3editions aims to make original art affordable: Page 2 of 2
By Gabey Goh June 26, 2013
Framing the picture
The 3editions website was developed on a customisable e-commerce software and platform called Magento that allowed the team’s programmer to build functions within the site to cater to its audience.
Lee pointed out that artists who are selling within 3editions would be able to track their own sales and monitor their commissions in real time. Users can also 'appreciate' artworks so that their favourite artists' work gets featured in the 'popular' section of the gallery.
“We are hoping to enhance the website and inject a more interactive community element for artists to interact with one another and their audience in the future,” he added.
However the central component of the venture is the Epson SP 9900, which is the benchmark within the industry for printing Giclée/archival fine art prints. According to Lee, with a total of 11 archival inkjet colours, the spectrum of colours printed is more precise and vibrant.
The website offers art prints in three categories: Open Editions are prints offered in unlimited quantities in either art prints or canvases. Limited Editions are prints in limited quantities and Original Editions are fine art pieces.
“Categorising artwork will allow us to be more focused in reaching out to our audiences and create aspiration within the brand. Open Editions for the mass, Limited Editions for the affluent enthusiasts and Original Editions for the super wealthy,” said Lee.
“So it’s creating an entry point for consumers to buy art, even if it means just purchasing something just to decorate their wall. At least there is some sort of relationship established between people and art,” he added.
Selling the picture
Since the website’s debut in May, Lee reports that 3editions currently has about 150 registered members, of which 30% are verified artists.
In addition, artwork submitted by artists today have grown from an average of two pieces per artists in the beginning to now an average of four per artist. The site now has about 150 unique pieces for consumers to choose from.
“On the social media front, we now have slightly over 1,600 likes on Facebook, which is our main platform of communication with our members,” he added.
In terms of a business model, Lee said that for every print or artwork that is sold, the artist gets a commission (20% for Open Editions, 50% for Limited Editions and 70% for Original Editions). The company then makes a small percentage of profit after covering the cost of printing and framing.
Lee added that since the venture is fairly new and art is not exactly a fast moving good, 3editions’ baseline for the moment is in printing services.
Right now the team is sourcing out new business amongst photographers and wedding studios to offer its printing services in order to sustain operations.
“One of our clients, Metromedia, another printing company wanting to expand its printing services to its clients, has approached us to print high-quality prints in both enhanced matte art paper and canvas. We are currently still sourcing out new clients and business opportunities,” he said.
Moving forward, the plan is to focus on building both the brand and necessary awareness the gallery would need, both online and off, to take off in a meaningful way.
“We need people to be aware of this amazing product and service we offer, and getting the exposure we need though various media and social platforms is crucial," said Lee.
"We are also exploring working with other galleries and providing them our platform to sell their artwork as well, since most galleries do not have a strong online presence,” he added.
In addition, building a team that will support and bring the brand to the next level is crucial for Lee. In the coming months, the team will be focused on actively looking for investments and collaborations to reach out to other markets and expand distribution in neighbouring countries such as Singapore where there is a more robust art market.
“We are currently in discussion with some parties in Singapore that are interested in working with us,” Lee shared.
When asked what has been the toughest challenge to date since his debut as an entrepreneur, Lee said it was sustaining the business without the proper funding. “It is especially tough when you know the business is slow and it's not generating enough to sustain the company.”
But Lee remains committed to his enterprise, and draws motivation from the fact that he is creating something he believes in, which also contributes back to others. Small milestones along the way, such as new user or artist registrations, also help to keep him going.
“I guess I have learnt that celebrating all your wins, big or small, keeps you going. And this is especially important for entrepreneurs because the road can get tough and at times, it might make you think of giving up,” he said.