Fine Art Collector | Spring 2018

feeling that commercialism had gone a little too far. The idea was to place four or five shops around London, specifically targeting creative communities, I was very clear that art shops were not a new idea; they’d existed for years, so to be successful we’d need to reinvent ourselves. The stores had traditionally been very cluttered spaces, so Angus and I focussed on the principals of retails to edit the product range so that it was accessible not just in price, but also instrumental in breaking down any barriers of confusion that may have been an issue with art stores previously. As I had first realised at 13 Charing Cross Road, we knew the key would be recruiting staff that could unlock and demystify these products. Once again, it felt as if we had a certain degree of family is that we’re here as supporters.” “The message of the Cass

luck in being in the right place at the right time, and London’s siren call to artists served us well, so there was a pool of newly graduated artists on our doorstep. We were overjoyed both to share their knowledge, but also to help them through their journey to pursuing their careers. Having the best products was always going to be key. We wanted to make sure that when someone walked into one of our stores, a member of our staff could demonstrate the quality of the materials we sell and show exactly the benefits of using pigmented lightfast colour as opposed to an inferior option. Price is obviously always a determining factor, but without explaining how using quality materials can aid and improve their artistic endeavours, of course no one would or could justify to themselves paying more for paint, especially if they undertake art as a hobby and not professionally. We were strongly supported by some of the best suppliers and manufacturers in the world, and made a decision to promote the best brands by telling their stories as well as our own. Many of whom are UK based, world dominant, companies

who have been operating since the 18th and 19th centuries. Our pricing structure wasn’t without risk, but we were determined to be accessible. people to try their hand at art for the very first time that we introduced sets, purposely designed to be entry level, but still of great quality. In fact, one of my favourite things to do is to sweep a brush of student quality watercolour across a piece of paper, swiftly followed by a Winsor & Newton watercolour so they can see the difference in application for themselves. The understanding is instant. So do you actively recruit artists, or do they naturally gravitate towards a career with you…? For example, we were so determined to encourage Artists are creatures of habit, and we knew we would struggle to lure them away from their preferred suppliers, some of whom had been servicing their needs for decades. Even though many of the top tier artists were known to me, and I could have the conversation with them to explain what I was doing, it I think it’s a bit of both.


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