42: The Modern Gallery is Online with Gallerist Alex Farkas

42: The Modern Gallery is Online with Gallerist Alex Farkas

Posted by Nicholas Ribera on

UGallery is an online art gallery that aims to help emerging artists gain exposure and connect with buyers. The platform was founded in 2006 and has since focused on selling one-of-a-kind paintings. UGallery curates its portfolio and maintains personal relationships with both artists and clients. The gallery emphasizes storytelling and marketing to create a unique experience for buyers. While UGallery primarily operates in the US, it is working on expanding its international sales. The platform differentiates itself from other online galleries and competes more directly with physical galleries.

You can listen to the episode here (or wherever you listen to podcasts) or read the transcript below:

A Conversation with Alex Farkas:

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (00:24.43)

Thanks for listening in today. We have Alex Farkas creator and gallery director of UGallery comm well Alex Thank you for taking some time to talk to me. Well. Thank you. I'm really happy to be on your show today I was approached by someone who works for your company Reached out to me about having you on the show to talk about the platform UGallery I was unfamiliar with it until I got that email and taking a look at it. I think you're offering a pretty cool service that

is frankly needed in like, I guess, the gallery space and the relationship with the gallery space is something that comes up a lot on this podcast. Like whether or not as an artist, do I need to be in a gallery? Do I need to get that validation of being in traditional formal environments? Even if it's not really equating directly to sales, but I really like how your gallery is modern in so that it has an online presence.

and streamlines the process of getting your art on a global stage. Can you talk a bit about, I guess, the niche that you found your platform filling? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you bring up a good point. I think for artists, galleries serve a certain role, and it really comes down to what your goal is as an artist. And for us, our goal has really been unchanged since the very early days.

We founded UGallery in 2006 and it started out as a school project, if you can believe it. I went to the University of Arizona and I studied art history and entrepreneurship. And there's this really great year long program in the business school where you come up with a business plan, they teach you how to write it, they help you learn how to pitch it. And then if they like what you do, they send you to these case competitions. And so...

I was studying art history and sculpture at the art school and I was in class with all these really talented artists and I was just seeing kind of the difficult transition from being a student artist to a professional artist. And so my partners and I came up with this idea that we would launch an online gallery to help artists to have a launch pad for their careers as fine artists. And so the school liked our idea and they sent us to these case competitions and.

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (02:43.278)

We happened to go to the premier competition in the US and an international competition in Canada, and we won both of the competitions and there was prize money. So we pooled all of our prize money, plus pretty much every cent in our bank accounts. And I launched the company in 2006. So our goal was always this idea of helping emerging artists get their careers kind of out there by finding.

interested buyers and also helping clients find access to original art. And this was quite novel at the time. We were one of the first online galleries and way before people were buying everything on the internet. This was before people bought cars and stakes and all of those things online. And so I think it was fairly novel at the time, but now being almost 20 years later, we've kind of caught up to the market. But for us, you know, to go back to your original question,

For us, I've always thought U Gallery was this special place where we could function like a traditional gallery. So we'd have real relationships with our artists. We choose all the artists that we work with. We curate the whole portfolio. So we pick all the pieces we show. And also we have really kind of hands -on personal relationships with our clients where we actually get to know these people. But instead of being in one location in a city or a town, we can reach so many more people. And that's always to me been the beauty of e -commerce.

we could be selling art from an artist in the Midwest to a client in France or vice versa. And so that has really kind of grown over the years. And I love this concept of being able to connect people on both sides, artists and clients who are interested with finding art that they like. And then at the same time, kind of being good shepherds and gatekeepers for artists, because it's a really hard career. And especially with my background, having gone to art school and also

I grew up with a mom who was a potter and then had her own gallery. So I think I always see it from that side of really wanting to help artists get their work out there and help them achieve the goals they have in mind. So whether that's promotion or selling or anything that they come to us and talk to us about. Awesome. Well, I mean, that was a great little preface there. Thank you for that. So of course.

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (05:01.742)

If you're primarily online, do you have any physical events space or physical events that you do? Or is that the full the full? So we're currently only online, although we have done those things in the past. For a number of years, I ran a small little gallery space in San Francisco. We would do openings there. What was always kind of funny and a little crazy to us is we'd spend all this time putting on a show. People would come. We'd get good turnouts.

