Artwork Archive is a unique inventory management platform for artists and collectors and organizations. Can you explain how your site differs from sites like Fine Art America, Artsy, Etsy as a platform for artists to sell their work?
Those platforms tend to be focused on providing a website or online gallery for their users, while we are much more focused on providing business tools that professional artists need to stay organized, present their work professionally, save time, strengthen their professional relationships, and grow their careers.
However, we do offer digital publishing tools as well--each of our subscribers can set up a "public profile" to showcase their work and we maintain a "Discovery" portal of these profiles that we actively promote through our newsletter and social media channels. Public profile pages are an additional way for artists to promote their work, often in addition to their existing web presence.
To reiterate, however, our main concentration is providing artists, collectors, and collecting institutions with the means to organize their art, document and track provenance, manage their sales, revenue and expenses, and all the other business-related facets that are critical for long term success in the arts.
What makes Artwork Archive unique from a collector's point of view, from an artist's point of view, from a gallery's point of view?
I think one thing that sets us apart that is true for all those user types is how much we interact with our users -- and how quickly that interaction is translated into product evolution. More than 90% of our new features come directly from user feedback.
From an artist's perspective, we're really the only platform that focuses specifically on those core, business-related aspects of managing an art career that are often overlooked by other platforms.
Collectors, on the other hand, love how intuitive our platform is, how it allows them to collaborate effortlessly and securely with their teams (accountants, estate planners, etc.), and how responsive we are to user feedback.
Are there reasons why your platform is more affordable than others on the Internet?
John, my co-founder, and I believe that quality and affordability can coexist, and we wanted to put out a great product that is accessible to everyone.
While that belief may make lavish advertising and marketing campaigns a challenge, the vast majority of our growth has come from word-of-mouth communication and community engagement with the free resources that we publish to help artists succeed.
Artwork Archive is a small and incredibly efficient team with decades of technology experience. We are entirely (and proudly) self-funded, so we can make decisions in line with our values, versus being driven by the bottom line alone.
What features do you offer on the site that would most interest an artist?
One thing we wanted from the beginning was for the site to have an elegant, yet user-friendly, visual interface. Artists are such visual thinkers that we wanted to make sure their artwork was shown in a beautiful and clean way. We didn't want this to look like just another database or spreadsheet.
Beyond that, I think building a complete history of their work and their network is incredibly important. To be able to have a full history of each piece, within the larger context of an artist's ongoing development, to see where artworks originated and where they are now -- it's very empowering.
Outside of the direct organization and history of their work, being able to create professional reports for their business partners at the click of a button is probably the artists' favorite feature. Our platform dramatically simplifies the usually cumbersome tasks of generating consignment reports, shipping and exhibition labels, invoices, portfolio pages, inventory reports and more, saving artists both time and money.
We've also developed our platform to reflect the changes in the industry at large, especially over the past few years during the pandemic--when technology really came to the forefront of the art world as a whole. We now have "private rooms" that artists can create, customize, and share with their collectors and/or gallery partners, for example. Our new fully-integrated CRM allows artists to also track all their correspondence and strengthen their relationships.
We've also made bringing exhibitions online simple for our organization account-holders, allowing them to connect with their communities even while they've had to remain closed to the public. We've made collaborating remotely simple and straightforward as well--one instance being that artists can now upload artworks directly from their Artwork Archive account into an organization's Artwork Archive account (with that organization's permission, of course).
Are you the developer of the platform or do you hire outside sources to design and develop it?
We do all of our product design and development in-house. Third-party providers will never care as much about the product or understand our audience the way we do, so keeping it in-house is a worthwhile expense for us.
How long has Artwork Archive been in business?
We've been around for more than a decade now and we're growing every year.
I notice you send out marketing ideas for artists, is that something you plan to continue to do on an ongoing basis?
Indeed. Putting out useful and relevant content is a big part of what we do, and that's been true from the start. We have so many amazing resources and get to interact with people that are true experts in their field.
Marketing ideas are just a small part of what we talk about, but we cover a wide variety of other topics that you can check out on our blog.
We recently started a series of free webinars entitled "THRIVE with Artwork Archive," which provide useful tutorials of how best to leverage our platform for sustainable success.
To stay notified of upcoming webinars, artists should subscribe to our weekly newsletter, which also always includes relevant articles, as well as interviews with leaders from across the industry, and more practical tips on how to start, grow and maintain a lasting art career.
Do you ever survey your users to see what features they might want to add?
We do, yes. And, those surveys, combined with our day-to-day customer interactions, inform the majority of our decisions on the product and the content we create and share.
How many years did it take for you to come up with this idea and develop it to how it now exists?
John's mother is an oil painter, and her struggles to find something that truly addressed the needs of a modern-day artist provided the seed for Artwork Archive. The two of them worked closely to create the first version over a decade ago and it's been evolving ever since.
How many artists, galleries, dealers, consultants, collectors, do you currently have on the site?
We don't share exact numbers, but we can share that we have thousands of users in over 130 countries using our platform.
How large do you plan to make the site and is there any limit to how many people it can accommodate?
We have no specific plans in terms of numbers of users, but we are always looking for ways to grow and expand our customer base. We've also built the platform to scale up and run on servers that not only provide the highest levels of stability and security, but also give us close to limitless ability to expand.
What is your background that informed the decision to go in this direction and develop this type of tool for artists and collectors?
Both of us have always had a strong passion for the arts and we've built a team of art world professionals who not only understand our client base and their priorities, but also use the platform themselves.
John and I have decades of software experience between us and love leveraging technology to improve the lives of others. When we realized how limited the existing solutions in the space were, it seemed like a natural fit that would allow us, and our growing team, to pair passion with experience.
Can you anticipate the cost of the site going either up or down in the near future?
We have remained committed to keeping things accessible to artists and collectors of all ages and stages and have no immediate plans to change the pricing.
One other thing to note is that when users sign up, they are grandfathered in at those prices for life no matter how much we evolve the product or how many features we add.
Do you have plans for the future and are you willing to share that with our audience?
I would just encourage your audience to always keep an eye out for ongoing improvements and additions to the platform as we have some exciting new announcements coming.
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