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ArtMasters is dragging artistic creativity out of its lonely garret. As is usual with the new kind of art events, paintbrushes are being swung and sculptures moulded in bars and restaurants. Oliver Breiter, who founded the creative start-up with his business partner Alex Elö in 2016, explains how the company was set up and how its creative portfolio is growing in cooperation with companies and artists acting as course instructors.
Creativity is something that is required every time a start-up is founded. But what inspired you to found a creative start-up?
Oliver Breiter: My business partner Alex Elö and I came across the concept of painting parties in the USA by chance. We immediately agreed that we'd bring this concept over to Germany. We originally come from a management consultancy background, but we couldn't shake off the idea, so we dared to start our "creative start-up" adventure in 2016.
Digital start-ups are currently booming. Why does your start-up have so little to do with bits and bytes?
O. B.: The background to our motivation to found a start-up with a creative bent was the increasing digitalisation of society. In our view, the social interactions associated with this in the online world and above all, of course, in the social networks are given too much weight. Painting parties developed as a counter-trend, events at which the participants can express themselves in informal surroundings, like bars or restaurants, while getting to know new people and staying completely offline. Painting and creative design make you fully focus on what you are doing with your hands. And creative work has become rare on account of the bombardment we get from all the media all the time and everywhere.
Many people shy away from being creative. How do you deal with that?
O. B.: We enable all people – whether talented, trained or not – to work creatively. To have designed and created something yourself simply makes you happy! But many people see themselves as too "uncreative" or "untalented" or have no reason or chance to pick up a paint brush. That's why it is important to us to open precisely these doors, to overcome such hurdles and to help these people to attain the happiness of making a great work of art within a single evening. To do this, we offer the participants of an ArtMasters event the materials they need and a ready-made workplace as well as the support of an artist, who guides them through the design process step-by-step, giving them help and answering their questions. Fun is in the foreground!
Since July, you have been offering the new creative event "Making things with FIMO modelling clay". How did this partnership with STAEDTLER come about?
O.B.: We were looking for a strong, experienced cooperation partner with whom we could carry out innovative creative events. As I come from Nuremberg and we have already experimented with using FIMO modelling clay in the office several times, getting in touch with the traditional Nuremberg company STAEDTLER was a no brainer. After some initial discussions, we came to the conclusion that a form of partnership between one of Germany's most traditional industrial companies and a new start-up might be very fruitful. In a very short time, the first modelling clay events were online and well booked.
How popular are the FIMO modelling clay events with customers and what has the initial feedback been like?
O.B.: The participants are delighted by them! A lot of people are familiar with FIMO from their childhood, but in fact FIMO is much more than mere modelling clay for children: they can make versatile, beautiful pieces from it and most participants ask straight after the event where they can buy FIMO to carry on being creative at home.
So far you have mainly offered painting events. Where did you get the idea to add "FIMO modelling clay" events to your portfolio from?
O. B.: We are constantly expanding our creative portfolio. Besides painting, we now also have hand lettering, photo transfer, fashion drawing and many other techniques in our repertoire and plan to expand our range even further in the future. You won't believe how many ideas flit around in our office, ideas that we have already tried out. It takes hours and hours of brainstorming and reflection on how something can be done in a two-hour event with mostly inexperienced young artists before a creative technique ends up in the ArtMasters portfolio. FIMO modelling clay also went through this process, and STAEDTLER supported us in many meetings and creative workshops. In the end, it was clear that FIMO is an excellent choice for ArtMasters events and enhances our portfolio a lot.
Are any further partnerships currently being planned to include new creative events in your portfolio?
O. B.: Fortunately, we have now reached a size where numerous companies are approaching us with proposals for cooperation. Naturally, we are delighted about that. Finding out whether one fits together is a process in which many considerations from a design and business management point of view have to be taken into account. There will soon be more specific news from ArtMasters.
How do you advertise your events and which marketing measures do you use?
O. B.: The most important instrument and, at the same time, the most effective one is, of course, word of mouth: enthusiastic participants talk about ArtMasters events and tell the people in their lives about them, and they in turn look them up online. This natural form of advertising is supported by social media marketing, which includes intensive support and communication with our followers. Here, too, we do our utmost to satisfy our customers, as their recommendations are the be-all and end-all for us. Online platforms such as Facebook and Instagram also offer us great opportunities to explain our concept and launch new creative techniques. We have also announced the FIMO modelling clay events with videos and pictures, so that potential FIMO artists can imagine what they can look forward to.
Why would you recommend that retailers should also try to set up a partnership or offer creative events at the point of sale?
O. B.: As we have seen with our partnership with STAEDTLER, working together is a win-win situation. Each party contributes its own know-how and experience, which the other one may not have or has not yet considered. In addition, we can collect direct and unfiltered customer feedback on specific products at our events. For retailers, creative events at the point of sale can provide them with the opportunity to develop new customer groups. In many places, in classic retailing today, customers have to be lured into the shops with special experiences because of strong online competition. The mixture of information and entertainment is important to us – these two factors are given equal importance in our events. Customers who have had great experience with a certain creative product at an event often have a very high level of willingness to buy products – which they can do straightaway at the point of sale at these events
Oliver Breiter ,thank you for the interview.