And then we wouldn't sell any of the art in the show, but we'd sell it on our website. And then at the same time, we also did the art fair circuit for a number of years. We did a number of the affordable art fairs, especially in New York. And that was really interesting as well. I think what we learned through those experiences was our specialty, our forte, is selling art online. The physical business is really a completely different beast with a different customer as well. We also learned that.

in a funny way where we would go, especially like I said, affordable art fairs in New York were great shows for us. We did sell a lot of art at those events, but it wasn't the same customers, the people who bought from us on our website, even being in the same town and inviting our clients, it was a totally different business. And so over the years, we've gotten very hyper -focused on the fact that we sell art on the internet and that's where we shine. And we even encourage our artists. It's important to have kind of multiple outlets if you're going to sell your work.

So don't have one point of failure, don't rely on one gallery. And I think for most of the artists that we work with, that is the case. They're kind of emerging in mid -career where they have several different physical galleries and they either use us exclusively online or maybe in conjunction with another online gallery. But we try and help people have a rounded presence. So they have multiple revenue streams and again, can not rely on one place.

Okay, so then you don't have exclusivity as part of your contracts. We ask for exclusivity on the artwork we show. So the pieces that we present in our gallery, we ask for those to be exclusive to us. But we also, you know, we try and work with artists who are producing enough work that that's not an issue, that they can still have art to provide to their other galleries. And in many ways, if they're going to have another online presence as well, we encourage artists to diversify, maybe even do different series because it makes them

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (07:26.702)

look a little more interesting online and also cuts down on confusion. I found again and again when artists try and show the same work on multiple platforms, clients will come to us and they'll say, I'm curious, is it one of a kind? Because I see it in multiple places and some stuff that seems rather simple isn't so straightforward. And that's kind of what we try and help artists with is having the right presence for their online portfolio.

I mean, yeah, it definitely makes sense that you would want the exclusivity for individual pieces because you need to make sure it's available when it sells. Right. So that being said, you're not storing the pieces yourself and shipping it out when a sale occurs, right? That's a message that's going on to the artist themselves and then it's their responsibility to ship it out. Yeah. So what we've worked out over time is we want it to be really easy for artists and really easy for our customers.

So we send artists a custom built art box when a piece sells. So we really facilitate all aspects of the transaction, even though we don't store the art. So the artist keeps their work in their studio and then they get a notification that a piece is sold. And within two to five days, they receive this really nice custom art box. It's a high density cardboard with these thick layers of foam. And then the middle layer of foam is perforated so they can tear it in the shape of the art. And then we also provide them.

prepaid shipping label and a certificate of authenticity that they signed. And they drop it off at FedEx or have it picked up from their studio or house and it goes to the client. Yeah, that is one of the questions I had regarding how do you keep consistency in the shipment. So beautiful that you have that all organized that way. It took so long to figure that out. For the first couple of years when we were getting off the ground, we had a relationship with UPS stores, which we thought was very clever. We were in

the UPS store system so an artist could go into any UPS store in the country and drop off their artwork. But the packaging was very, very inconsistent or just ranged. Basically, some customers would get this really nicely clean packaged piece of art. Other times it would come in a box filled with peanuts and the peanuts would explode all over the client's living room. And so we really wanted to come up with a system that was standard, also much safer.

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (09:44.878)

We send thousands of paintings a year without any damage in our boxes. And also just really nice. We get funny comments from our clients. They say, I just had such a wonderful experience with UGallery and the artwork is fantastic, but I think I love the box the most of anything, which is kind of hilarious. And it is a joke, but it's true. I think it made a huge difference. And kind of as our businesses evolved over the years, we've had to keep up with the trends in the greater e -commerce world, not just

in the online art world, but fast shipping and reliable shipping and those sorts of things also come into play in our business. And so I see that on the website, shoppers can log in. I assume artists can also log in and see what type of like how many views they're getting, which pieces are getting favorited the most. Do you have kind of metrics like that visible to the artists?

