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Meet Phillip Rosenberg of Why Not Art in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Phillip Rosenberg.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Angele, my co-founder and sister, and I have very different academic and professional backgrounds, but we share a common passion for art. I started off on a more traditional path, and after graduating from Princeton with a degree in economics, I started working in finance in NYC. However, after three years I realized that the conventional corporate world wasn’t for me.

I decided to leave NYC and chase down real estate opportunities that took me to Panama and then to Europe. Angele, on the other hand, decided to stay in academia where she got her Ph.D. in Art History. Her studies took her across Europe, and she spent extensive time living in Greece as she was doing her research. It was the Christmas of 2015-16 that Angele and I started debating the difficulties the art market was facing in our digital, e-commerce age.

At this point, I was living in London, and Angele was in Amsterdam. Angele had just received a job offer for a tenure track professorship back in the USA. Over the holidays we casually joked about her not leaving Europe and the two of us setting up an online art platform aiming to make the art market more accessible. Joining forces we could truly offer something new to the art world. Over the next couple of months, we began working on our business plan.

Once we realized that we were on to something exciting Angele decided to turn down her job offer and focus full time on Why Not Art. I quickly followed her and quit my job that summer. After a lot of work and preparation our platform first went live March of 2017 in London. This is what kicked off what Why Not Art has grown to be today, a community of artists and art lovers that offers a fresh approach to appreciating and owning art.

The first year was a huge learning experience both on the side of running an online platform but also on the side of understanding what clients really wanted. We went through several iterations of our business model adapting to client feedback that many times was very different to what we thought they wanted.

Today, we work directly with artists across the US and Europe, and we offer Fine Art Subscriptions. Our clients can turn their homes into their own private rotating galleries as they discover new amazing artists. We take the hassle and difficulty out of finding the perfect art piece at affordable prices while supporting new emerging talent.

Our curators build personalized plans for each of our clients, so they don’t get lost scrolling through endless catalogues of art. I recently moved back to my hometown, LA, and following our success in London we are excited to have launched in LA this past November.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, it definitely has not been a simple, smooth road. Anybody that tells you that starting his or her company was a smooth road is lying. Starting a company is a roller coaster ride with ups and downs and even a couple loops. The biggest struggle that I had to overcome was an internal battle with myself not to give up. For the previous eight years of my career, I had the security of a job that paid me a monthly salary.

The decision to quit everything and start out on my own was a big change. The first six-nine months was full of excitement as we launched our platform and got ready for the subscribers to pile in. But unfortunately, things don’t go exactly as you have planned. We had setbacks with our web development, and customer acquisition was harder than I initially thought.

It was after the first nine months’ excitement passed that I really had to buckle down and stay focused and optimistic about our vision and mission. It was far too easy to get derailed and stuck in a rut with the day-to-day problems that we ran into. One of my mentors once told me there are three reasons why a startup fails. First, the product or concept is not good.

Second, the team is not capable. And third, despite the great concept and the smart and capable team, they don’t have the stomach to weather the ups and downs of a startup and give up somewhere along the way. I believe in our innovative platform and our competent team and keep reminding myself of this third reason every single time we hit a new road bump.

Why Not Art – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
WhyNotArt is disrupting the traditional way art is bought, sold and experienced. We work directly with artists and offer personalized Fine Art Subscriptions. Our clients turn their homes, offices or businesses into a rotating gallery as they discover new amazing artists at their own time in their own space. At WhyNotArt we believe that Art is for everyone and the path to ownership should be a fun and easy experience.

Buying art can be a daunting and intimidating process with endless scrolling through catalogues. All our subscription plans, starting at $50/month, give you direct access to our team of curators. After filling out a brief Q&A, our curators will build a subscription that fits your taste and needs.

Every three months we rotate the artwork you have, and we even provide installation services to make your experience as seamless as possible. If you have fallen in love with artwork and don’t want to give it back, you can purchase it and take the three months that you have already paid off the price.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
For Why Not Art I see success as changing the way people relate to art. No longer will people think that art is for the few who can afford the time and expense. Success for us is creating an international platform that supports artists and engages people, reminding them of the importance of art.

For myself personally, I do not define success solely in terms of career success. Being successful implies having achieved a healthy balance between career and family aspirations.

For me, success is when I am working at something that I am passionate about while I am able to provide the best for my family and at the same time having the time to spend with my family and enjoy the outdoors.

Pricing:

  • $50/month – Junior Curator (access to artwork $1,000-$2,500)
  • $100/month – Curator (access to artwork $4,000-$7,500)
  • $200/month – Senior Curator (access to artwork $10,000-$20,000)

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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