The founder of a new limited edition online print store says he has been ‘blown away’ by the response so far. Leon Edler started Room Fifty in December last year and has just launched the second season.
roomfifty.com sells limited edition prints by 50 of the best illustrators and designers in the world.
The idea started at a party in September 2017 when illustrator Edler realised nothing like it already existed.
“A woman at the party told me she wanted to buy prints of illustrations by some great female illustrators, but said she struggled to find any,” says Edler.
“‘That’s crazy,’ I said. I could send you a list of 50 amazing female illustrators who probably sell prints of their work.”
Edler compiled the list and then looked for sites selling contemporary prints by a curated group of artists.
But it didn’t exist.
“All I could find were print-on-demand sites with a huge number of prints of varying quality, galleries selling giclées at huge prices, or illustrators selling a few prints through stores on their site,” he says.
“That’s when it was clear that there was a huge gap in the market.
“I wasn’t looking to start a business, I just thought it should exist.”
Edler started by making a list of ideals upon which the business should be based.
“Room Fifty is a bit different to everything else because it is based on a few core principles,” he says.
Those principles include:
- Having a limited number of handpicked artists
- Making great art available at a reasonable price
- Exposing great illustrators to an art-buying audience that are not yet aware of them
- Enabling artists to sell more work by coming together
- Consulting the artists, so it is run in a way to suit them
- Ensuring a high proportion of the roster is made up of women and people of colour
- Offering all the art in fixed sizes/prices to make it simple and accessible for customers
- No work for the artist beyond creating the art
- No cost to the artist
- Artists receive 70 per cent of the profit
Within five days, Room Fifty had 50 artists signed up and a waiting list for the following season.
“I was completely blown away by the response,” says Edler.
“The list is better than I could have imagined.
“All the artists really engaged with the concept of working together to get their work out there.
“And they liked the idea of doing it in a way so that it is accessible to everyone.
“You could be on a low income and still collect limited edition prints by an artist you love.”
Highest possible standard
To print, package and ship the artworks, Room Fifty has teamed up with Spectrum Photographic.
“As soon as I got the idea, I went straight to Spectrum with it,” says Edler.
“Klair, Paul and Hazel have an amazing set up there. They really are the best at what they do and their prints are of the highest possible standard.
“They instantly loved the idea and we’ve worked closely together to make sure the store is the best of its kind.
“After a lot of consultation with the artists, Spectrum and the public, we feel like we now have the best print store in the world.
“It’s a project that is hopefully going to work for everybody.
“The artists can just focus on creating the work and the customers are getting the best art by the best artists for an amazing price. We’re really excited.”
So how does it work?
Customers pick a masterpiece from the roster of 50 handpicked artists, each offering three unique pieces.
All prints are limited to an edition of 50 and come in three sizes (A2, A3 and A5) and three prices (£80, £40 and £20).
They are produced on Hahnemühle Photo Rag and a handmade frame can be added for £80, £40 or £20.
A small number of exclusive prints in A1 are available.
Once an order is placed, customers receive their numbered limited edition print in either five days (framed) or three days (unframed).
To view the full lists of artists taking part in this season, visit roomfifty.com