Art-Mine.com was created by Agora Gallery, which was established by the late Miki Stiles, MFA in 1984, as a marketing tool that allows art buyers to easily select and purchase original works of art online. Agora Gallery is located in the center of the Chelsea art community in New York City. The gallery provides a venue for emerging, mid-level artists by providing the promotional tools to gain a strong presence in the global art community.
Angela Di Bello is the director of Agora art gallery who shares her valuable time and tactics to a successful business
Tell us a bit about yourself? What led to artmine.com?
Art-Mine.com was developed in conjunction with Agora Gallery. Changes were made in order to better serve the art community through the online marketing of artwork on Art-Mine.com. And since then there has been no looking back.
My name is Angela Di Bello, and I began my tenure as the Director of Agora Gallery at the end of 2000. My background is in fine art business administration with nearly thirty years of accumulative experience as a small business owner in corporate fine art consulting in the tri-state area, and as gallery director at the Gallery at Lincoln Center.
How important have good employees been to your success?
The success of any business entity is contingent upon the talent of its employees. The ideas generated by staffs are critical to the success of any business.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
1) Work experience in the area of interest.
2) Seek advice from a successful mentor.
3) Identify and develop ideas for growth in the marketplace.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would have sought the advice of a mentor and professional networks.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
1) A passion for your particular area of interest.
2) Develop a robust work regiment.
3) Acquire knowledge that identifies trends and developments in the field of interest.
Do you believe in sticking to a particular idea?
The idea can be sustained indefinitely but the adjusted modifications that may lead to a successful outcome can vary accordingly.
How many hours do you work a day on an average?
Hours vary according to needs.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Being an entrepreneur has enriched family life as a result of greater flexibility and a sustained enthusiasm for personal rewards.
What motivates you?
Enriching the lives of others and gaining personal satisfaction from these efforts.
How do you generate new ideas?
Through the anticipation and evaluation of market trends, through experience, knowledge, and analysis of current business conditions.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
My greatest fear is loss of inspiration. This fear is managed through the development new ideas and discussing these ideas with colleagues.
What are your ideals?
Integrity, Excellence, and Commitment.
How do you define success?
I define success by the acclamation of clients as a result of the provision of services.
What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Stay the course through flexibility.
Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
The owner of Agora Gallery and Art-Mine.com personally financed the business.
How do you build a successful customer base?
By envisioning and understanding of client and artist needs.
How did you decide on the location for your business?
Pre-established gallery trends pertaining to locations.
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
No, only shifting variables.
If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Lou Castelli, because he was a visionary in the upcoming market trends in the art world.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Andy Warhol, because he established himself as a marketing genius in the art world.
What book has inspired you the most?
Robert Hughes “Nothing if Not Critical”
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
To generate ideas and face challenges.
To what do you most attribute your success? What would say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business?
2) a solid business model
4) a staff of knowledgeable and committed professionals
5) a five year plan
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The creation of developing a second tier gallery in order to fulfill currents trends in the market place.
What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Greater responsibility for the growth and welfare of employees who share the growth and development of the business enterprise.
How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
The most successful form of marketing is visibility in the market, client satisfaction, maintaining a strong reputation in the market place, ethical conduct, social networks.
What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
Open culture of communal esthetics.
In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
The misjudgment in choosing staffs.
How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Through the identification of mistakes and correcting mistakes as soon as they are identified.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Reading books and articles related to art, reading non-fiction, museum visits, foreign films, the study of cosmology, cross word puzzles, brunch with friends, Yoga and jogging.
What makes you happy?
Many things, but most importantly creativity on any level and manifesting ideas into reality.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Loss of beach time.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Where you want to see yourself and your business in the next 10 years or 20 years?
To see Art-Mine.com and Agora Gallery as a business model that is replicated through similar ventures.
If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
How does creativity foster and entrepreneurial mindset?