Artfinder: Transforming The Art World
by Wolf & Badger
Online art marketplace and fellow B Corporation, Artfinder is on a mission to make art accessible by connecting customers directly with independent artists around the world. The platform allows artists to make a living doing what they love, while supporting creativity in global communities. We caught up with Artfinder's chief executive Michal Szczesny and curator Helen Buckley to hear more about their transformation of the art world.
Tell us about Artfinder; how the platform works and where the concept itself came from.
Michal: We launched Artfinder in 2013 with a small team and a big dream. We started with only 14 artists on the site and now, Artfinder is the world’s largest original art marketplace with more than 7,000 artists in 108 countries.
We’re on a mission to make art accessible and affordable, while supporting artists to make a living doing what they love. We love that artists and buyers can form meaningful connections with each other, as we allow for direct communication through Artfinder’s messaging system. We also offer the ability for buyers to commission artists, a personal shopping service and artwork collections handpicked by our curatorial board.
Why did you feel it to be so important to create the community you’ve so successfully built within the art world?
We simply wouldn’t be here without our artists and buyers. Being able to provide a platform for independent artists to reach a global audience is a privilege and we love it when artists proudly tell us they’ve shipped their art to the other side of the world! Similarly, when a buyer tells us they’ve found a piece that speaks to them on a personal level, we’re reminded of how powerful art can be.
What do you think is the driving force toward people purchasing original art online?
Original art is no longer the unattainable market it used to be. While the high-end art market is certainly still going strong, people are now starting to realise they can own original art without spending a fortune.
Having direct access to artists and supporting them to do what they love is a really special thing for our buyers - and it’s something they wouldn’t necessarily have had access to before art went online.
Can you give us a bit more insight into some of the initiatives you support via Artfinder.
In 2020, we launched our partnership with tree planting enterprise, Ecologi. We now plant one tree for every artwork sold, with a goal to plant one million trees by 2030. In 2021 alone, we planted 100,000 trees, saving almost 340T of Co2.
Through our partnership with Ecologi, we are now actually operating as a climate positive workplace and are one of the founding partners of the Million Tree Pledge.
Tell us a bit about your journey to becoming B Corp - what was the importance of this for you?
Certifying as a B Corp was a huge deal for us. Artfinder’s team has always believed in our values and supporting artists, but we’d never gone through a process to make it official. Achieving B Corp certification was a months-long endeavour and we really had to understand not only what we were doing right, but all the ways we could improve.
We eventually certified as a B Corp in 2019 and it has really cemented the fact that we are here to make a positive impact. We are held accountable for the decisions we make as a business and as a result, our community and the environment are always at the forefront of our minds.
What value do you think it brings to Artfinder?
Other than the fact it makes us accountable, we recognise from a buyer’s perspective that being a B Corp holds weight.
In a post-lockdown world, people are using their spending power for good. Our B Corp certification shows our customers that we’re here for the right reasons; they can trust that their money is being used in a transparent and positive way.
What’s next for Artfinder since achieving B Corp?
We’re actually due for B Corp recertification mid-2022, so we’re busy working on smashing our initial score of 81.4 out of the park! We’ve got so many plans for this year alone, so watch this space.
What do you like about Wolf & Badger?
Michal: We love that Wolf & Badger fosters a community much like Artfinder’s. By supporting independent brands, you’re facilitating an economy that’s fairer, more sustainable and champions originality. Plus, your community of designers and makers is seriously dreamy.
Helen: Amongst our group of friends, sustainability is super important and we all love to support smaller independent brands, which is why I love Wolf & Badger! Working at Artfinder, which is also a B Corp, I see the huge importance of building better businesses and I particularly seek out other B Corps to buy from, as to me it is a symbol of trust. Wolf & Badger also happen to share their HQ with my favourite restaurant in London, Hicce, which earns them extra points!
Helen, tell us more about the edit you've curated for us?
Thinking on the theme of ‘Sisterhood’, I thought about what this word means to me. I am lucky enough to have a group of incredibly strong, supportive, inspiring friends that I have carried through life for about 25 years.
We are a true sisterhood, having known each other since our formative years and undoubtedly taking our friendships with us to the grave. I love this group of 10 women like my family, have experienced so much with them and they make me a better person. I have therefore chosen 10 items that remind me of each of us.
Discover Helen's edit below:
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