One of our Tier One Graduate Entrepreneurs has developed a fine art gallery with space in London to meet clients and a website to list the items that they are selling. The gallery specialises in Eastern European Fine art from 19-20th century, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints. It was opened in 2014 and the business is based on trading various pieces of art and providing consulting and mediator services.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I have always had business acumen and started trading online at the age of sixteen. Later, I had a couple of internet shops which helped me to generate some cash and come to the UK to study. After I obtained a Master’s degree from Kingston University and having worked for some time in the art market in London, I have decided that it is the right time to open my own business, which has always been my objective. Finally, a Graduate Entrepreneur programme was launched in the UK and it made both ends meet.
What was your biggest fear about starting your business and how have you overcome it?
Some legal procedures like registering a company, appointing a director and splitting the shares between owners, as well as employing people and other relevant legal procedures seemed to be scary at the first sight. However, it all turned out to be very reasonable and not as scary as I had first thought.
“It’s always good to learn from someone else’s experience so that you can to avoid making mistakes, big or small”
What are you most proud of?
To me the best results come from the sales, as this, in my opinion, is the best indicator of your success. So it was a great pleasure when I made a few sales and met my first clients. Another good indicator is when a customer returns to you to buy more. These are the two things which make me very proud.
How does your business differ from others? What is your USP?
As the specialisation of the gallery is quite narrowed to a particular period, 19th-20th century and also to the territory, Eastern Europe, where the objects were made, that may be considered as our USP. Also we don’t have much competition in the UK as the majority of similar businesses are based on the continent.
How have you promoted and marketed your business?
Our website is well positioned on Google as we aim to get new clients from the World Wide Web. We also advertise from time to time in specialised printed media such as magazines and guides to reach our target market.
How did you raise funds for your business?
I used the funds that were accumulated from my professional experience in the art trade before coming to the UK and also borrowed some funds from friends.
Looking back what would you have done differently with your business?
I would have started earlier!
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
My aim is to increase the turnover of the business every year and open a bigger space in five years’ time. Also, it would be good to move to a more central location and maybe employ one or two additional salesmen.
How did Enterprise and Kingston University support you in developing and growing your business?
The Enterprise Programme has helped me immensely during the whole course. I have got invaluable support and advice both from my supervisor and from the lectures of the first year. During the course all students get numerous chances to meet business professionals, other entrepreneurs and supervisors and are free to ask and seek for help if needed.