Alice Freyman represented Apter Fredericks at the annual Art Business Conference held in the stunning, and very circular, setting of Church House in the heart of Westminster. Here she writes about her impressions of the day.
The well-attended conference included presentations from influential members of the art community here in London. As antiques dealers are in their own funny little world which bridges the gap between ‘art’ and ‘interiors’, not all topics were relevant to us. But the ones which were had been concentrated together in the afternoon. Most convenient, thank you very much. Hence a review of the afternoon sessions follows.
First, we learnt about How to Protect our Art Business against Money Laundering. Essential really because as dealers we could inadvertently be caught up with someone undertaking a criminal act. Not something which is in our mid to long term business plan or goals. Fortunately, here at Apter Fredericks we already have strict procedures in place to minimise our risk, but it made for some interesting listening, at least.
Next came the most exciting bit – the dynamic Josh Spero chairing a youthful but eloquent and confident panel on Instagram and the art market. People take note: it is a beautiful tool to spread awareness about our passion and interests if used correctly. At AF we opened our Instagram account only 11 weeks ago, and will now be making a concerted effort to Insta more often and more interestingly, and with some hash tags (now I finally understand how they work and why to bother with them).
Third was a talk on internet retailing, in which Paul Skeldon heavily relied on statistics, many of which came from the Hiscox Online Art Report. As part of our market research when deciding whether to undertake the build of our new site, we had already had a very helpful meeting with the founders of ArtTactic, whom Hiscox had commissioned to write the report so I slightly felt “been there, done that” during this session. I also got the impression that while Paul knew his stuff on the mobile retail front, the art world was not his forte. In conclusion, whilst it was a half hour where we felt very pleased that we had already invested the time, energy and effort into a producing a mobile responsive ecommerce site, I realised we cannot now sit and rest on our laurels.
The final session was a bit vaguer ‘Professional Risk and Reputation’ and I felt the biggest, albeit perhaps obvious conclusion to be had was: stories on the internet last, best not to get yourself into hot water in the first place. There are a number of tools in place for dealers who accidentally or inadvertently end up with a potential media scandal on their hands so it was useful to hear about these JUST IN CASE!
Overall impressions on the conference were that last year it seemed much easier to network. Perhaps that was because we were sitting in round tables whereas we were in rows this year, and last year there was only one break room as opposed to a confusing three this year. Nevertheless, it was an excellent meeting of minds, with interesting talks. It is great to have a time in the calendar when the art world thinkers make a concerted effort to get together to discuss relevant topics. I definitely hope to return next year.