Interview with The Co-Founders of The Clarion List
We sat down with Gaia Banovich and Jessica Paindiris, Co-Founders of The Clarion List, the leading directory of art service providers with ratings and reviews. Launched in New York City in 2015, the company serves both new and experienced collectors seeking to hire the art service professionals who best fit their needs. Read on to learn more about The Clarion List!
What is the Clarion List?
The Clarion List is the leading directory of art service providers with ratings and reviews. We serve both new and experienced collectors seeking to hire the art service professionals who best fit their particular needs. After launching this spring in New York City, we have recently expanded to the L.A. and Miami markets.
Why do you want to change the word-of-mouth system of sourcing vendors that has dominated the art world?
We believe that the 21st-century collector – both established and new – increasingly demands transparency and accountability. Our mission is very simple: give art collectors who are looking for art services access to a list of service professionals in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami – and very soon in other locations as well – and to supplement it with feedback from these vendors’ clients and colleagues. In other words, we want to reveal what was once hidden behind closed doors and change the established, inefficient word-of-mouth system of sourcing vendors. We are leveling the playing field, giving all of our users around the world the same “insider” access once reserved for the well-connected few. We have worked diligently to create, and will continue to grow, a comprehensive online database that is up-to-date, searchable, and accessible to everyone with an interest in the art market.
At the same time, we are also functioning as a marketing associate for art service professionals by enabling them to increase their exposure to a growing, global community of art collectors.
Why are recommendations so important in the art world?
You would not entrust the care of someone or something precious to you to a provider without seeking recommendations. Whether art is a passion or an investment (or both), here too you should enlist only the best experts for its care in order to maintain the quality and value for the future. The sharing economy is well established in most other industries (consumer product reviews, Angie’s List, Yelp, etc.); it is time for the art collector community to start sharing its knowledge and make the market more efficient.
How do you ensure transparency and accountability with all of your partners?
We diligently researched the service providers in each of the 18 categories we list in the three initial markets – NYC, L.A., and Miami – and included their publicly available information in our directory such as contact information, specialties, years in the business, number of employees, etc. Inclusion in our directory is not fee-based; The Clarion List business model is built on our comprehensive research instead, thereby providing transparency and impartiality. As for accountability, because we have listed everyone we can, consumers and art market colleagues finally have a platform to review these providers and share their honest feedback, whatever it may be.
Who can use The Clarion List? What locations do you cover?
We are currently listing over 1,800 art service providers in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. Research for other cities is already in progress. Anyone with interest or business in the art market can access The Clarion List and take advantage of this previously unavailable resource.
For anyone considering engaging an art advisor, appraiser, attorney, auction house, conservator, collection manager, dealer, framer, fund manager, insurer, lender, logistics & storage provider, or private dealer, The Clarion List should be their first stop. We even list art galleries as they serve clients’ buying and selling needs.
Users should really consider The Clarion List their research associate; we have thoroughly researched publicly available sources to create a database that includes all the service providers in a category. We have made it easy for users – both private or institutional – to sort by specialty or do a keyword search to narrow options. You may find well-known, bold-faced names, as well as new independent providers.
What are the next steps for The Clarion List?
We are a young company, but have big plans to expand our geographic footprint, provide more exclusive content about collecting and servicing collections on our blog, and to form strategic partnerships to increase our awareness in the marketplace.
What are your top suggestions for beginners just starting to collect?
Consult with professionals. Many aspiring collectors are daunted by the art market and think professionals are reserved for experienced collectors. They are not aware that many art consultants, dealers, and galleries are very open to working with new collectors or with lower budgets. We highly encourage new collectors to find a consultant to help them start navigating the right art market channels based on their budget and collecting interest. To help this goal, we enable service providers who claimed their listing to indicate if they are open to working with new collectors.
If that is not in the cards, then collecting for the first time from the comfort of a home is easy. We list numerous e-commerce platforms, including listing platforms pooling the wares of multiple galleries, direct dealers functioning like a secondary retailer (such as Lofty) or representing artists or online auction houses. Art is available at a variety of price ranges across these sites.
What are the benefits of the art market having an increased online presence?
The art market is growing in number globally, getting younger and savvier and relying on online resources. Word of mouth is not enough. An up to date website, SEO, digital ads, and social media are more important than ever for connecting art service providers with collectors. Because many of these providers are small firms with limited resources, time or knowledge about these marketing channels, The Clarion List helps increase the online presence of each firm listed, as we market ourselves for the benefit of all.
What do you like about Lofty?
We like the ease of use for sellers – simply filling out a form and submitting a picture could lead to a virtual consignment. And we like the breadth of inventory at various price points for buyers to shop for fine art and collectibles from the comfort of home.
What are your favorite items listed on Lofty?
Jessica has been a fan of Ed Ruscha for years. This lithograph is beautiful and interesting and lets you own an amazing piece of his output for a fraction of the price his paintings command.
Gaia loves fine rugs, espcially this vibrant red Persian Kavin Rug from 20th century Iran.
To learn more about The Clarion List, visit ClarionList.com!