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (10:41.038)

We do have individual accounts for artists, so they have their own portal where they manage all of their artwork and their sales and that sort of thing. But we don't share individual analytics with artists. It's something that we did in the past, but I don't think it was actually that useful overall because as we found, number of page views or ads to a wish list didn't necessarily always equate to how artwork sells. Mostly,

we use more of kind of what I would call an old school approach to our marketing mixed with a certain level of analytics. So I think more than giving artists that kind of feedback in the form of numbers, we try and work one -on -one with our artists to talk with them about what we're seeing success with in terms of their certain subject matter, styles, their collections, really having real conversations with them because...

The numbers tell one part of it, but not the whole story. So we try and have more of a hands -on approach. And that includes an annual portfolio review where we look through each artist's portfolio, talk with them about what they're working on, encouraging them to provide updated information for our marketing efforts, like what story is going on in their life. Because mostly we see ourselves as marketers who happen to sell artwork. So a big part of our business is being a good storyteller and talking directly to our customer.

And we've really tried to work over the years to define who that is. In the early days, when we launched U Gallery, I thought U Gallery was this great platform to help people like myself, young, recently graduated professionals start decorating their homes with art. And what we learned was that's not the case at all. Most people don't buy art first, they buy furniture and dishware and everything else you need in the house. And the joke that I always hear in the art world is that

people buy their first artwork after their last child has graduated from college and before they buy their first sports car. And I think that kind of holds true. Our customer tends to be older and a little bit more farther along in their life. And so, you know, just learning that and then learning how to talk to our client, that specific person. And we've developed this whole avatar around one person that we talk to in our marketing. And that's been very successful for us in really...

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (13:05.538)

converting on what we show and being very conscious of the kind of art we show on the site as well. Like I said, we pick all the pieces, so picking them with intention and being dispassionate in some cases about what we know is a good fit versus our personal tastes and that sort of thing. I wanted to ask you about the onboarding process for your artists as well as the feedback you give them that annual review. So what is the relationship you have with your artists in between the sales?

Yeah, that's a great question. Certainly, we really feel like our relationships with artists are what differentiate us from a large marketplace. It's about having personal connections. And we've worked with some of the same artists from the early days, even now. So for 16, 17 years, it's really, I think, a testament to the fact that we do maintain close communication with the people we work with. And we start out with a welcome call. So when artists join the gallery, we spend time.

answering questions, helping them understand our processes and giving them kind of the tips for success with UGallery. And then after that, we launched their portfolio with some marketing efforts. And then in the spring of every year, as you mentioned, we have our portfolio reviews where we go through, look at each artist's portfolio, see what's working, what's not. Maybe we take pieces down. We talk with them about what might be a good fit for going forward.

we'll look at their website or social media to get an idea of what they're currently up to and just having conversation about what we can do to be more successful. And then a big part of this kind of onboarding process too is to just establish the fact that we're here as real people to have an open dialogue about how to be successful together. And so when there's questions, you can email us or you can give us a call and there's someone to talk to. So for me, I think that's something that's been really important from.

the very first days of the gallery and we keep doing that even as we grow as a company because there's this necessity. Art is about this personal expression and marketing art is individual for each artist to get the right story. So to me, that's a really important aspect of what we do. So what about the, what type of relationship or what type of work do you do to develop relationship with your collectors then? Do you have like,

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (15:31.658)

Email list you have I don't know like people who contact collectors regularly to let them know when there's something new What kind of process do you have in place for that? Yeah, our marketing efforts have really evolved over time certainly It's important for us to be able to measure our efforts So we know if we're being successful email marketing is a really useful tool for us So we do have a pretty vibrant email list we send

a couple emails a week. And as I was kind of talking about before, we really speak to this client that we've developed over time. We have a client profile, we call her Mary. She has a whole life story and a background. And so when we write all of our marketing materials, it's all geared towards this Mary persona who we see as our client. And really for us, as I was saying, we're storytellers. So it's about getting to one good story.

for anything we're kind of doing. So with our emails, it'll either be telling an artist story, one good personal story about them or one specific piece. So that's one aspect of our marketing. And then we also do work with a lot of clients long -term, same as our customers. So as you mentioned, contacting them and we have new work from artists who they've purchased from in the past and trying to do more of this hands -on approach to.

we sell work. And I think it really pays off because again, we have clients who come back year after year to buy work from the same artists. I think of this one lady just in talking about this, who has so much of one artist's work, this lady, Mary Pratt that we represent. She jokes that she said, I've started decorating my closets with Mary's work because I have no more wall space to put it up. And it's really kind of the same as a traditional gallery model of helping

with patronage. It's not just about selling one painting here or there, but for me, I really like to be able to help artists have people who follow them, collectors. That's really important for an artist's career. I'm glad that you're working on that. I know that's a really hard thing to do because as a gallery, you've really got to court both sides and make those connections. So I like seeing that you have that effort and that conversation constantly evolving with both sides.

