was important in a solution?
Julian: People now are increasingly spending more and more time on their mobile phones. For us it was important to have a platform that uses responsive design so that our store looks attractive and functions well whether it be on a phone, computer, tablet or whatever device someone wants to use.
What do you like about ePages?
John: The ease of use and apps available are key to the success of any online platform. One of the advantages of working with the ePages solution is that it is very straightforward. We chose a simple layout so that people could click on images and see the artist.
Julian: There are some features, which I really like - one of them is the tax matrix, so that we are not sitting around trying to calculate that ourselves. Another example is shipping. As art is obviously very difficult to send, it makes it also very important for us. ePages offers several different shipping applications that you can use. Usability was another important factor for us. We found that all features are easy to navigate. At ePages they are constantly adding up some plugins and the customer support is in fact impeccable.
How do artists react when you offer to sell their art online?
John: When we approached the artists about being online and in the shop, they were excited about that. Particularly because we asked them to create a specific work for our site so that it is not available anywhere else such as a multiple or small series that we feature exclusively for them. Most of our artists are young, so they really connected with our idea of being online.
Julian: The response to the shop has been really positive, both from the perspective of clients and of the artists that we are working with. The artists are certainly excited to see their work up there. In an instance when we are not in the gallery to represent them somebody can be directed to our website instead.
”Most of our artists are young, so they really connected with our idea of being online.
How did your customers react after launching the shop?
John: Since we launched the shop, the feedback has been fantastic. The younger audience is used to looking at images online and they can easily visualize what the piece might be.
How did ePages support you?
Julian: The ePages team supported us with creating our individual shop design. Actually, working with the team at ePages was great. They gave us amazing feedback and they are super patient in terms of communicating the specific design features.
What’s the long-term goal of your business?
John: I think our business is still a very new concept, it needs some more time to develop. But we will put more and more types of art online. I expect that even more art galleries and art platforms will come online and we will be part of a larger online art community. I think our gallery can do a lot in the online sphere and be able to build a clientele that way as well.