Helen Parry was formerly the Managing Director of Sawgrass and left at the back end of 2014, specifically to launch a new business called ‘Art to Life’. I talked to Helen about her new venture and what this business offers customers and why she has launched it.
So Helen why launch your own business?
“I had always hankered over running my own business and finding the right kind of opportunity. Observing the market, it struck me of how many people were not aware about printing on ChromaLuxe aluminium. Most people have heard of ‘dibond’ aluminium but these are completely different both in terms of material and print result. The impact of these prints is excellent and people are prepared to pay a premium to get the personalised finish or a print they want. The potential is considerable.”
How did you get the idea?
“I was out in Dubai at a photo show and we were out there promoting how to launch your own print business. We had this huge print of two falcons swooping down on prey. People loved the print and wanted to buy it! Plenty of people were really keen to know more about the print applications because they were so spectacular. There was clearly a demand for the aluminium wall prints themselves, particularly ones with impressive photography/images.
A key part of the success of the business is to enable the personalisation of the prints and tabletops. Being able to emphasise your brand and making a statement in a unique, visual way are all must ingredients for any successful business in today’s competitive climate. The extremely high definition print finish brought all of these aspects together in a unique product.
However, to capture people’s attention and demonstrate the capability of this technology, I realised the image and photography were also critical to inspiring our audience and connecting with them on some emotional level, particularly for the wall prints, So I set about not only offering a customisation service but also offering a range of images people could choose from. Rather than going out and selecting Getty – I went out and found photographers whose work I liked and agreed exclusive contracts with them to be able to offer limited edition prints and secure a unique proposition.
Obviously I had a network and contacts so we launched the business partnering with ChromaLuxe, offering the aluminium wall prints and also the printed tabletops which were equally effective and presented such a vast array of opportunities. The brand I have created for our prints is called Peruso®.”
What kind of images?
“Landscapes, cities, wonders of the world, wild life. To some extent it was like ‘where do you start’? I picked equestrian because it made sense to me, a wealthy market, people were passionate about their hobby and so on and worked with photographers in this field.
Then I managed to secure a shared seasonal trade stand at Cheltenham Races from Oct - March 16, with a talented horseracing artist, Elizabeth Armstrong. People loved my work, largely as it was new to them and they hadn’t seen it before. I offer limited editions too which appeals to many art buyers.
I am now also talking to Newbury and other racecourses about supplying them with art and tables for their interiors to maintain a presence in the horse racing sector. However, what I am doing now is switching tack to be more business to business focused. Really I am looking to build more traction and supply office re-fitters, interior designers, architects and target new offices, or companies relocating or refurbishing. These companies have a need for reception and meeting tables and striking, inspiring aluminium wall prints and I want to bring a “wow” factor to their spaces.
Tell us a little more about the substrate?
“ChromaLuxe® is the base unprinted aluminium sheet, super thin and lightweight (1.2mm thick) and has unparalleled durability characteristics. Peruso® is our brand for the final printed product, effectively providing an highly visual, superior alternative to the widely known canvas print. It is a more consumer focused approach as opposed to being photographic lab or printer focused.
The base ChromaLuxe® tabletops are MDF which are treated to be completely sealed, providing a wipe clean, heat and chemical resistant surface whilst retaining all of the same high definition print properties of the aluminium.
With wall art, people have become bored with canvas prints as everyone seems to have them and they do not really last well. Our Peruso® prints are archival (excellent fade resistance) and they are scratch, flame, chemical proof so they open up many more applications as well as just wall prints, being able to easily withstand humid/wet conditions e.g. shower rooms. Peruso® prints are really a great alternative and will last a long time. They are supplied mounted ‘ready to hang’ , effectively floating slightly off the wall. Lighting also plays a big part in maximising their wow factor - with the right lighting over the top of them, really do go pop!”
So what is it, apart from the image selection that people like?
“People stand in front of the print and are staggered with the high definition, almost 3D result, truly bringing the image to life, giving it a depth you don’t get with other prints - I am often asked by viewers if they are watching a HD TV screen! It’s perfect for board rooms, reception areas, hotels, restaurants, bars etc and I’m keen to introduce them to interior designers who supply and specify to a wide range of spaces.
The challenging thing to market these products is that seeing is believing. Describing the finish with words alone doesn’t convey the quality and impact of reproduction. When they see the impressive finish, they buy it. So we have made a good start with the business and believe there is the demand for our products. But now we are working on strategies to be able to reach a wider set of people to generate much more momentum in order to reach our ultimate goal of Peruso® being the Go To Brand for bringing digital art to life.”
Email Helen directly on: email@example.com