Ayra is a curated marketplace for art from up & coming contemporary artists from under-represented markets
Kolkata, New York, Providence
My background in art history and my brother's background in economics, make us a great founding team. We established Ayra Art this past year with the mission to bridge India and the US through art. We are early in our journey, experimenting with a variety of business models to identify our true value edge.
Our business model experiments
1. new york art for the indian market
Given the growing middle class in India, with more people coming into extraneous wealth, the overall Indian Modern and Contemporary art market saw a 36% increase in sales in 2015.
We conducted a number of user interviews with consumers in India as well as art market experts, such as the former CTO of Art.com, the former head of Sotheby's USA, the current head of Christies, China.
We discovered that:
The Indian art market is at a tipping point. Consumers have more liquid assets that they want to invest and their awareness of art as a desirable object has exponentially increased. Consumers in markets similar to where India is want access to art from global markets such as New York.
Given Ayra's cross-country footholds in the US and in India, Ayra was well-positioned to being that conduit for global art in India.
To test our hypothesis, we designed a show for the Kolkata market. We were planning on holding an exclusive, invite-only event that featured "Fine-Food and Fine-Art from New York".
We identified 10-12 artists in the New York area, curated art work that matched the sentiment of the Indian consumer as well as art that we could easily transport. The theme that tied the art together was "inspired by New York"
We set up relationships with customs in India and the US to smoothen the process of a temporary imports and exports. We finalized a location, a caterer, identified anchor clients, PR agencies and marketing firms. We were marching towards a fantastic event.
Then Prime Minister Modi's de-monetization scheme hit. India went from having significant cash surplus to becoming a cash-strapped economy overnight, effectively reducing a consumer's willingness to purchase luxury goods like art. With 4 weeks to the show, we had to post-pone our opening till the economy stabilized!
2. AYRA FOR INTERIOR DESIGNERS
We successfully put up a show with Artee Collections, an interior design store in Providence, Rhode Island. Artee Collections caters to two distinct customer segments - interior designers and consumers wanting to decorate their homes. What ties both segments is their desire for "decorative art" at low prices.
Given the mission of Artee Collections to source locally, we curated art from 2 early-stage artists from the East Coast. We selected art that would be resonate with Artee Collections' inventory.
The show is open until the end of January 2017.
3. AYRA ART FOR RENT
Over the last year we have been building up a client base in India. We are currently sourcing art work from up & coming artists for a client for his new office space. Given his desire for large-format paintings as well as his need to stay contemporary, we suggested that he rent art and rotate it on a semi-annual basis. A rent-based business model creates a sustainable revenue model for Ayra, while remaining affordable for our clients and giving our artists’ exposure. This experiment is currently underway.
Where we are headed
We still think the highest-potential market for Ayra is India. We are playing a wait-and-watch game with the market, conducting periodic interviews with potential consumers to identify a good time frame to hold our show.
Based on the results of our other business model experiments, we will evaluate whether Ayra's value proposition is truly unique and is a platform for a successful business.