With a great passion for the arts that lasted since childhood, Art Waley founder Priyal Ostwal has always been painting and creating visual art. Along with her passion for art, she also frequented several art exhibitions, gaining in-depth knowledge of the profession and the artists who presented their works. But Priyal found that there was a dilemma with the art scene in India after noticing a certain pattern in these exhibitions. Upon inspecting the prices offered for paintings, she noticed that with the over 2000 works there, several of the works were severely undervalued. Artists would have almost no money to go back home with and even if they sold a painting, it would only be a matter of months before they have no sales.
Thus, Priyal wanted to change India’s climate on visual works by restoring the true value of art for its painters. Seeing as her father ran a business for 20 to 30 years, it could have been the case for her to have followed in his footsteps in running the family enterprise. But instead, Priyal was inspired by events such as Development Dialogue hosted by the Deshpande Foundation in Hubballi, motivated to help society and to contribute to its betterment. So instead, she settled with creating her own social enterprise as a means of reaching this goal in the context of artists. And in fact, her father also came around to become a co-founder for the enterprise, allowing her to learn more about business and management.
With the decision to become incubated into Sandbox Startups, the simple idea of just building a website became so much more. Priyal’s ultimate idea of her enterprise was to create an e-commerce platform that sold a variety of works from local artists to customers while franchising her business to other places. With tier-ii support from the incubation center, she managed to meet with top mentors who had a one-on-one session with her, suggesting that the website idea be molded into its current business model. In addition to the organization’s assistance, Priyal grew her team to a group of 7 members while being charged low rent costs to house the company’s paintings. To her, being in Sandbox Startups was like being in a house for startups, where assistance for all sorts of essentials was within reach.
To assume that Art Waley had smooth sailings would be false. For one thing, she had to convince artists from their typical mindset of only being able to generate revenue at exhibitions, personally reaching out to them that they could also make an income with her platform. She also struggled with sales as India was a harder climate to sell such works unless pre-existing connections were established. Finally, the idea of management was daunting where all sorts of aspects had to be taken care of. This difficulty was especially pronounced for a student who just graduated from school.
But with her perseverance as a young entrepreneur, Priyal persevered. She spread her enterprise via word of mouth and showed people the value they could get for the art purchased from her enterprise. She managed to recruit over 200 artists into her fold, all representing a variety of art that no exhibition could encompass. Priyal was also successful in establishing a gallery in Hubballi while making plans to franchise in Chennai, Pune, and Bangalore. With her sales, the highest painting that Priyal was able to auction off was worth 11lakh rupees, giving all proceeds for the jio (Jain International Organization). Finally, well-established businesses and over 40 eminent individuals have purchased artworks from Art Waley to display, with even sales coming from Dubai.
It will be exciting to see how Art Waley will scale in the future. With a goal of establishing over 20 franchises in the world as well as serving over 1000 artists, Priyal has high ambitions to make a positive impact for the art community in India and abroad.
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Akshay Plaza Shirur Park Road, Phase 4 Akshay Colony, Hubballi-580021, Karnataka, India.
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