Easyart, the fast growing online art company, has appointed James Bidwell, the seasoned retail and leisure
entrepreneur, as Chief Executive.
The company, which has already been described as the “iTunes of art”, also said that it had secured a six figure funding package from Verdane Capital, one of the largest private equity companies in Scandinavia and an existing investor in the business, as it seeks further rapid growth in the UK and Europe.
Mr Bidwell takes over as Chief Executive after joining the company as chairman earlier this year. Marc Lickfett will move from Chief Executive to Chief Operating Officer. Gyr King will remain Chief Creative Officer.
The new funding package will be used to support Easyart’s rapid growth as it aims to accelerate turnover from £6.5m this year to close to £10m in 2014.
Mr Bidwell has over 20 years experience across the retail, tourism, leisure and marketing industries. He is the former managing director at Anthropologie, Europe and prior to that was the chief executive of Visit London. He is also the former marketing director at Selfridges.
Mr Bidwell said: "Easyart has created an innovative business model with a huge opportunity for growth. I am excited to be working with such a talented team to realise that growth. The combination of our unique art content, a world-class technical platform and distribution centre, and our customer driven approach is very compelling".
Staffan Mörndal, Partner at Verdane
Capital, said: “The market for high quality digitally produced art has only
just begun to be exploited and Easyart is ideally placed to take advantage of
the anticipated explosive growth in the sector”.
The Easyart team will continue to focus on the rapid growth of the online business as well as developing further unique artist and gallery relationships and distribution channels.
Easyart also announced that it acquired the technical platform and customers of Picture Cabinet Ltd for an undisclosed amount. Picture Cabinet supplies shop kiosks and websites for museums and the heritage sector, its customers include the National Gallery, V&A, National Trust and others.
Easyart produces hand crafted prints, canvases and frames from its 50,000 sq ft state-of-the-art production facility in Newhaven on the South Coast of England. The company, which currently employs 70 staff, is looking to double its workforce over the next few years.
It holds licences from over 1,500 artists and has secured publishing deals with renowned brands and institutions such as Penguin Books, The Lowry and the Andy Warhol Foundation. With over 50,000 prints on sale, the range at Easyart includes works from Lichtenstein, Jack Vettriano and Picasso.
This year the company expects to pay a six-figure sum in royalties to artists, galleries and museums.
London-based Easyart is also the e-commerce partner to Art Everywhere – a charitable project putting on the world’s largest exhibition. For two weeks every August British Masterpieces transform up to 20,000 outdoor billboards and poster sites across the UK.
The company started life in the early 1980s as King Publishing.
The publishing business focused on encouraging new artists and photographers in tandem with established artists such as Bridget Riley, Howard Hodgkin, Terry Frost, Harvey Daniels, Gene Nocon and many more.
By the late eighties the business had developed into other areas including framing and product development for museum shops throughout Europe and the US, including the Tate, the National Gallery, the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum and MOMA.
In the past ten years the business has been a pioneer in the development of digital image management and print-on-demand (POD) technology - consolidating an ability to maximise the commercial potential of large image collections such as Bridgeman, museum archives and major artists estates such as Andy Warhol and Picasso.
In 2011 the business merged with easyart.com, the UK´s largest website for posters and art prints. This was key to maximising the potential of the companies publishing and POD technologies through the addition of the group’s own online retail channel.
For more information please contact:
Andrew Murray-Watson, Mission Media
Tel: 0207 8457800
Mob: 07515 695232