“People often associate the word ‘art’ with paintings, but we’re redefining those boundaries. To us, art means to fill up a space in a beautiful way. Our emphasis is to promote ‘fine art’ as a whole, including contemporary and modern art as well as traditional art forms, sculpture, and photography. And we believe art should extend to other elements of our home and personal spaces as well, such as furniture, tableware, rugs, décor and more” Says the co-founder of Artisera, Lisa Jain. She and her husband Varun Bakliwal launched www.artisera.com in October 2015. Since then, through their ‘invite-only’ market place model, they have managed to partner with over thirty of the most trusted and reputed stores, galleries, designers and artists across the country to house a mix of contemporary and traditional pieces for the discerning client.
Every piece on the website is either one of a kind or limited edition. The fine art ranges from traditional tanjores to photography and sculptures. There are rare vintage collatables and curios along with porcelean pieces, tableware and lighting. Accent chairs and tables, consoles and cabinets with their unique flair are also part of the collcection.
Artisera works closely with its partners to curate the pieces you see on the website. If a client likes something listed on the platform, they can buy from it directly, and the order then gets fulfilled by the partners. They also cater to custom inquiries by clients; for e.g. if you’re looking for a specific style or piece, they will work with their partner network to try and source it. The partners include The Great Eastern Home, Balaji Antiques, Cocoon Fine Rugs, Jaipur Rugs, Sarita Handa, Essajees, PortsideCafé Furniture Studio, Vadehra Art Gallery, Kynkyny Art Gallery, Tasveer, Anemos and Navrathan Antique Arts to name a few.
Although there are many interesting online ventures in the aspirational or luxury fashion space, there isn’t any single platform that helps individuals discover exquisite, non-mass manufactured, unique art pieces in all its different forms, from the best brands in the business. And that’s what Artisera is doing. They are very clear in their focus, and are catering to a niche, defined audience. Their clients could be young or old, experienced or novice, living in a big city or a smaller town, but they are all looking for high quality pieces, with a story and a history.
The curation is what really sets them apart. They want the experience on the website to be similar to when you walk into a store or gallery filled with beautiful pieces, admiring every creation, enjoying the sheer process of discovery. At Artesera they understand that the buying experience is critical in the luxury space. And that’s why, even though they are an online store, there is a significant offline element to the Artisera experience. They speak to each client personally, offer advisory services, host gatherings and events to offer a ‘touch and feel’ experience, and help clients with art appreciation. The range of Collectibles is unique and hard to find. Working with some of the most well-respected dealers/stores in this space, they’ve managed to curated some exceptional curios, rare porcelain pieces, and vintage collectibles, which appeal to seasoned collectors as well as those who are just starting out.
Knowledge and information about different art forms is still limited. And it’s very important for someone to feel comfortable and informed before making a high value purchase. And this is why at Artisera they look beyond selling. Through relevant, high quality, interesting content, they help people develop an appreciation for artistic luxury.
“We also believe, that a luxury art and lifestyle business cannot be completely online. While many people will discover new ideas and sellers, buy products, and gain access to what is outside their city digitally, the touch and feel aspect will continue to be critical to some. And that’s why, we want to help our Partners not just with sales on Artisera, but also by driving more people to their physical stores, after being discovered online” Says Varun.
About the founders and their journey
Artisera has been founded by the husband-wife duo Varun Backliwal and Lisa Jain with a vision to create an international art-focused luxury brand.
Varun is the fourth generation of a family that is associated with the fine arts and handicrafts trade since 70+ years. After spending close to a decade in the family business, he completed his MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona. He then began working in the startup investment ecosystem and mentored retail-focused tech startups. That’s when the idea to marry his two areas of expertise struck him.
Lisa comes with extensive experience across investment banking in London and marketing and strategy in the education sector in India. Alongside Artisera, she also owns a successful education venture. She completed her undergrad at University of Warwick, UK and MBA at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. As an outsider to the art trade, Lisa brings a unique and fresh perspective to the business.
They had understood that the digital landscape is evolving rapidly and the need to have meaningful online visibility cannot be ignored by traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. Although there were many interesting online ventures in the fashion space, there wasn’t any single platform that helped individuals discover exquisite, handcrafted, non-mass manufactured art pieces in all its different forms, such as furniture, fine art, collectibles etc. Here is where the opportunity was percieved.
“We have different personalities, backgrounds, and skillsets, but there is one common factor – both of us come from families with a strong entrepreneurial bent of mind. In fact, we were the first in our respective families to get a job. So after having spent some time successfully in the corporate world, we decided to come together, launch a business, and create jobs instead”
They are passionate about not just helping individuals buy (especially those new to this world), but also help them learn about, and develop an appreciation for different art forms. And that’s why they have a strong emphasis on educating and knowledge sharing at Artisera.
Lastly, having a deep understanding of this trade gives Varun and Lisa an advantage. The art and collectibles trade still operates in a very traditional way. Because of Varun’s background in his family business, they are able to solve very real problems for their partner brands, without asking them to shift their focus from what they know and do best.