Platform 72: artists back themselves

Platform 72 Gallery, 72 Oxford StreetPlatform 72 Gallery at 72 Oxford Street is the brainchild of artists Sam Mitchell-Fin and Juliet Rosser and is part gallery-part retail space that allows artists a commercial testing ground for their work and a way to connect with local buyers without having to leave their studios.

The business model used by the gallery rents ‘shelf space’ to artists, with no commission on sales.  Juliet Rosser says the benefits of this model means artists know the expenses straight away and they know how much they’ll make if a piece sells.

“This is about artists backing themselves,” she says. “We’ll support them and push their work, but they rent the space and once they’re in they can move things around: bring new pieces in and take things out that aren’t working in terms of sales.” 

In the three months since they opened, Platform 72 have worked with more than 70 artists.

Juliet Rosser, co-founder, Platform 72 Gallery“It’s a busy space and it has been working,” says Juliet Rosser. “Some of our artists are now making four figures in sales every month.”

Every Tuesday the window displays and feature walls are changed.

“It’s our calling card,” says Juliet Rosser. “People walk up the street to see what’s new, what’s changed, and that’s really working quite well for the local community.”

The gallery has already connected with a large number of repeat customers, with many of them dropping in to regularly see what’s new.

Juliet Rosser says, “People who live up the road are saying that they haven’t stopped at a shop in Oxford Street for 20 years and now they’re stopping here. They seem really excited that there’s interesting retail back on the street.”

Rather than segregating areas for each artist’s work, art works are displayed to interact. “Pieces speak to each other that way,” says Juliet Rosser.

Platform 72 are learning as they go and are currently in the process of refining their ‘shelf space’ pricing structure for smaller and larger items on display.

Juliet Rosser is very pleased with how the gallery business model has worked so. “Renting ‘shelf space’ to artists allowed us to pay for the fit-out and to pay gallery staff from the word go,” she says.

The next step for Platform 72 is to set up their business online and develop a gallery internship program. And they’re also thinking of hiring a store manager.  They are just about to launch their Showcase Gallery an extension of the gallery which will hold solo shows for established artists for 3 weeks.  This will enable Platform72 to host the all important “openings” which bring the community closer together and also encourage sales for all artists and designers in-store.

“Keeping our momentum going is a challenge, but we’ve got a lot of support - a lot of people wanting to be involved,” says Juliet Rosser

Image Captions: Platform 72 Gallery, 72 Oxford Street, and co-founder Juliet Rosser.

Platform 72 Website