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CBS entrepreneurs discover a gap in the market: Digital gallery brings art straight to customers

Artists must learn how to combine business and art, but above all, they need a platform to display their art, according to the two Bazr founders. (Private photo: Bazr)

A longing for the colourful bazars of Turkey, overflowing with products crafted by local artisans, fuelled the idea for a new student-founded start-up that brings local art, in a digital gallery, to everyday consumers.

News |   19. Nov 2021

Signe Mereta Lauesen

Journalist

Entrepreneurs dream of discovering that elusive gap in the market that can become a growing business, and by launching Bazr.dk, three CBS students aim to do just that. Sinem Gürbüz’s inspiration for the art platform came to her from a very familiar place.

“While growing up in Turkey, I loved visiting the local bazar and finding handmade art and crafts. It was a very big part of everyday life. When I moved to Copenhagen, I realized how small the market share is here for local artists. I wanted to change that and began brainstorming,” Sinem Gürbüz explains.

After working on the idea for a few months, she asked Sarah Langkjær Diemar and Cecilie Topp to join her as partners.

Founder Sinem Gürbüz (right) and co-founder Sarah Diemar, Bazr, have just launched a special art exhibition showcasing five artists in collaboration with Mate bikes. (Private photo: Bazr)

“While developing the idea, I could see there was a market we could disturb, but I needed a team to pursue this. We already knew each other from CBS Students and have worked together professionally before, and that has been very useful for Bazr,” says Sinem Gürbüz.

Joining forces as CBS students has proven to be an asset for the company, as it has accelerated the development.

“You automatically go into that CBS mindset, the way that you have been taught to think for so long. With CBS’s increased focus on entrepreneurship it also went from an idea phase to a business much faster than we could ever have hoped for,” says Sarah Langkjær Diemar.

Helping artists reach an audience

They realized that artists must learn how to combine business and art, but above all, they need a platform to display their art.

“A lot of talented artists do art as a hobby. Some are students or have a job, so they don’t have time to handle the business side of being an artist. At Bazr, we offer business consultancy that explores how we can help the talents to set up marketing on different platforms, and slowly build their brands,” says Sarah Langkjær Diemar.

(Private photo: Bazr)
(Private photo: Bazr)

The artists have mostly been discovered by spending endless hours scrolling through social media like TikTok, Instagram and Linked-in, but the focus for now has been on finding local talent in Copenhagen. This extensive research has given them insight into the downside of the traditional art world.

“We now know what makes finding these talented artists so challenging. The more we dug into the market, the more we discovered how hard it is to access the art world, not just for artists, but also for the public. The gallery world has become so exclusive that gaining an entrance depends a lot on your last name, your family tree and, of course, the financial resources you have available. That was why we decided on the condition – from the beginning – that it shouldn’t cost artists anything to join Bazr,” says Sarah Langkjær Diemar.

Interior designer and author Katrine Martensen-Larsen, who recently published ‘Living with Art – From Creator To Collector’, confirms that the art world is difficult to access. She has noticed that ordinary people are increasingly seeing art as a way to add colour and a personal touch to their homes.

“But buying art is difficult. There is no list of facts, and it can be quite scary for us non-art experts to step into an established gallery. At the art salon I started in my own home, I experienced for myself how seeing art in ordinary homes – nicely hung, helped me to start collecting,” says Katrine Martensen-Larsen.

She sees a clear purpose for companies such as Bazr.

“I believe that initiatives like Bazr – in a gloriously grounded and non-elitist way – can bring both creators and collectors together, and that is exactly what it’s all about and what I have also emphasized in my book.”

Space in the attic

The first artist to sign up for Bazr was another CBS student Helene Schulz. Initially, she was sceptical about joining, having previously, unsuccessfully tried to sell some of her art.

“It was horrible and it was way too big a commitment considering it was a hobby. But when I started talking to Bazr, what attracted me was the consultancy part. They take care of everything that I don’t feel comfortable with. I would probably never have been able to price my own pieces, because as an artist, you are always aware of the mistakes in your own work,” says Helene Schulz.

(Private photo: Bazr)
(Private photo: Bazr)

She has found that the guidance and feedback from Bazr, coupled with the fact that people enjoy her art, have reignited her joy of painting.

“It has definitely inspired me to paint more. Before, when I finished a piece, it would just end up in my loft, and sometimes, I’d only paint if I had someone to give it to. Joining Bazr has decluttered my space, and being acknowledged for what I can do has given me a huge confidence boost.”

Everything is digital

As the business grows, the hope is to keep focusing on local artists through pop-up galleries, establishing creative spaces, and targeted marketing. But the main focus at the moment is on developing a solid digital platform that showcases the art with an ease we are used to in other markets.

“Everything in the physical world has moved to the digital world, including supermarkets and retailers, but not art and crafts. And that was a very interesting gap. We want to be the Amazon for art, and democratise art in general, making it accessible to everyone. That’s the goal,” says Sinem Gürbüz.

And the business model for Bazr focuses clearly on giving artists and consumers digital freedom.

“We are developing interactive galleries that give you the opportunity to get the full art experience in a digital version. We’ve played with VR quite a lot as well but pushed it a little bit into the future to see how our in-between development turns out. So, for now, the virtual gallery will be on the website and will very soon be accessible by phone,” says Sarah Langkjær Diemar and continues:

“It’s no secret that we have big dreams, but along the way, it’s about taking baby steps without disrespecting the art on the journey.”

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