Visual artists are now on the bubble

Published at May 16, 2016, in Question and Answer

Redbubble Limited (ASX:RBL) CEO Martin Hosking tells The Capital Network’s Lelde Smits how online marketplaces are helping artists connect with growing consumer demand for uniqueness.

Watch the video or read the transcription below...

Lelde Smits: Hello I’m Lelde Smits for The Capital Network and joining me here at Redbubble HQ (headquarters) in Melbourne is its CEO Martin Hosking. Martin welcome.

Martin Hosking: Thank you very much.

Lelde Smits: Martin you are the CEO of multimillion-dollar online art marketplace Redbubble. Could you explain to us where is demand coming from in this industry?

Martin Hosking: I think what we are seeing right now is the emergence of demand for unique individualised products. Historically an artist had to create and manufacture it for a single customer. What we are seeing now is with the print on demand technology artists can reach a global audience and by marrying it to that technology you are suddenly able to expand the nature of the offering.

So, consumers are wanting things that are individualised, which are personalised, which reflect their interests and concerns.

Lelde Smits: Like we’ve got around here, today, everywhere...

Martin Hosking: Exactly. And so suddenly technology is enabling that to occur. And, particularly that technology which I’m talking about is a print on demand technology. So a single product gets created for a consumer when they order it but it’s done in an incredible efficient way.

Lelde Smits: How many artists does Redbubble have on its platform and what kind of money are they making from being a part of Redbubble?

Martin Hosking: Right now we have just on 400,000 artists from all over the world on Redubble. Since we launched in 2006 artists have made over $44 million on the platform.

Just to give some context, the Australian Council for the Visual Arts will give out around about $20 million a year to the visual arts. So, artists right now are earning more right from the Redbubble platform then they are from government sources.

Lelde Smits: So Martin, what are the most popular products that are capturing the attention of users from the artists?

Martin Hosking: So what we’ve found over the years is that consumers want to have the art in their lives. So, that means they’re interested in t-shirts, they’re interested in iPhone cases, they’re interested in cushions and duvet covers. So, the things which you can decorate and make your life a little bit interesting because you’ve found something which resonates with you in the Redbubble marketplace.

It’s very hard, people ask me what are the most popular designs on Redbubble. The simple reality is that it’s incredible diverse. 65% of sales of all sales on Redbubble are from works that have been sold 50 times or less. So there is just a diversity of human interest, it’s not about a lot of people buying a single design, but a lot of designs for a lot of people.

Lelde Smits: Well that’s certainly means there is opportunity out there for everyone as well to get involved.

Martin Hosking: It is opportunity for consumers, right now Redbubble has about 10 million images on the site – so you will find something which interests you. From an artist’s point of view though – you will as an artist, provided you have something interesting to say, some interesting work – you will find a consumer who is interested in whatever it happens to be. Fighting pandas, Ninja unicorns, all of those things. You can create content and you will find the consumers which are interested in it.

Lelde Smits: Awesome, well I will be sure to check it out but thank you for speaking with us today.

Martin Hosking: Thank you very much.

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