ArtStar: Growing Smartly – Part II

October 3, 2019
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© Michelle Kappeler 2019

In Part I of our follow-up article, we discussed ArtStar’s growth, its brilliant new office space and how the space helps business. In Part II we will take a look at how the business is evolving, the importance of personal interaction in the art business, and the collaboration opportunities ArtStar has found in the Townsend and St. James.

ArtStar’s Burgeoning Business

ArtStar started purely as an ecommerce company where young collectors could easily access art. They could go online; they could pick something out and customize it. It’s affordable and can be shipped to them.

There is still some of that business but ArtStar has evolved, and now it works with a lot of corporate collections and residential designers. Now 90% of ArtStar’s revenues are from the trade. The firm provides art for public areas in multi-family condos, and it does a lot with hospitality.  Chrissy explained, “We’re seeing the hospitality industry really rebrand. No one wants to be thought of as the typical tan hotel with maroon abstract art.”

They want to be fun, and they want to be seen as fresh, and interesting, and something you want to put on Instagram and social media. Hotels are responding to social media being part of their marketing and organic posts being part of their marketing. The art helps that narrative and gives people something to photograph and put on Instagram.”  ArtStar is also working on many corporate offices. Right now, ArtStar is completing projects with Convene, which is a high-end co-working space. The firm also does art for WeWork and lots of smaller offices. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how effective ArtStar’s newly conceived office space resonates with younger audiences looking for breakthrough edgy solutions and how that converts to sales.

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© Michelle Kappeler 2019

The Internet and the Importance of Personal Interaction and Bricks and Mortar

Whether it is business to the trade or private customers, Chrissy, told us, “We’ve found that ecommerce needs some sort of physical presence. Bonobos was all ecommerce, now they have stores. Warby Parker was all ecommerce, now they have discovery shops. We’ve found that even if you want to be completely online, you do need some sort of physical footprint.”  This is especially true in the art business, where people need to see and feel what they are purchasing and how it will be finished; people see ArtStar’s products in person.

That is why the firm goes to art fairs all over the US, including Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, New York, Seattle, San Francisco. Nevertheless, we are seeing more people turn to the internet as a resource to buy art, and we’re seeing people spend more and more money online. They’re comfortable with a higher price-point. The problem is that everything that we do is custom, so, we do not take returns.  We found that the showroom was really necessary so that if you’re a first time buyer, you can come in, see the quality, and trust us. Especially if you’re an interior designer and you’re spending somebody else’s money, you don’t want to make a mistake. So, space is very important to the ArtStar experience, practically, aesthetically, and socially.

A Great Space in a Great Building

Chrissy specifically mentioned that her team loves the sunlight, high ceilings, detailing, windows, security, history of the building, and view of historic St. Sava.

It is important to Chrissy that she is in a Bruce Price building.  “I love him as an architect, and it was just a happy coincidence that he’s the one who designed the building.  Chrissy told us that her home in Tuxedo Park, and while her home was by William Bates, Bruce Price did the whole of Tuxedo Park; he did everything. And this building went up the same year that William Bates did her home.  So, it’s all the same vintage, so that was a super happy coincidence. I thought it was a good luck sign.”

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© Michelle Kappeler 2019

A Place for Collaborating

As mentioned earlier, Chrissy Crawford is open and upbeat.  That may be why she finds so many opportunities to collaborate with fellow tenants.  Besides her work with kinderMODERN, which she lavishes with praise, she has worked with a number of the designers in the Kew buildings.  ArtStar staffers are working with Shawn Henderson on a project in Turks and Caicos. They’re friendly with John Greene. They did a feature on Fawn Galli, who just had her book come out, and it launched at Rizzoli downstairs. She’s awesome.

On the personal side, Chrissy also does Pilates with Amy Nelms on the 10th Floor of the St. James, who was just featured in Vogue. (“kinderMODERN also designed her space, and it’s beautiful,” says Crissy).

Chrissy wanted to invite fellow tenants to drop by, “We would really love it if our neighbors wanted to come by. We’re always hosting people, and we have a trade program.” To get the benefits of the program, Kew tenants can sign up at The KEW discount code good for 15% off, plus free shipping.


1133 Broadway, Suite 314
New York, NY 10010|
(212) 995-5352