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (17:50.702)

Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I think for us, it's been interesting because from the very early days, we realized it's not just having our customers buying art, but our artists are really our clients too. And there's no success in the gallery if we don't help both people succeed in what they want to do. And it's something I really like about this business. It's really more or less a feel good business because in the relationship, everybody wins.

Artists have a place to market and sell their work. Clients have a place to find art that they like. And at the end of the day, people are happy with what they get. So for me, that's really a sign of true success in what we're doing.

Do you find it easier or harder or maybe just different to do it with an online gallery versus how it would be done on an in -person gallery? Yeah, I think there are differences. I mean, I can speak for kind of growing up in my mom's gallery and home furnishings business. I grew up in this little town in Northern Arizona called Jerome. It's an old Wild West copper boom town that was a ghost town and then it was an artist community. And so I grew up.

kind of behind the counter of her business. And I can see it from that perspective. I think that as an online business, we have some things at our disposal that kind of help us magnify what we do. For one, we're not rooted in one place. So we have a bit of a farther reach, which also, you know, you have to be conscious of the fact that you're not lost in the sea. But for us being really focused on knowing who we are, knowing who are.

audiences for both artists and clients and being able to focus our marketing efforts. The internet offers this really cool opportunity. You're asking about analytics from our perspective. We do a lot to look at analytics for the business as a whole. So being able to use digital advertising, search engine marketing and SEO to see how our business is tracking and being able to watch conversions and

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (20:00.494)

people, how they interact with the site, all that stuff is really unique to an internet business versus a physical gallery where it's a lot harder to kind of see some of those things with, you know, one and twos walking in off the street. And we get a lot more traffic too. I think that's something that's really cool about the internet. We can have thousands and thousands of visitors coming in the door at a time. And that's, that's also not usually the typical physical gallery. So I think we get some economies of scale. That's hard to do.

at a local level.

Well, with that in mind, over the duration of the existence of this project, what are some trends in pricing you've noticed? Like maybe over the last few years, are people tending to go for larger things like the more comfortable shopping online for large print items or I guess large price tag items? Or are you noticing maybe that like you're starting to, you want to represent smaller pieces and sell more quantity versus, I don't know, like where has the focused moved, I guess?

Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, I can say from the very early days, we've definitely driven our average price point up. When we first launched New Gallery, we were selling mid -sized paintings with an average price of maybe $350 or $400. Now our average order value for a mid -sized painting is about $1 ,300. So huge difference. I mean, that part maybe speaks a little bit to

20 years in business, so maybe a little inflation, but I think also to the type of art we're representing from then to now. And then also our desire also to move up market a bit. We have shown a lot of different types of art in the past, including photography, and we had a print business for a number of years in the late 2000s. And I think what we came to was,

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (22:01.166)

It's more pleasant and much easier to sell less things for a higher price. It's less moving pieces. And typically we found that the clients we were interacting with were overall having a better experience with it. And maybe to your point, as the space has matured, people are more comfortable spending more money. I mean, I definitely believe that's true. People have gotten way more comfortable spending large sums of money on the internet where as maybe in, you know,

2006, that wasn't the case. So certainly that and yeah, our desire to really kind of push prices up. And for that, I think we've been really successful in that. And I don't have any desire necessarily to go back the other way. We really have honed in on selling one of a kind paintings. And we've taken out things from our inventory over time that just didn't quite make sense because of lower prices and not necessarily a good fit for the end consumer.

I've noticed on the website that you have your art category or the site is organized by category, but you don't have like a list of your artists or pages about the artist. But when you look at a piece, you do have information about the artist on that. Have you? Is there a reason why you don't have like an artist page or a page for East artists to see what they have? I guess you see on the bottom, it's more work and view all works. OK.

