Quick facts

Founders: Phillip Rosenberg, Angele Rosenberg

Founded: 2016

Location: Runway East Moorgate

Website: View here

Pitch your company in one sentence.
Why Not Art is a community of artists and art lovers offering a fresh approach to appreciating and owning art with affordable subscription plans.
 
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
It sort of happened by accident actually. Angele, my co-founder, has a background in ancient art and was shifting to contemporary art whereas I was working in PE Real Estate. We had always joked that our worlds could never meet but the more I learned about the contemporary art world through conversations with Angele, the more I realised that it was a conservative and stagnant market. I began suggesting that we apply and adapt some of the basic concepts of leasing and real estate to the art market while buying into the growth of the subscription economy and then we both decided – why not?!
What was your journey like to get where you are?

One characterised by unexpected twists and turns is the short answer! Each of them has contributed in a productive way to the overall journey but I can’t say that I had it all planned out when I graduated from uni. Like many Princeton graduates, I moved to New York City after graduation and starting working at Deutsche Bank. That job developed into a stable portfolio manager position at an asset management firm. But after 3 years I decided that I needed more, so I jumped at the opportunity to move to Panama and participate in its booming real estate market. In Panama I got my first taste of running my own business as I led a redevelopment of a boutique hotel.  It was an incredible experience where I learned a lot about business, myself and a new culture.  Following Panama, I moved to London and joined a small, fast growing real estate company where I was in charge of building out our Southern European platform. However, after a several years back in the corporate world I knew the entrepreneurial life was for me and quit to set up Why Not Art with my co-founder and sister Angele.

When it’s all over, how do you want to be remembered? 

As the company that pushed the contemporary art market to change for the benefit of artists and art lovers alike. The market is terribly conservative and is just aching for something new that will actually deliver on its promises to give artists access to wider market and to give art lovers more affordable prices. WhyNotArt is that innovation.

Where do you see your industry going?

Change, change, change. Art fairs have been the answer for a while, making it much easier for art collectors to get a snapshot of the contemporary scene. But, as many news outlets have explained, the exorbitant fees are squeezing galleries. For some this means closing their brick and mortar shops, which may not be the worst thing. What is more pernicious is that the model favours big galleries selling artworks at the top of the range and punishes independent galleries working with affordable to mid range price points. How are artists supposed to start their careers in this climate? And how are gallerists supposed to live their lives if they’re constantly rushing to the next international art fair?

What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?

I am really not a zombie guy so I would be particularly unhappy about the zombie apocalypse. My little brother plays a lot of video games and knows much more about how to beat a zombie apocalypse.  I think I would fly back to LA and fight it out with him.

What made you choose your current location?
London is a large, diverse and cultured market which I found as an ideal place to pilot a new art platform.  And for our physical office, Runway East is definitely the best combination of value, location and price that I could find! Oh and of course amazing staff!  Trust me, I did my research.

What is unique about your business?
The offer of subscriptions to fine art. There are subscriptions to prints and rentals for fine art but WhyNotArt is the first to offer subscriptions to fine art in the UK truly making are accessible and flexible.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Gather all of that positive energy that you have right now and bottle it up somehow for safe keeping. It’s a long road ahead and you will constantly need to draw on that reserve of positivity. Perseverance is the name of the game here.

 
Which company (other than your own) do you admire and why?

Spotify. Ek’s bold moves to innovate a stagnated industry and push the company forward while keeping both feet on the ground are definitely something to look up to!

Who is/was your first client?

It was our cousin’s, girlfriend’s brother! That one came as a surprise actually, since we assumed that it would family.

If your company was a genre of music/artist what would it be?

Wow that is a touch question… I am going to through out something random and go with Radiohead, but I am not sure why.

In my spare time I like to…

Play beach volleyball during the summer and ski during the winter. Traveling is always good in between.

What is your favourite quote?

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”
 -Mark Twain

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