In Conversation with Alix Greenberg of ArtSugar
Describe your business in a few words?
ArtSugar is the curated e-commerce platform showcasing eye-catching artwork and home decor objects. With every purchase, we donate a portion of the proceeds to one of our pre-vetted charitable partners. We believe art is for everyone – ArtSugar exists to meet your art needs, accessibly.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I worked in the fine art work for nearly a decade and had a little website on the side where people could commission portraits drawn by me. Then I added some more artists to the site who were looking for logistical and sales assistance. After a few years doing this on the side of my 9-5 job, my grandma passed away – I was so close to her. I realized life is way too short not to do what you really love. I decided to follow my passion and scale something that seemed to be working as a side hustle.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Born and raised in NYC, I spent nearly a decade working in the Fine Art industry before launching ArtSugar in October 2017. With a BFA from Cornell and an MA from Christie’s Education, I combined my love of drawing and art history with my dedication to giving back and ArtSugar was born.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
No I didn’t. I was always really creative and loved building things – and have been beating to my own drum my whole life. Being an entrepreneur should have been obvious to me, but it only occurred to me that I was one once I was doing it already!
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
My strategy initially was to work with artists who had large IG followings – part of our agreement to be on the platform free of charge was to post about the artwork that we were offering together. All of my initial marketing was done through the artists and through IG.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
Probably paying for an automated PR company in my early days. I paid a few hundred dollars a month to have a company send out automated emails to thousands of writers. Was a lot of throwing stuff against the wall to see if it stuck. Not a good use of money! Forming relationships is so important when you are an entrepreneur – I realized these automated services couldn’t do the job I could or a seasoned PR person could.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
My partnership with Zola was the first major brand collaboration of my business and it was all the way back in May 2018. ArtSugar wasn’t even a year old yet!
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Our customers are definitely more engaged than ever before. They are loving our home products that are also super functional like the cutting boards and trays. This period has been so challenging for all of us, I am certainly grateful that my business has been doing well during a most difficult time.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I get kicked down most days – that will ground you!
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
Nothing makes me laugh harder than toilet humor.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Get up early, write a list of to-do tasks when you get to your desk (even if you don’t look at it, it helps start the day), and drink lots of water.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Creating something out of nothing to better our communities.