So I guess just talk to me about why you decided on how it's organized. Yeah, so we there is an individual portfolio page for each artist. If you click on an artist's name, you can go to their portfolio page and there's a bio about them as well as their artist statement and their full portfolio work. We've organized the site as it is over time, kind of just based on people's browsing habits and how they search for things. You know, in the past, we offered a lot more categories to search for from our header.

And we found that it was just kind of overwhelming from people. And mostly the way people are searching for art is a little more basic and a little more practical than you might expect. You know, in the past, you could search for all different types of genres and sub mediums and things like that. But really, at the end of the day, we found our client is looking for beautiful paintings to hang on their wall. And so we've kind of organized the site that way. And then.

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (24:29.326)

the more information people want, the more they can drill down. We have lots of filtering options on our search pages if people want that kind of level of search. And then we kind of go from showing the artwork as a piece to more specific details about the artwork. Every artwork that we post on UGallery, we write an individual description for. And then also, as I mentioned, we have these portfolio pages about artists. So we kind of lay out the site so that there's this level of exploration that goes from,

the general to the specific, depending on where the client is in their artwork search. It's a very beautiful, clean look. One thing I've always wondered too, particularly when it comes to jarring a show digitally, do you find that there's a struggle to kind of represent the size or scale of a piece when every thumbnail is the same size next to each other, even though the piece itself might be different sized pieces?

Yeah, we from an early point in the kind of evolution of our site decided we would keep the aspect ratio of every piece. So not crop images to being a square or rectangle or anything like that. Keep the actual like shape of the artwork. But in terms of having kind of size hierarchy, it never really made sense because we found those layouts were really confusing to look at and kind of again catering to who we determined to be our client.

It really made sense to keep everything kind of uniform. But as you'll notice, we put the size of every artwork on the page. And we just rolled out this new website a few months ago. One thing that was on our old website was a view and room image that showed every artwork in the context of a space. And that's something that we'll be bringing back here in the next month or so. As part of our new site rollout, there were some features that we didn't bring over yet. So.

I think there are a few pages still and a couple things that we need to add back to the site. But I always thought that was a nice thing to show people the image in the context of a room with furniture and windows and that sort of thing. How do you go about training the artists to take good photos of their work? Oh, that's a great question. Certainly, we've learned that that was probably the most important differentiator of how

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (26:51.47)

we could be successful with an artist. So we have kind of two guides to help artists shoot work. One is how to shoot work indoors and one is how to shoot artwork outdoors. And for every piece we show in UGallery, we ask for a good main image that's cropped of the piece. And then we also include a context image with the art in a space, a side image so people can see how the edges of the work look, and then a closeup to see the details. And we just have a standardization.

for what we want to see for those. Because that's really important, making sure that the photos are true to color, give a good impression of the work, and that they're in a nice enough space that it doesn't detract from the arbor, clutter, or any of that sort of thing. And that makes a huge difference, I think, in the buying process.

Absolutely, especially if it's going to be an online purchase and you're not relying on people to come into a physical gallery to see it and touch it. These, I mean, great consistent photos there. I assume you do some touching up when you do receive those photos. We don't we don't touch up any pictures. One, because we want to make sure that they come into us in a good condition that matches the for one, the artist is seeing the piece in person or we're not. So it's usually better that.

The photos look good from the artist and then us making them look better. We want the colors to be really true. And I think as part of our onboarding and getting to work with artists, we stress how important the pictures are so people know what we expect. It speaks to, we have a really low return rate. We take returns on less than a couple percent of all the art we sell, which is amazing for e -commerce. And then I think that's even more impressive for being a one -of -a -kind thing that...

people haven't seen before in person. But the pictures really are something that kind of separate what we do, again, from places where you might just find one thumbnail. And as you were mentioning, it has to supplant what someone would get walking into a gallery. So the whole concept is that when people are interested in a piece and they land on the page about the artwork, they have multiple images to get a feel for the piece. They have a description that's something that will help them kind of.

