Launching a Custom Canvas Artwork Service – Robo Rembrandt. via /r/Entrepreneur

Launching a Custom Canvas Artwork Service - Robo Rembrandt.

tl;dr Recently soft launched a custom artwork commission business - Robo Rembrandt. Sharing progress and strategy outlines for posterity.

Long time lurker, we love reading the success stories here in /r/Entrepreneur. Like many posters of late, we’re not the $15k a month drop shipping magnate, but we wanted to share something about the process of our budding business venture. The best case being sharing a success story from soup to nuts, at the worst, we can serve as a warning for others what not to do.

What’s the Idea (Elevator Pitch):

The Robo Rembrandt concept is to apply master-quality digital techniques to customer photos/images/ideas to create unique works of canvas artwork. Our custom commissions are created digitally, run through approvals, and printed on canvas. A cheaper and quicker process compared to standard commissioning rates at a comparable (or better) level of quality.

The branding is a tongue and cheek play on our digital skills and the famous Dutch baroque portrait painter. Based on this concept we designed friendly little robot character as our logo/mascot (check him out on the site).

Why we’re starting the business:

It’s the prototypical “get out of the corporate grind and do what I love for a living” deal. Grow a business that we can enjoy running long-term and someday hand off to our girls. Our artist buddies have accused us of becoming the Weird Al/Guy Fieri of the art world. We can live with that if it works!

Greg has started a few businesses before but he has always had to fall back to 9 to 5 gigs as he’s the main breadwinner of the household. Rachel has grown tired of Greg’s partners in previous ventures and has stepped up to give this a go. Our goal is to get Rachel out of her 9 to 5 and run operations and fulfillment full-time from home (and eventually get the kids out of daycare).

Where we’re at so far:

Soft launch - Got the brand going and the initial MVP site up and running. The domain and hosting are set up through Shopify with some monthly app/widget charges for upload functionality. Got a branded Etsy store set up for fallback or one-off tests.

Social setup - Got Facebook and Instagram going, looking to do ad spend there as the hopes are Robo Rembrandt will be a heavy social share style lead gen service.

Samples - Had some samples done for friends to test the print and fulfillment process. Confirmed quality process. Able to determine a baseline design and delivery window.

Fulfillment - Using 3rd party canvas printing companies initially. The hopes are we can expand to a point where we print and ship our own canvas. Evolve the effects and physical styling from there… maybe even add in custom ornate framing!

Biggest Pain Points out of the Gate:

Leading the horse to water - Most of the social shares have been very positive, but, they haven’t converted like we’ve wanted them to. Bridging the gap of “oh that’s cool” to “I want one of myself” is still a sticking point.

Finding the hot offering - Maybe some landing pages with deeper examples to drive conversion… try and simplify the process.

No sales - Not a one so far… but summer isn’t the biggest gifting season so this was to be expected. Outlining a more specific marketing outreach strategy before we start buying traffic. Still pushing friend and family leads, should bear some fruit eventually.


A lot of similar offerings out there so we’re still looking for our “bread and butter” niche. - Really can get anything done here, a lot of competition. We have our own store staged for launch to sell one-offs. - A ‘mall kiosk’ style online art commission shop. Uses low-cost Chinese artists with varied quality results. - Owns the ‘dog portrait & tee’ market. Using this as a sample of what can be achieved by connecting with the right demo

Know of something we missed? Let us know in the comments.

Shameless Plug to Check Us Out:

Not the point of the post, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t prompt you all to check out the site and let us know what you think (don’t be shy.. buy something too while you’re there too):

Sign Up to our mailing list for deals and updates. Don’t want to grab anything? Do us a favor and give us a follow:

In honor of our soft launch get 20% off of your order at checkout with the code SOFTLAUNCH.

Our Next Steps:

So, after all that, we’re just getting started. Still plugging away at our friends and family for orders. While that’s the short term we’re focusing on the following:

Marketing Strategy - Leveraging our relationship with a marketing client of ours to develop a lead gen and conversion strategy.

Partnerships - Build relationships with potential partnership industries (interior design, event, real estate staging, etc.).

Paid Social Marketing - We’re poised to start paid social on FB/Insta… even if it’s just brand building. Seeded some initial posts so the profiles don’t look like ghost towns.

Questions, comments, or advice welcome! We’ll have another progress post around new years 2019.

Submitted July 23, 2018 at 05:21AM by loudoundesignco
via reddit

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