I recently returned from a trip to Los Angeles. It was fantastic to meet some of our Californian artists and customers in person, and over the coming months, I hope to meet many more sellers and buyers, both in United States and elsewhere, because electronic and phone conversations can never replace in person meetings. As my former boss Steve Blank used to say "There are no facts inside the building, so get outside and get some."
The United States is of particular interest to Artfinder this year, as we're about to open a US office, and some of our best selling artists and most enthusiastic collectors are based in the United States. I'm happy to say we have art buyers in all 50 US states, showing that we have a broad appeal to art lovers everywhere, not only collectors in the urban art metropoles.
When I met with some of our artists at a pub in Santa Monica (yes, they do have a British-style pub in Santa Monica!), it was very reassuring to hear directly from the local artists how excited they are about Artfinder, and they were happy to hear how appreciative we are of their support. But perhaps more importantly, it was inspiring and fun to sit down and talk with them completely informally, to hear the stories of their adventures and misadventures, and to better understand their day-to-day challenges. I heard the facts directly from the horses mouth. You can't beat that.
I was also pleasantly surprised to hear how much interest there is in our blog, and that some of you would like to subscribe to blog updates. We'll work on enabling that. It will also help us develop our content strategy in general.
We discussed promotional activities we might undertake to create awareness among local art lovers (that might not realise how easy and affordable it now is to browse and buy art online). Of course, these activities might be different in different parts of the country, as the Los Angeles audience is different from the Seattle audience that is different from the North Dakota audience. Which is why we will continue to reach out and meet artists and art lovers in all parts of the country.
I also had the absolute pleasure of being shown the set for Scandal at Sunset Gower Studios by one of our customers and a true Artfinder fan, Mara Spear. It was amazing to see Artfinder artists' art used on the set of a huge hit series, and it was fun to try out sitting in the oval office! I definitely felt I was in Hollywood.
Overall, it was tremendously exciting to get out of the office to meet real artists and collectors, and I'm looking forward to meeting many more in the US and globally in 2016.