Transforming the way art is discovered and sold
Epson technology improves collaboration, increases agility and productivity, and cuts email for pioneering online art marketplaceAt the heart of an online art revolution
Founded in 2010, Artfinder connects talented independent artists with art lovers across the globe. The site acts as an online marketplace, transforming the way in which art is discovered and sold, therefore giving Artfinder artists global reach and new opportunities to develop their careers. Art lovers use the service to view a plethora of authentic and affordable art, allowing them to discover artists from all corners of the world.
"Before the arrival of online marketplaces, it was impossible to create a mass market for unique items. But now marketplaces such as Artfinder, Etsy and Airbnb connect millions of consumers with millions of ‘makers’ and ‘service providers’. This gives consumers a phenomenal range of choices, and gives makers extraordinary reach, without the need for intermediary stores or resellers. It also provides a very personal one-to-one service, even in a global market," says Jonas Almgren, CEO of Artfinder.
Having launched in London the company has seen huge growth, adding 250 new independent artists and 5,000 new artworks every month. Swedish entrepreneur Jonas Almgren has been CEO since 2012 and acknowledges the impressive speed at which they are growing: “No one has done this before - so we’re breaking new ground, which is tremendously exciting! When we launched the marketplace a year and a half ago, we had only a handful of artists. We now have over 5,000 artists from over 80 countries selling over 90,000 artworks on our site.”Expansion and challenges
Artfinder’s expansion is as important to the artists featured on the site as it is to the CEO and the employees. Several artists, such as Sandy Dooley, have made more money from Artfinder in six months than an average UK artist makes in 1.5 years. “It’s all about the internet – I realised that last year,” comments Dooley.
Although the speed at which the company is growing is rewarding, it hasn’t been without its challenges. Artfinder is now handling the same volume of orders each day that it previously handled in a month, which has resulted in a growing amount of email and paperwork. New and capable technology is proving essential in the development of the art industry and central to Artfinder’s continued growth. With a compact office environment, it was also imperative that the company was clever with its use of space and choice of equipment.Productivity and efficiency through better collaboration
With colour a vital element in displaying artworks, having the right projector is a necessity. This need is filled by Epson’s EB-W18 LCD projector. Aided by the 10,000:1 contrast ratio, 3,000 lumens White Light Output and 3,000 lumens Colour Light Output, it delivers the colour accuracy and picture clarity Artfinder needs. The optional wireless connectivity also allows employees to show content easily from a range of devices without the need for cables.
Artfinder Marketing Manager Jen Bayne comments: “The projector has definitely improved team productivity and efficiency. We’ve stopped batting endless emails back and forth, commenting on seemingly endless discussion boards and hunching together around computer screens. With the projector, we get together as a team, look through designs, share ideas, and make changes there and then. Creativity can really flourish when you're working together rather than exchanging ideas over emails, which we've reduced to a minimum now.”
For any business operating in the art industry, it’s vital that any images displayed on screen show a true representation of the colours used in the original piece of art. It becomes a challenge to make important development decisions if the visuals aren’t clear. “The time taken to sign off and implement a new design or change has been halved since using the Epson projector. When going through new designs or changes to the site, we now condense all design sign off, user experience troubleshooting and technical specifications into one meeting - cutting overall project meeting times by 50 per cent,” says Bayne.
Using this new technology allows Artfinder to compete with bigger, more established brands. Almgren is clear in his belief that there is an overall consumer trend towards authentic and handmade goods. Artfinder offers a unique opportunity to express a truly personal taste with great freedom, something mass produced products and brands may find difficult to replicate.Looking to the future
Artfinder is continuing to forge a new path for art distribution. Almgren promises that, alongside a thriving marketplace, “we will also strive to be a friendly, community-oriented place where both buyers and sellers can interact, share advice, and learn to become more sophisticated art collectors and more confident art sellers.”
Artfinder aims to make it even easier to discover and purchase art and will continue to introduce new features to make it happen. Observing the shift in the art world, Almgren comments: "Gone are the days when the mass market for art was all about cheap reproductions and canvas prints. And gone are the days when the global art market was dominated by a handful of successful galleries. Artists and galleries that previously could only reach a local audience, now have a global reach online. Unrepresented artists, who had few chances to develop a professional career, now have the opportunity to make their own fortune. At long last, the art market is being truly democratised."
 According to the Big Artist Survey 2011, the average UK artist makes £9,000 a year, with 57% making less than 1/4 of their earnings from art