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Photography, art and my reason for setting up in the region
Cara Connell shares insights into the region's photography market and why she decided to open up her business in the UAE
June 11, 2014 3:47 by kippreport
By Cara Connell
Lumitrix has been warmly received in the UK where customers are generally comfortable with online shopping. They trust that their product will arrive on their doorstep ready to hang on their wall having bought it at the click of a button from the comfort of their sofa. Launching in the UAE involved a more complex assessment, and whilst so many reasons made sense, we initially worried about the postal system and the smaller appetite for online shopping. As we researched, tried and tested, we realised these issues were rapidly evolving and dissolving and in fact our timing was (hopefully) very timely:
Firstly, the photography offering here is less evolved than in the UK. There are fine art galleries, (such as The Empty Quarter in DIFC), who host contemporary photography exhibitions by the likes of internationally acclaimed Steve McCurry; there is also the region’s cornerstone in contemporary art, Art Dubai that caters for fine art collectors. However, the democratisation of photography that’s happened in the UK hasn’t quite happened here yet. Thus, Lumitrix spotted a space in the art market for more affordable photographic prints, that can be enjoyed by more than just fine art photography aficionados and collectors. By offering larger editions from emerging photographers, we can offer products that are impressive and covetable but also at an affordable price point.
As the economy continues to grow, so does the number of employees being sent to the UAE for work. Whilst we believe people may be starting to set up their lives in the UAE for increasingly longer periods, there are still those who arrive with just a suitcase. They want a home but don’t necessarily look at their home decoration with a life-long or even long-term view. We are therefore excited to be able to offer a product that is well curated and reasonably priced so that it will eschew any thoughts of just filling the walls for a few years with the more generic, mass produced art work acquired from a home furnishing store.
In addition to this, we have sourced our photographers from all corners of the world ranging from Russia’s Siberian forest, Guatemala’s rain forest, the beaches of Bondi in Australia to the tribes of Ethiopia specifically to aim to appeal to a global customer base. The UAE has such an influx and melting pot of cultures that we see a need for their aesthetic to be catered for which we are ready to do.
What is also exciting is the steady growth in numbers and influence of younger collectors from the Middle East. They like to buy affordable pieces as it helps educate them gently in the global art market. Our Lumitrix Living section, which showcases our prints in interiors around the world, is designed to create such a communal area so that our customers can see both photography from around the world in houses, and also from around the world. All of this helps build a fresh and broad world vision, which we feel people in the UAE are hungry for.
So we have established a need; customers who decorate their walls, and a love of photography that is now more affordable. How fortuitous to also see that shopping online in the UAE is on the precipice of a revolution. For years we have heard how there is no postal system, that any mail needs to be left in a PO Box, that shipping costs from the UK are exorbitant, and that customs are a quagmire. All of this would disincentivise any proficient internet shopper. However, we have identified that logistics companies and their networks are evolving at the speed of light to try and offer both the customer and provider what they need. With the likes of ‘Shop and Ship’, Aramex and Parzel we are now confident that we can provide an efficient and reliable delivery to any customer in the UAE.
We specifically chose to launch within the UAE market with in the region as it seems the most online savvy, whilst also being one of the largest in the GCC region. The strength of social media marketing is also as permeating as more evolved e-commerce territories.
Lumitrix launched in Dubai in June 2014.