Setting up a startup is not always just about money. It involves passion and love for the work. In our series of Superheroes of Startup today the superhero badge goes to Mrs Akshaya Borkar who ditched the corporate world for her love for art and started with her company The Art and Craft Gallery.
Tell us something about you and your startup.
I am business graduate from Australia and have worked in corporate world for a decade. However, I have always been a very creative person, self-taught artist and have learnt almost 20 different handicrafts too. This lead me to start a hobby blog in 2010 which quickly became a side business selling my handmade creations for three years. In 2013, I decided to put my business skills and love for art together to start a social enterprise helping other artists worldwide. This was the launch of beta version of our unconventional online gallery. Finally 2015 we launched this unconventional online gallery for artists worldwide called ” The Art and Craft Gallery”
What was your motivation behind venturing into this?
The problems faced by artists in arts and crafts industry are pulling back the creative industry worldwide, though creativity is one of the few things that technology can never take away from humans. However, the artists have no support or guidance in growing their career which makes them dependant on the current trade logistics and their real talents of making handmade things are not recognised or celebrated. The next generation is losing their interest in these lost trades of handicrafts and arts, so our motivation behind this venture is to celebrate every artist, which will inspire next generation to learn and preserve the talents & culture.
Our aim is to make arts and crafts industry a mainstream industry by 2020 by connecting artists directly with the buyers.
Give us a brief background about founders and its core team members?
Akshaya Borkar and her husband Sameer Borkar are the founders of this social enterprise, The Art and Craft Gallery.
Akshaya is self-taught artists and Business graduate who is passionate about helping artists grow their creative business worldwide. She is an award-winning, the first-generation immigrant to Australia’s sunny shores. Her art has won awards and showcased at London Gallery in 1998 1999.
Sameer Borkar is an IT consultant in SAP who has been an entrepreneurial person all his life. He supports and guides the business by bringing his startup experience to the table. We have a team of five people working with us right now.
Who do you see as competition and how is your startup different?
We don’t believe there’s any other business providing exact services like us to artists and artisans. There are many online marketplaces for selling art and Handicrafts or some Art consultancies in the world, however, we are the only one who not only provides marketplace online but also provide education and business services to artists to help them grow their business and career globally. Also, we do not charge annual fees nor any selling commissions on our platform. We also curate every person’s work while joining the gallery, ensuring every work displayed in unique and coming directly from the makers. So we do not have any traders, resellers on the platform, which is our biggest USP.
What are the revenues and margins like in your industry?
The biggest player in the online marketplace is ETSY which had a very successful IPO in 2015 with 1Million sellers on their platform. In Art consultancy for top-notch artists, there are less than 20 art consultants worldwide who charge management fees plus commission of almost 50% on sales. So being a most unorganised sector having standard margins or revenue research is next to impossible. Even then the Visual Arts market in the USA for 2014 was $40Billion not accounting for the handicrafts and private sales of art in that year.
What are your future plans?
The Art and Craft Gallery will become one to stop for all the artists to not only sell their works but also learn, grow and plan their Art career or Business. We are focusing more on educating artists to become independent sellers of their works through business educations. Growing our network with offline galleries worldwide and conducting more events and exhibitions in multiple countries is certainly in our future plans
Any advice you want to give budding entrepreneurs.
The only advice for budding entrepreneurs is “Keep going even when the journey gets tough. Beleive in Yourself and keep working”