Pictured from left: Elliot Alexander and intern Willem Ockhusen. Artwork: Evie Kemp
If you have read Studio Home from the start, you may have recognised that little endemicworld.com ad on the right hand column as having been there right from day dot. Back in 2008, in what feels now like the early days of the NZ online design scene, Elliot Alexander and his sister Kate built their own small corner of the internet and set out to bring the products of the kiwi “one man band” designers and artists to the masses. Limited edition T’s, affordable prints and quirky homewares populated the pages of their site bringing this rarely seen local mix together in one online home.
Fast forward 4 years and they found themselves swimming among a swathe of similar boutique style stores that had now discovered the advantage of an online outlet. Bricks and mortar shops and designers themselves had now jumped on the bandwagon of online retail and it was rapidly becoming impossible to maintain competitive pricing and differentiate endemicworld in what was previously an empty niche. So, like all ambitious and young business owners, for Elliot it was time to “evolve or evaporate”. Hence a new exciting direction was born.
In 2012 Elliot and the endemicworld.com team refocused. With a passion for graphic design and “2D” they re-launched as NZ’s first purely art based online store. Their relationships with their existing artists were strong and the idea had been in the planning for some time in reaction to the slightly bullish tactics that “old school” galleries tended to take with their artists. They aimed to bring affordable art to the masses, build a bridge from the artists to a customer base which was previously lacking and aim to start supplying international work that was otherwise unavailable in NZ. They saw people purchasing art for their homes/flats/offices in a way that could be compared to buying a new piece of clothing each season. In Elliot’s words this affordable art was like ” a new t-shirt for the lounge”.
The recipe rapidly took hold. But why stop there?
A space became available over the 2012/13 summer months in a lofty spot on Ponsonby Road. With the store doing well online, the team were right to think that there was an audience out there so they went ahead and launched their first bricks and mortar store after 5 years of business. The temporary space was so well received, they decided to take on the premises downstairs and establish a permanent HQ. The images you see here are shots of the successful aftermath.
This also made way for another new exciting purchase. With 60 artists selling through their store, they were well aware of the problems artists had in supplying them a quality product. Many artists found themselves tripped up with printers closing down or damage in transit – Elliot decided to invest in a glossy fine art printer and take those problems away. Now 20% of their artists print directly through endemicworld for not only their orders but also filling wholesale and exhibition needs.
WHAT I LEARNT FROM ENDEMICWORLD:
Easy: Be smart. Adapt. Always be looking a head of your competitors for that gap in the market.
And do it really well.