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (29:07.32)

Articulate their thoughts about the piece I always explain to my team writing these little art statements so that it's kind of the pitch that we would give to a client if they were standing next to us in the gallery and again telling a good story so that people have something even to say about the art once it's in their home where they can have a dinner party and tell people about the art on their walls I think that really goes a long way in making people feel comfortable about buying sight unseen Yeah, and and I mean one thing I've spoken to gallasts about is how that little

description of the piece, it gives the buyer something to tell people who see the piece in their home too. So it kind of gives them a little story that they get to share. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it's really important. People, even people who are knowledgeable about art and collect art, they still want to have something tangible to share. Art is this really kind of personal experience, but it's something that we like to kind of show off in our homes and tell our friends about and people ask. And so,

giving them the kind of basis for the work goes so far in making them feel really good about what to say about their art. It's nice for us too, because I think in doing that process with each of our artists and artworks, it helps us better understand them as well and do a better job of selling their work. Is there any type of marketing that you ask the artists to do to direct people to the website, to the online gallery?

Mostly all we ask artists for is content about themselves and then in the case of if they have websites where they're showing their work, like a personal website, we'll ask them to also include a link back to UGallery to buy the work that they're showing on the site that's from UGallery. So just having a good kind of loop. And the main reason for that is for customer confidence. So that if people find the work on UGallery,

and then search around that they don't find it on much different sites, that they have confidence that this is the place where they're supposed to buy it. But other than that, we really believe that the artist's job is to make the work and to give us good content about themselves. And it's our job to tell a good story and to market and sell the art. That's kind of, you know, our whole purpose and what we offer artists is, you know, a place where...

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (31:27.886)

we can do the heavy lifting with the marketing and the sales and they can focus a little bit more on the creation process. Are there any triggers or numbers you might see that would have you take a piece down? Because no one's really looked at it and you don't want the artists to feel like they have to keep it reserved for the site when they could probably make the sale in person. Or do you ever let the artists go at any point?

Yeah, those are good questions. You know, we do pay attention to how long art stays on the site. And especially given an artist portfolio, how much work is sold throughout the year, if there are pieces that are stronger than others. And some of that is less data driven and more of a curatorial decision to say in any given artist portfolio, you're going to have

what you might consider the strongest work and pieces that just aren't quite the same. And so I think we try and look at it from time perspective, what's doing well, and maybe even things like the size of the piece might matter. For example, if an artist creates a series of work in multiple sizes and the larger pieces sell really well, but the little ones don't translate as well, we might take those down, that sort of thing. For...

Artists as a whole, if we're working together, our end goal as a gallery is to sell work. So when we do evaluate portfolios, if after the first year we haven't had much success together, we'll talk to the artist and say, let's do something different. Let's show a different series. Let's talk about a different way to market your work. Let's just think through something that will make this relationship more successful. If a couple of years go by and we're not being successful selling a work,

From both of our ends, I don't like to tie up an artist's work with exclusivity and obviously maybe we're not the right fit. I think it's kind of similar to a physical gallery in that sense where we're always looking for the right match and sometimes it doesn't work out and in that case, you know, we may decide to part ways but my goal would be first to try and make changes so that we can be successful and I've seen that again and again in the past where...

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (33:48.078)

maybe in the first six months or a year that we work with someone, it takes time. And then after that, sometimes our relationships kind of blossom and we have lots more sick sales, but I think that's from paying attention to it and not just kind of letting it wither, more so figuring out what we can do differently. And yeah, that's kind of in selling anything. Sometimes it just takes a different approach, even to sell the same thing. And you have to be creative on that side.

So I wanted to, I know your bread and butter is paintings. I didn't see any photography on there. Is that also because you used to have that, like the printing services that you kind of got rid of a few years ago? Is that why you don't represent any photography? We, yeah, we sold photography for many years for, I mean, almost a decade or more. And we did offer,

excuse me, printing services to artists. So we were taking care of all aspects of it where we were making the business and then fulfilling the orders from a high quality print shop. But I think that what we were finding was it was a harder business to compete in over time for a couple of reasons. One, I think the internet kind of got flooded with low cost photography. And that was kind of

to the detriment of selling fine art photography. It was hard to make a case to people where they could buy photos off of art .com and walmart .com and stuff like that for like $15 instead of several hundred or more from us. So I think part of it was increased competition, but then also it was a business that just ended up not being our core. And so we ended up having more issues with it over time. There was, uh,

Typically a lot more handling going on with working with a print shop and having things shipped So we just weren't really feeling like it was the the right fit for what we were doing versus the painting side I think we really knew what we were doing So one other thing I want to ask you too because I know very little about the the industry of online galleries Who would you say? Who would you say are your competitors? And what do you do differently?

