Imagine this….It’s Monday. You want some art for your new apartment, but you’re overwhelmed by the options.
So you sign up for Kollecto & answer a few questions about your taste & your budget (imagine you want to spend no more than $500-$1000)
On Tuesday, you get an email from your own personal Art Advisor who is ready to help you find an awesome piece of art for your apartment.
But your Art Advisor isn’t working alone. She has a team of Art Advisors all over the world. Each Advisor knows about different artists & has relationships with different galleries.
Your Art Advisor sends a ‘shoutout’ to her team & instantly, people all over the world are searching high & low for art for you. It takes a few days, but over the weekend, your Advisor reviews all the art that’s been found especially for you & picks the best submissions to show you.
That’s the new user experience we’re building at Kollecto. We’re ‘crowdsourcing’ art recommendations for our clients. But we stumbled along the way.
Last month, we were doing pretty well. We had a tiny project where one Art Advisor managed 10-15 clients at a time. We moved slowly & ended up with a massive waiting list of hundreds of people who were interested in our service.
So we scaled. We brought on 5 more Art Advisors & took on lots more clients.
About 2 weeks in, it was clear that we had problems:
- As is true with any online product/service, NOT EVERYONE who signs up, converts to a customer. As a founder, that seemed fine. But as an Art Advisor, it felt like something was wrong when you were introduced to 10 clients & only 6 or 7 responded. I hadn’t set expectations & it was decreasing morale.
- All the Art Advisors were communicating with clients via FrontApp (a collaborative email tool). But it was incredibly difficult to monitor so many conversations happening at once. Each Art Advisor has a radically different communication style & not all styles were aligned with the Kollecto brand/ vision. It was clear that this wasn’t going to scale with dozens of Advisors.
- Finally, it was too much work & too little pay. Most Art Advisors in the industry make 10% on sales. So they require a $10,000 minimum budget, making the pay is worth the effort. That’s WHY we built Kollecto. We wanted to help people buy art under $3000 when no one else would. The theory was that we could help 10 people buy inexpensive pieces in the time it took to help 1 person buy an expensive investment piece. But developing strong relationships with clients, finding art, curating the pieces, emailing galleries, negotiating prices… it wasn’t worth the $50 or $100 commission. We were asking too much.
So we built something cooler
We changed the Art Advisor role to ONLY include finding art & writing a few sentences about each piece.
Each week, our Art Advisory team will get access to anonymous client profiles. Their job is to find & submit art suggestions for each client.
Our Chief Art Advisor will select the best 5-6 pieces to present to each client.
When clients buy, the Art Advisor that found the piece, wins the 10% commission. We’re keeping the team small so that everyone can make money.
What we’re doing, for lack of better words, is crowdsourcing art recommendations for our clients.
We’ve done small ‘art crowdsourcing’ experiments & it works very well. We’re always surprised that NO ONE submits the same piece of art.
We’re pairing clients with one central Art Advisor who functions like an Account Manager.
This person will be a more trained/ full-time member of the Kollecto team. Our best sales come from people who develop a relationship with their Advisor & can ask questions about art/ chat back & forth.
The new structure is better for our Art Advisors (less work & same pay). And it’s better for our customers (better service & dozens of people working for them).
If you know someone who’d like to join our Art Advisory, have them request an application at join.artkollecto.com.
Hi there- My name is Tara Reed & I’m the founder of Kollecto. I'm a non-technical founder building software without writing any code.I’m also a first-time entrepreneur who swore I'd never become an entrepreneur…Oh well, sh*t happens! :) Follow my journey as I build a cool art startup...