"I know that seems strange, but it's the only way we can control the quality of the artwork," Walker explains. "But, what's even more important it's the only way we can balance the ratio of artists to art buyers."
The problem with websites that don't charge a membership fee is that they have too much merchandise and not enough buyers. According to Castelluzzo, "Measured growth is critical to the success of an e-commerce website. It's not about google numbers, it's about the ratio of buyers to inventory."
"It's an important balance, so we're controlling the growth," said Walker. "We have two-hundred founding artists who are slowly posting artwork to their galleries, so we're gradually building inventory and 'gradual' is good."
The website's consumer and interior designer marketing efforts will begin in a few weeks, and according to Walker will keep pace with inventory growth.
"We'll know exactly what we need to do based on artwork sales," and added, "attract buyers or build inventory, it's not much different than running a retail store."
Retail stores typically manage turnover of their inventory, which is the rate at which items sell.
Inventory turnover is directly affected by store traffic. Retailers don't carry more inventory than they can turn over within a specified period of time. Items that don't sell are discontinued or sold at deep discounts.
Castelluzzo and Walker are applying the same principles to managing an online art gallery. But, rather than discount the artwork they will recommend that artists un-list or rotate certain pieces to keep their galleries fresh.
Artists may also link their DiscoveredArtists.com gallery to their own, personal website where art buyers can see archived work and work available at brick and mortar art galleries.
So far the two owners feel fortunate that the artists who were not invited, but joined on their own, are very good. "We think they're looking around and wouldn't join if they didn't think their work was the right stuff," said Castelluzzo, who further explained that artists naturally self-screen because most want to be surrounded by artists of the same caliber.
Many qualified artists may not receive an invitation simply because the two business owners haven't found them. Artists who do not receive an invitation, but are interested in selling their work on DiscoveredArtists.com may go to the website, check out the artwork and submit an application.
A credit card is required; however, there is a ten day trial period before a membership is accepted and finalized.
Once again, the two owners stress that rejecting a membership is not a commentary on an artist's work, but simply a merchandising decision that any good retailer would make when stocking his store.
Check out the site by visiting www.discoveredartists.com.