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (36:10.446)

Yeah, that's very interesting. I mean, I think that in this space, there exists, you know, several different types of online galleries where, you know, you have the open marketplace where anyone can show their work. They're really large. I think that's been kind of an aspect of the industry that's grown a lot. To me, those aren't quite our direct competitors, even though some of the same artists we work with also show on those platforms.

I kind of think we're probably most directly in competition still with physical galleries. That's really more how we structure our business model. And I think that is kind of what our customer would look to as an alternative. There are other smaller online art galleries, but I kind of feel like we're singular in the way we approach our relationships with our artists and our customers. So.

Typically when we're looking at competition, it's to other physical galleries in that way. So I didn't see any art from you on the website. Are you still making and selling art yourself? Good question. No, I never had a professional sales career. I just made art in school and pretty much from the time we launched U Gallery, which was right after I graduated from school,

This was my sole focus. And I've always felt like I didn't have the, um, the, the strong desire or the time to spend on that side of it. And for me, I guess I really liked this aspect of the art world. I like selling art. It's something I think that I've gotten better at over the years and I like running the gallery and thinking about all aspects of running a business and, you really focusing on our marketing and improving what we do. But, um,

I really still enjoy making art, but more for fun. I have a little two year old and he likes to draw. So I like to sit and draw with him. But that's kind of the extent of my art making these days. Well, thank you so much for creating a wonderful platform that helps artists get represented nationally, internationally. Do you do a lot of international sales through the site?

Chain Assembly (Nick Ribera) (38:32.814)

You know, that's something that we're really working on growing. In fact, I moved from Amsterdam or from San Francisco to Amsterdam about a year ago. And my goal is really to grow our international business, both more international artists, but really more international clients. So that's something that's kind of as part of our coming year's plans to build out that side of the business. Because right now,

We have some international business, but the vast majority comes from the US. So I think that's a real opportunity for us to kind of expand and see where we can go in reaching new markets. And so if anyone wanted to apply to be part of the gallery, I see you do have a space for that on the website. Or if they're curious about just seeing what arts you have for sale, what kind of prices they go for.

The website is ugallery .com. That's the letter U -G -A -L -L -E -R -Y .com. Do you also have an Instagram or any other online social places where people can see some updates from the gallery? We do, absolutely. You can also follow us on Instagram. Our handle is ugallery. That's another great place to connect with us. All right, well thank you so much for...

Taking the time to talk to me about you and your platform and wish you all the best of the luck with Just keeping it growing at the rate you are it seems pretty impressive so far. So thank you Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me. I really enjoyed talking with you and I'm Hoping that our recording turns out right Thanks Me too, I'm gonna have a lot of editing ahead of me. Thank you

Yeah, thank you. Art for profit sake is recorded through Riverside FM, distributed through Spotify for podcasters and edited on Adobe Audition. The music is provided by Old Romans. If you learned anything useful or found this podcast helpful, please rate and review us five stars. If you want to learn more about me or my art, head over to ChainAssembly .com.


Chain Assembly: Art for profit sake is recorded through Riverside FM, distributed through Spotify for podcasters, and edited on Adobe Audition. The music is provided by Old Romans. If you learned anything useful or found this podcast helpful, please rate and review us five stars. If you want to learn more about me or my art, head over to ChainAssembly.com.

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Art for Profit's Sake Podcast

45: Art Advice with Publish and Author John Baltisberger

45: Art Advice with Publish and Author John Baltisberger

In this conversation, Nick and John discuss the difference between a press and a publisher, as well as John's recent Kickstarter failures and his upcoming...

Read more
44: Making Your Mark as a Tarot Reader with Bianca Craig; A Live Q & A at Calypso Isles

44: Making Your Mark as a Tarot Reader with Bianca Craig; A Live Q & A at Calypso Isles

In this conversation, Nick Ribera and Bianca Craig discuss their collaboration on a tarot deck called Tarocchi Gialli. They talk about the process of interpreting...

Read more