We talked to Josep Arguimbau of Arspect about revolutionizing the way people buy art, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Josep Arguimbau: Thank you for asking. We are very thankful that our team, family, and friends are good and healthy during this pandemic. Despite the fact that this past year was a year with such a lot of changes and with emotional and financial impacts, we have worked together to keep our company safe.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Arspect.
Josep Arguimbau: It was a couple of years ago, around 2017 when this business idea was born after seeing a gap in the visual artists market. I saw the need to help them make themselves known and sell their creations through a web platform or app with a similar design to Instagram.
The opportunity was to revolutionize the way people buy art, move from the traditional way to sell art whit a low recurrence and high cost of conviction and customer acquisition, to the current business model that Arspect represents nowadays, the art rent. When we launched our business to the Spanish market was a concept totally new, the only competitors we had were few art companies that had the option to rent art, but this represents a little part of their business model; there wasn’t a business fully focused on rental art.
How does Arspect innovate?
Josep Arguimbau: Trends are continuously changing; nowadays, people are more used to home testing, subscriptions, and rentals or leasing rather than purchase option. And this is exactly what we offer to our customers: the option to rent art without commitment, a monthly payment, and the option to choose another painting once they are tired.
For businesses, this rental option is the best one; they can enjoy a renewed work environment with contemporary artistic trends without having to increase its patrimony. When you purchase a painting, you pay an amount of it, and most of the time, after a while, they end up being saved without being displayed. However, when you rent art, the price is lower, and you could change the painting for another one more suitable to new places or new environments; price and flexibility are our business propose values.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Josep Arguimbau: Well, this pandemic had negative impacts on our company, but at the same time it helped us to change our market view, before the pandemic we were completely focused on the tourism market but once covid-19 came we had to explore new markets where our product could be placed. An example of the new market is a sanitary sector where already we have some client.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Josep Arguimbau: On one hand, one of the most difficult choices I had to face when I decided to start where to settle our bases and establish our own criteria, art is a very traditional market where there are many established topics that generally are hard to change. In our case, it was a long way until we set up solid bases that give consistency, foundation, meaning, and value to an emerging business like ours, which is also so new in Spain.
On the other hand, the change of sector, as we have said, one of the pandemic’s impacts on our company was the need to explore new markets.
The biggest mistake I made was not laying the foundations before launching the idea into the market and wanted to go too fast. In the enterprise, one of the first steps and the most important one is to lay the foundations of the idea to start with strength to avoid stressful situations.
The greatest lesson is to learn day by day and improve your knowledge of the sector you are present in. It is essential to listen to experts, read a lot, and be eager to learn because there is a lot to learn when you undertake.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Arspect in the future?
Josep Arguimbau: I always try to advance to situations that could give me stress or anxiety; everything you do now will have an impact on the future, so for that reason, If you prevent these stresses or anxious situations in advance, you can deal and control them better.
Looking into the future, I see Arspect as a national referent and with an international projection on the art market. We know that we can achieve it because it is essential for our county and the sector. Personally, I see myself enjoying this growth and being with the company for many years.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Josep Arguimbau: As we have mentioned before, our business is a new concept in the market, so we have no direct competitor. Obviously, we have competitors, art sector is a market with a lot of art sell companies, and most of them are very well-minded positioned. But our key to staying in the game is our proposed values that help us to be different from the competitors.
Your final thoughts?
Josep Arguimbau: With the arrival of this new year, we have set ourselves three clear objectives, with the aim of gradually approaching our vision of the future as a company.