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Secrets To Success: Kholisa Thomas


Kholisa Thomas, Founder of www.artfull.co and Kholisa Thomas Art Advisory.

70% of South African women aspire to become entrepreneurs according to the Veuve Clicquot International Women Entrepreneurship Barometer.


The international barometer was unveiled by Maison Veuve Clicquot at the recent Veuve Clicquot X Women experience.


We caught up with one of the speakers Kholisa Thomas, Founder of www.artfull.co and Kholisa Thomas Art Advisory.


Q: You recently launched artfull; please tell us more about the platform?


A: It’s been a dream of mine to create a platform to bridge the gap between artists, art lovers and new art buyers. Living in Joburg, I noticed that many of my friends were living with empty walls in their homes, despite Joburg being home to many amazing artists.


At the same time, I recognised that many of these artists were struggling to find a wider audience for their work. I saw a gap in the market to connect artists with potential buyers who wanted to start an art collection but didn’t know where to begin.


And thus, artfull is born. artfull is a digital platform based in Joburg helping you discover and collect original work and limited editions prints by today’s best emerging and established artists.


We believe that collecting art is not just a purchase but also an experience so we also have in-house art advisors to help collectors who are not comfortable buying online find the perfect artwork for their homes or office.


By buying through artfull online or through one of our art advisors, you are investing in the careers of artists, supporting the future of the arts industry in South Africa and acquiring something of beauty made by human hands into your home.


It's so rewarding for me to watch an artist flourish and have a full-time studio practice because of what we do at artfull and our advisory practice.


Q: Moving from art advisory to an online art platform is quite a shift! Has it been a sharp learning curve?


A: It has been an incredibly steep learning curve but looking back I wouldn’t have done it differently.


I love the fact that because I started from scratch I have had to learn every aspect of setting up, building and growing an online presence, from website development, content creation, online marketing and building a social media presence.


Q: What advice would you give people giving their company a digital aspect?


The first advice is to know your customer and understand what problem you are trying to solve in their lives.


Through working one on one with clients, sourcing art for their homes and office, I quickly understood what value I was providing in their life: access to expert information about starting a collection, access to quality art and lastly, making the journey from buying the artwork to having in framed and installed in their homes as easy and seamless as possible.


So know your market, understand your client and offer something that is a solution to a problem.

The second piece of advice is have an audience ready before you launch online. In my case my work as an art advisor and through the art events I hosted created a loyal following of clients and new art buyers who were hungry for the information I shared loved the community and connection that came with connecting them to the art world, a world they felt excluded from.


And lastly, find ways for your clients to experience your product offline. At artfull you can make an appointment to see the artwork at my studio space and we will host regular pop-up exhibitions in interesting spaces and have events around the exhibition deepening our clients’ knowledge of the artists and their work.


Don't miss the other profiles in our Secrets of Success series with Amanda Dambuza Founder and CEO of Uyandiswa and Lala Tuku Founder and Director of Corporate Icons Media and Co-Chair of Africa Rising International Film Festival