StyleNest’s chat to Juniqe co-founder, Lea Lange to find out about the affordable art e-tailer.
How was the concept of JUNIQE born?
I have always loved art and design, decorating and styling. JUNIQE was created because, although I knew a lot about these topics, there was nowhere I knew of to buy individual and affordable artwork. With furniture and other home accessories it’s possible to buy products that vary in price but this just wasn’t the case with art. We decided to change this, and JUNIQE therefore sells individual and affordable artwork so that everyone can buy art; whatever their personal style or budget. Not only can you buy creative art work from artists from all over the world at affordable prices but also other lifestyle products – such as wall art, cushions, shower curtains and towels – and fashion as well. It was important for us create a platform for young, unknown artists. My fellow Co-Founders (Marc Pohl and Sebastian Hasebrink) all had relevant experience through working at Fab.com, so my passion for art products came together with a concrete business concept well.
What’s it like being your own boss?
Surprisingly, I have never been asked this question before in an interview. I think the best way to describe it is ‘never boring’. It is exciting, but at the same time my role involves a high level of responsibility – for the business and my employees. I particularly enjoy the freedom to make smart decisions for the good of the business, without thinking about politics at all.
Are there any exciting plans up your sleeve for JUNIQE for 2017 you can share with our readers?
From the very start our vision for JUNIQE was to move further away from looking like a normal online store to really changing the way customers shop for art. To do this we strive to offer the right tools to help our customers find their own personal art style and make their own decisions. This year we will finally launch the first of our groundbreaking innovations to move into this direction. Watch this space. It’s very exciting!
Forbes chose you for their “30 under 30” list. Please can you tell our readers a little more about how this came about?
The judging panel consisted of prominent entrepreneurs, investors, politicians and Hollywood actors. For the European premiere there were 10 categories and in each category, 30 winners were chosen. Forbes drew 300 leading talents from Europe who are transforming the business world with their ideas.
Being given the accolade of one of the most promising founders in Europe is an incredible honour for me and our entire team. It is an unbelievable feeling that our success is being perceived internationally.
What is the ethos of JUNIQE and what sets it apart from other art e-tailers?
The ethos of JUNIQE can be summed up well by our mantra: Art.Everywhere.
Every week we handpick a selection of emerging artists from around the world so that we can bring our customers a carefully curated selection of artwork that suits their personal style – so to say! Our community is constantly growing and at the moment it consists of more than 600 artists, 35 of which are based in the UK, including Ruben Ireland, Richard Hood and Cassia Beck. We tell artists’ stories and curate collections on a regular basis so that we can empower our customers to add art to their lives and to inspire them to express their individuality.
As well as giving our customers’ room to discover their own art style, we also show them how to make the most of their artwork and share our tips and tricks on how to style them. Our magazine is overflowing with inspiration and ideas for interiors, art and fashion.
What is the process of curating the carefully picked products for the site?
The first question we ask ourselves is whether our customers will like the artwork. Then comes considerations on whether the artwork is created at a high quality, if it’s new, or if it fits into a new trend. Another important aspect that we consider is if the art work complements our portfolio and fits our brand aesthetics.
Our goal is to empower both emerging and established artists to profit from the sales of their work so they can continue to do what they do best: create art. Our platform enables these wonderful artists to share their talent with a larger audience.
In a few sentences, can you tell our readers what an average day is like?
This is a hard question because every day is very different; there really is no typical day. I usually get in the office quite early because I enjoy having some quiet time to tick some things off my to-do list before the office starts to get noisy. Most of the time my day is then full of back-to-back internal or external meetings. I usually have lunch at my desk because it’s quicker, although I know I should really make the time to get away from my desk!
When most staff have left the office I will work on the things I need silence to concentrate on. We all sit together in an open plan office which I think is really important for communication, but it does mean that you can be interrupted quite often.
When you are not busy working what do you like to do to unwind?
It’s taken me a while to figure out how to unwind. Over the last few years I have figured that a jog or a glass of wine with good friends is what really helps me relax.
Do you have any tips for artists who want to take their career to the next step?
Sell through JUNIQE – of course! In all seriousness I would advise finding a strong and reliable partner such as JUNIQE so that they can showcase to a wider audience while focusing on the things they love doing like creating and designing artwork.
What tips would you give our readers who want to start their own business?
Find skilled and very different business partners to go on the journey with you. I have two co-founders and a lot of our successes I put down to how well we work together and that our strengths are so varied. More importantly, we all have the same vision for the business. It’s a great match!
JUNIQE is born and based in Berlin, what are your favourite hot spots around the city to eat/shop/see?
For a casual dinner go to Bar Gallina or Goldener Hahn in Kreuzberg. Visit Boros Bunker for a great and exciting exhibition. To shop just go everywhere around Hackescher Market. There is a lot to explore.
Do you have a favourite artist?
When we first started out I did, but as our artists’ base has grown so much I have discovered many exciting emerging artists, so it would be very hard for me to choose. It usually depends on my mood and the season as my art preferences change depending on these.