Zatista Helps Quality Art Find Its Audience
By Julia Wilkinson
For anyone who's ever attended an art show or strolled through an art museum, making the leap to buying a piece of art as an investment that they'll also enjoy is a big one. Zatista.com, founded by former eBayer Pete Borowsky and Jordan Milne, aims to meet that need. Their art marketplace helps new collectors discover and purchase quality pieces with features and assurances like certificates of authenticity.
Filling a Void for Art Lovers
For a new collector, buying art can be confusing and somewhat intimidating, according to Borowsky and Milne. And not everyone lives near galleries, so there are also geographical challenges for some people to finding good, original art.
Zatista was built around the idea that "discovering beautiful original artwork should be fun and easy," said Borowsky. "Zatista makes this possible by giving art lovers access to thousands of the best original works from the most talented emerging and established artists from all over the world, on a platform specifically tailored for art discovery."
He said they also make the buying experience even more enjoyable by letting customers try art risk-free in their homes. And, they offer free returns and free shipping within the US, as well as a "personal art concierge" to help them find that perfect piece.
Former eBayer: Founders' Story
Borowsky is a former eBay executive, who worked in many areas including discovery/search, payments and listing.
So how did he wind up starting his own company? "My wife and I had just moved into our first home, and were looking to find some good quality artwork," he explained. "We had graduated from Ikea furniture and didn't want framed prints you might get from Pottery Barn or a big box store."
They wanted something original, but it was hard to find. "Shopping in galleries didn't always fit our budget and we found the experience less that optimal," he said. "Looking around online, no one was providing a venue tailored to the unique needs of original art. Zatista was born to make this easier."
Size of Marketplace
Zatista currently represents nearly 400 top emerging and established artists from all over the world, said Borowsky. "Our marketplace focuses on curation and quality, so even though we have over 5000 works of original and limited-edition art, we are very selective," but are "constantly adding the finest works."
Benefits of Selling on Zatista
Artists who sell on Zatista get the benefit of being part of a "great global cohort of talented artists," according to Borowsky. And since you have to go through a selection process to sell art on the site, simply being listed there confers a certain cachet: "The fact that Zatista is highly curated sets it apart from sites like Etsy," says Borowsky.
Zatista's marketing initiatives and press also help the exposure of the site in general, and hence its listed artists. The site has been featured in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, New York Times, InStyle and other media outlets.
Zatista has a strong relationship with all of its artists, but the most important metric at the end of the day is sales, said Borowsky - "this is why artists list on Zatista." The art marketplace does not require artists to sign exclusivity contracts: "We see ourselves as partners who are here to help artists, not limit them," he says.
The first steps are registering as a seller on the site and creating a profile. Zatista asks sellers to list at least three to five original works with a complete description and high-resolution photos.
Acceptance of works is based on, but not limited to, overall quality of work; general presentation of work; clarity of submitted images; and subject matter, style, medium, and pricing. There are no fees for applying.
Sellers are charged a flat commission of 45% only when an item is sold, and Zatista does not charge listing or membership fees. Buyers do not pay any fees on Zatista.
Benefits to Art Enthusiasts of Buying on Zatista
What about art buyers? Why would they want to shop on Zatista as opposed to, say, eBay, Etsy or from a gallery?
"Buying original art is a unique experience," says Borowsky. "Zatista was created specifically for this purpose." He says the site is highly curated and has "the best artists/artwork."
The interface of the site is tailored for art and easy discovery, with features such as their search, which offers many filters, including Type, Style, Medium, Price and Color; as well as a "see in room" feature; and "art explorer," a kind of Pinterest-like wandering-through-a-gallery experience where the user is presented with a series of images matching his search and can click "Love It!" on any one.
Buyers also benefit from risk-free trials, free returns and shipping, and the peace of mind of a certificate of authenticity with every piece - they are guaranteed original.
Art enthusiasts, including newbies, can also learn more about art through the site's educational features. "We are always looking to help educate and introduce people to the world of art," says Borowsky. A buyer can experience a "one on one" consultation with Zatista's "personal concierges," or they can browse the site's "art 101" section. It also covers various art topics on the WallSpin blog.
Getting the Word Out and Marketing Initiatives
So how is Zatista marketing itself? "We focus a great deal of energy on making sure our artwork reaches the right audience - we have strong online marketing campaigns, SEO and PR presence," says Borowsky. More recently they have started to partner with some other online retailers. And, he adds, "What has also proven very effective over the years is the word of mouth from happy artists and excited customers."
When asked if there are any particular artists who are successful on Zatista, Borowsky said, "One of many that comes to mind is a talented artist called Cherry Brewer." (You can see her page on Zatista.) But, he added, "We have a great deal of successful artists on Zatista."
Borowsky says they are constantly listening and learning how they can best showcase their artists, reach the customer, and make Zatista the best place to buy original art. "We love art and are hard at work every day sharing it with the world."
About the author:
Julia Wilkinson is the author of "The eBay Price Guide" (No Starch Press, 2006) and "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks" (Wiley, 2004-6). Her free "Yard Salers" newsletter is at available at YardSalers.net where you will also find her latest ebook, Flip It Again.
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