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We spoke to Morgane Wagner, the founder of The Square Gallery, she’s currently London’s youngest female entrepreneur to open and own a gallery. This is what she had to say…
· Company: The Square Gallery London
· What it does, in a sentence: We offer a platform in South West London to showcase exciting emerging and affordably priced contemporary art.
· Founded: 12 May 2016. Battersea, London.
· Founder: Morgane Wagner
· Size of team: Four
· Your name and role: Morgane Wagner, Gallery Founder.
What problem are you trying to solve?
We feel that there are not enough spaces dedicated to promoting art. The Square Gallery was founded as a space focused on showcasing exciting new and emerging contemporary artists. Because we also believe that owning art should not be seen as something only accessible to the very wealthy we place an emphasis on showing affordably priced art.
Additionally, we believe space is important for the community and a hub for activity. We offer classes and workshops, as well as hiring out our space for events.
How big is the market – and how much of it do you think you can own?
Interest in owning contemporary art has never been greater. We are under no illusion that the market is easy to crack, but our commitment to showing the most interesting new art and offering affordable works to buyers means that we can own a successful portion of the market for a small gallery.
How do you make money?
We make our money from sales commissions, as well as hiring out our space for uses ranging from art exhibitions to private receptions and film production.
Who’s on your team that makes you think you can do this?
We are very much a team driven by our commitment to the business model; it is really working together that produces the best ideas and an excitement for driving the business forward.
Who’s bankrolling you?
We are self-financed.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?
If you have worked long enough to secure finances for funding a new business, you have the weight of all that time and effort riding on the success or failure of the new venture. You need to be certain that you are fully behind your idea and have thoroughly thought out your strategy for growth development.
What do you believe the key to growing this business is?
The key to growing this business is through constantly persevering to expand our reach, while at the same time offering a quality product. For us this is through showing excellent art and offering a versatile events space.
What metrics do you look at every day?
We continually look at our marketing analytics. There is no point in having a space with interesting art without an audience to show it to.
What’s been the most unexpectedly valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Whilst the importance of reaching the target audience was never underestimated, a lesson was certainly learned with regard to the considerable and unrelenting effort it requires to ensure we are continuing to connect to potential buyers and growing our audience.
What’s been your biggest mistake so far?
From my individual perspective, the biggest mistake I made was overestimating the duties I could take ownership of myself. It is very important to be able to let others take care of work, and to be able to focus on your own work load, I’ve learnt how important surrounding oneself with a good team is.
What do you think is on the horizon for your industry in the year ahead?
Corporate and private collectors are continuing to buy, and in an ever-expanding city, businesses working across property are looking for excellent art to fill commercial and private spaces.
However, the contemporary art market is unsteady. This is especially true in London and the wider UK given the imprecise details and general anxiety toward leaving the European Union. The art trade is a fundamentally international business. The details of trade and free movement agreements, which hopefully will become clear, will no doubt determine the health of the market going forwards.
Which London start-up/s are you watching, and why?
Vastari.com is an interesting start-up which connects art collectors and museums for the benefit of creating new exhibition and tour opportunities. Art should be seen by as many people possible, such a goal requires connection between the owners and those with the capability of showing it. Vastari is a company which provides these networking capabilities through an online platform.