Lakshmi Subramanian, an architect by profession found a gap in the Indian Art market. Reproductions and prints did not interest serious art collectors but for younger art lovers and professionals, they provided an affordable and easy way to begin their collections. 64arts.in is an affordable art design studio store selling Tanjore paintings, prints of Raja Ravi Varma paintings, Kerala Mural art paintings and collection of iconic famous paintings of world artists as well as a host of others. Lakshmi through 64arts.in took the art world online creating a customer friendly ecommerce model. We chat with Lakshmi about the Venture. An excerpt from the Interview:
- What made you start your venture?
I was working for an Architectural practice for many years but felt a deep sense of dissatisfaction and decided to take a break and reverted back to painting oil on canvas and writing articles. During this sabbatical, I thought about an online art business venture as fine arts has always been my passion and I wished to do something in that line. I communicated with many artists both in Bangalore and Mumbai, art critics as well as other online art galleries to get an idea of how to approach selling affordable art as art in India as it is still relegated to the background. It started off as an idea in 2008 and gradually developed itself and has gone through many changes to where it is today and continues to evolve.
- What has been the key to your business’s success?
Easy accessibility, transparency in transactions and competitive pricing has helped us grow since we started in 2008. We do a lot of pro-bono as well and most of our clients have recommended us to newer ones as we like to take a lot of time and effort to help them and guide them, even to a competitor or if they may not buy anything from us. One needs to be innovative, creative and offer a range of products at a competitive price. You need to offer product lines that are not easily available in the art design market in India or that have previously not been introduced to interested buyers.
- What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Initially it is all about breaking even and surviving in an extremely competitive market as art in India is not considered to be very serious and selling fine art prints is considered a strict no-no by many serious art buyers. But in India, people are looking to buy gifts for weddings, events, birthdays etc within a budget of Rs 100- Rs 1000 and fine art prints that we sell fit into that range. We have dealt with many first time home owners who have been simply delighted with their purchases and some have approached us only for interior layout consultation that we have provided for free. But gradually when you are enjoying what you do and believe in the quality and range of your products, the adrenaline rush of contributing to a previously untapped art design market in India is itself a great achievement. We keep introducing newer innovative product lines that keep us enthusiastic as well.
- Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
I have learnt immensely from my clients and Architectural fraternity through various transactions and discussions. Ultimately, I rely on my own judgment and intuitive analysis.
- Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
Our e-commerce store with integrated logistics has been set up by storehippo.com and they have used some superior technology both front-end and back-end.
- What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
Be very patient and approach every challenge given by a client in a thorough manner and ensure that a sufficient amount of time, effort and skill has been employed to deliver the best product in the most efficient manner and quick delivery for maximum customer satisfaction. I keep looking around to find creative partners to work with or collaborate on certain art design concepts to work out new products that will be both interesting and challenging to bring out new product lines and expand.
- What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Patience Treat every client like he/she is very important even if they may not buy anything from you Always be ready to learn Visit their Website: http://www.64arts.in/ Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/64arts.in