Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

How we Built It: Joshna Rughani, CEO, Artfinder

Joshna tells us about her mission to make art accessible, affordable, and a viable career for artists. 

Give us the elevator pitch. Tell us about your brand.

Artfinder is the affordable art marketplace, where you can buy original art directly from artists around the world. We’re B Corp certified and on a mission to make art accessible, affordable and a viable career for artists.

What inspired you to set up your company 

The world is full of artists, somewhere around 17 million of them depending where you get your data. That’s a huge market of independent, living artists, busy making great art and looking for a route directly to sell it. At the same time more and more customers are looking for ways to shop sustainably, ethically, thoughtfully, rejecting mass produced, throwaway items in favour of something handmade and meaningful. We connect those artists with those customers and enable art buying to become accessible and affordable outside of galleries and museums. 

What was your biggest challenge in year one

Finding an audience. Recruiting great artists has never been difficult, but buying art is still seen as something slightly scary or elitist or just too expensive. In that sense the challenge wasn’t just entering an existing market, it was creating a whole new market category. Since we launched a whole load of other competitors have joined the race, which is great really, in that they saw the potential that we see, but our challenge now is to differentiate our offering and making sure customers have a reason to choose us.

What would you say has been your biggest marketing success

Our B Corp certification. Which isn’t solely a marketing success of course, being a B Corp is so integral to every aspect of our business – but it is an independent verification of our commitment to a positive social and environmental impact. We walk the walk and we talk the talk and we’ve seen so many positive changes to our business including customers really responding to it, especially if we We recently recertified with a huge 37% increase to our score of 111.6 taking us into the ‘outstanding’ category globally – and also March is B Corp Month so it’s the perfect time to shout about it! 

What has been the biggest mistake you made

Thinking that as a marketplace business, international expansion would be easy. The US is now our biggest market, but as a UK-only team currently, that’s been a long and rocky road with plenty of unexpected challenges thrown at us along the way. 

Tell us about your plans for the future

Taking what we’ve learnt in the US, and expanding our presence in other markets globally, as well as remaining lean and agile for whatever these extremely volatile macroeconomic factors circumstances might throw at us next.