Art is something which is easy to admire, but can be extremely hard to obtain. Well, the good stuff anyway. While making a trip to the museum is always fun, you probably want to your own gallery at home. Thanks to a few new startups, that’s more than possible as they’re trying to make shopping for art is just as easy as shopping for groceries.
Vango is an online marketplace which connects experienced and newbie buyers to independent artists with an intelligent site search and discovery experience specifically built for art shopping. It’s almost like a Goodreads for art.
For example, users can upload photos of their room and then browse recommendations based on the colors and styles in the photo. Users also can view listings based on destinations (great for travelling) and even see the art scaled to dimensions they choose.
Vango also is engineered to encourage independent artists to sell quality products through their service. There are different price caps based on sales volume; as an artist sells more work, they are able to charge more.
Since 2012 Vango has raised over $2.2M in funding from multiple investors including Zillionaire Angel, 500 Startups, and Pulsar Venture Capital.
I Want to Buy Art
I Want to Buy Art is, according to their website, “the world’s first worldwide open network for buying and selling art”. In order to get started, you simply create a free profile and then browse for works which catch your eye. As a collector, you’re then able to buy and share the works you like, and as an artist, you can show and sell your best stuff.
Compared to other art marketplaces, IWTBA is very simple, however it gets the job done. After filling out their short signup I was immediately able to browse the site and add items to my cart. To help make the purchasing process easier IWTBA lists the artist, nationality, dimensions, medium, and other essential details right on the listing page.
IWTBA seems to take intellectual property rights pretty seriously. The site ensures that artists who use the service have the peace of mind that their information won’t be sold to third-parties, that they retain full ownership of their works, and that they can continue to sell their work via any method they choose outside of the online marketplace.
As an artist, it costs 0,20€ to publish each individual piece for up to six months (which includes three different “views” / perspectives / images of the same piece) though the site is currently waiving listing fees until May 15, 2016. The company also charges a 5% commission on all sales in addition to the 3.4% + 0.35 € fee PayPal collects.
Once you purchase a painting or photograph the next step is finding a frame to both enhance and preserve the work. For specialty art pieces, you can’t just use any off-the-shelf slot so collectors often end up paying hundreds of dollars for custom made frames. Frame shopping is also far from a convenient process; materials review, final selection, bringing in the art, waiting a few days, etc.
Level is a Y Combinator startup that is trying to make the framing process a whole lot prettier. Their flagship product, Level Frames enables art collectors to customize their frame from the comfort of their homes. After calculating the dimensions of their art, users are able to choose the materials (sourced from sustainably harvested materials), glaze, and matting for their frames all through an intuitive web interface. According the company, the entire process should take under five minutes.
Customers can then have their frame shipped to their homes, or they can mail their work in for a professional fitting.
One of the more notable aspects of Level Frames is their pledge to quality; each frame is handmade by a crafter with over 30 years of experience. The company also gives back to the artist community by letting vendors sell their art through their website.
To date the company has raised a $120k seed round from investors Shu Duan, Y Combinator, and Zillionaire Angel.
Charles Costa is a marketing specialist helping technology companies grow, one word at a time. You can learn more at CharlesCosta.net