Launched in 2003 by entrepreneur Liza Shamash, Saffron Interior Arts provides a platform for collectors, interior designers and architects to buy art from ‘hidden’ artists from across the globe.
Unlike other platforms which let artists sell their work, Saffron helps artists by advising them on the pricing, strategy and marketing of their products so they can spend more time at work.
Initially launching in London, the company quickly saw interest gather pace from overseas and expanded into the USA. Now, the business is eyeing further success as it continues growing.
Caroline Shamash, artistic director, told BQ: “A lot of artists want to focus on creating their pieces and spend less time on the financial side. That’s where we come in.
“For a commission we will advise on the pricing, strategy and marketing. We also sell their items. We are the middle man for artists.
“It took a little while for us to start exporting – around two years. This was primarily as US clients like to have someone readily available at all times to discuss their projects.
“It was very hard to accomplish this being based in London. Luckily I had the opportunity to spend more time in the US and this has since helped to significantly increase our profile here.
“We are now looking to other markets such as Russia and the Middle East. The US is still a huge market for us. Right now we are concentrating on New York. However, we would like to be able to branch out in Chicago, Miami and LA within the next two years.”
As with any first time exporter, Saffron sought business advice to help them when they first explored opportunities overseas. Luckily for Caroline and Liza, they were able to tap into the support on offer by Business Link and the Department for International Trade (formerly UKTI).
Caroline added: “When we first started exporting I went to Business Link – a fantastic service which I wish they would bring back. Business Link put me in touch with the Department for International Trade and they gave me several grants to help facilitate to the move in the US market.”
Parveen Thornhill, London regional director at the Department for International Trade, praised Saffron’s success. sHe said: “There’s huge demand for UK expertise in design and architecture, and Saffron Interior Arts is a perfect case in point.
“The UK is a global leader in creative, design and arts, and London is a particularly well-known hub, but we want to see our influence grow further.
"It’s particularly exciting to see a London business like Saffron Interior Arts experiencing great success in as established a market as the US.”