As an avid art collector, Juan Garcia found himself a bit put off by the extra costs associated with buying quality works from conventional galleries. Not impressed with the selection or format of the online auction houses, he set out to create a new platform that would change the way people buy, sell, and look for art. Enter artFido, an online forum where artists, galleries, and buyers get to find themselves on a more even playing field.
What’s your company about? What do you do? Who are your customers?
artFido is a gallery without walls, where art lovers oceans apart can buy and sell, with a world of art at their fingertips. A site where…
- Sellers can upload images of their art and instantly exhibit and sell that art to buyers across the globe.
- Artists and Galleries get their own dedicated selling pages and qualified Art Watchdogs help police authenticity and quality.
- Users can bid on, or buy a piece they like, rate the art they find, or (with full social media functionality) share it with their social networks.
artFido – fetching art – www.artfido.com on YouTube.
A site that effectively combines the traditions and credibility of bricks and mortar, with the layout and functionality of modern online platforms. No longer will art sit or hang dormant in a stockroom, basement or studio. No longer will generations X and Y be daunted by the traditionally stuffy and exclusive art scene. No longer will independent artists fail to get their art to the world, and no longer will new homeowners, renters, and young professionals struggle to find art within their budget!
What’s the greatest thing about your website? What makes it better than the competition?
This one is easy! Our website is extremely easy to use, intuitive, and makes buying and selling art fun! We LOVE art – we want to make art more approachable to everyone [and] we want to help people buy original and unique pieces of art instead of mass produced prints. We want to help artists continue to create and get paid for doing so as opposed to only being able to be creative part time and having to work in a job they hate to pay the bills.w
We have a very fun and popular blog at www.artFido.com/blog which generates up to 1 million visits a day and showcases all things fun and interesting that has a strong visual element – we have a very strong and engaged social media audience on all of the social media channels!
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
Fido means “faithful” or “trustworthy” in Latin so we liked that we could have a name that had instant credibility in a hardly-used-anymore language! We also like the play on words of our mascot Fido the dog who can “sniff out a bargain” and FETCH art just for you!
What was your first computer? How old were you when you first got on the world wide web?
I used a green screen computer back at primary school but I can’t remember what it was. I do remember my first Commodore 64 though!
What’s you schedule like?
I currently work 10am to 6am each day. Yes this is a lot, but it allows me to be active when each of our major markets are at their peak times (ie: lunch time in Australia and New Zealand, the USA, the UK and Canada)
When’s the last time you went on vacation and where did you go?
Not for a long time! In 2003 I did a Europe trip for 6 months
What’s the very first thing you do at work every day?
Check emails… arrgghhh
When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? On your third beer?
In the shower!
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
Started with just me. Now we have 3-4 people in the team plus some contractors.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually go after yours?
I love art and want to help bring enthusiasm back into the art world for the younger generations who may have otherwise been ostracized by the perceived elitism of the art galleries and art auction houses.
Remember the early days of starting up? Describe the struggles you went through.
No sleep. But I still don’t get much sleep! Given we have built artFido.com from the ground up, we have also experienced all of the technological problems and bugs associated with something new that hasn’t previously been tested on the big bad world before.
How do you handle frustration? What has been your biggest professional frustration?
A good run helps get rid of frustration. My current biggest frustration is the fact that we have a great product but we need to get in front of many more people!
What’s your office environment like? Do you listen to music? Watch movies? Play video games?
Work from home. Television on in the background to keep me company!
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
We hope to be the Etsy equivalent for the art world.
Who or what inspires YOU?
I like to read Seth Godin and Fred Wilson’s blogs. Always contain wise words.
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowdfunded? Where’d you get the money, man?
We had some self funding and a private investor.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Give your developer equity so you don’t have to pay them!
What other advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get started?
If you think you’ve got a great idea, don’t just talk about it, do it. Great products don’t get made if you don’t take the risk and just do it.
What would you do if you had a year off and $500,000 to spend (on something other than work)?
Learn how to fly a plane.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur? If not, what’ll make you feel successful?
I will feel more successful when artFido.com starts becoming profitable!
Top 5 websites you couldn’t live without and why?
- Facebook – it brings in a lot of our visitors
- WordPress – blogging brings in a lot of our visitors
Top 5 mobile apps you’re in love with and why?
Instagram – obsessed with this app! We also have a large following on @artFido Facebook app, Google+ app, Tumblr app, [and the] Flickr app.
What is your music streaming player of choice, and what are you listening to right now?
Listen to the radio.
Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet? (And why that country?)
Greece… How could you not want to be sun baking on Mykonos…?
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @HuffingtonPost – always interesting content
- @TechCrunch – good to know what’s happening in the tech world
- @Laughing Squid
Please share some specific numbers that highlight your growth.
We only started in May 2012 and are now ranked (according to alexa.com) in the top 20,000 in the USA based on traffic and in the top 100,000 in the world. We received nearly 300,000 visits to artFido.com in July 2013 alone!