Studies confirm that people work harder and live happier when there is art on the walls. But finding the right piece of art for an office or home isn’t always as easy as it may sound. With countless websites online selling millions of pieces of art, people sometimes need help choosing the perfect piece.
Liz Lidgett understands that. Five years ago, she launched an in-person Des Moines-based art advisory business called Liz Lidgett Fine Art. She had previously worked as an in-house curator for a corporation but branched out on her own when she saw the number of companies in the city that needed help with their art collection.
“In the ‘80s and ‘90s it was really a status symbol to have an in-house curator help you with your collection,” said Lidgett. “Then because of the economy and people retiring, that stopped happening, and these collections would just be sitting and not be taken care of.”
Pivoting to a tech-based business
Over the span of two years, the business grew so much that Lidgett decided to change the name to Adore Your Walls and offer online consulting services to the company could work on a national level.
Now the CEO of Adore Your Walls, Lidgett had transitioned from creative business owner to tech owner. She brought her sister Kate Wagner on board as Chief Operating Officer. Wagner had spent the previous six years at Dwolla and knew the world of startups.
“It was not only exciting to work with my sister, but also to kind of start from the beginning and have a lot of say in building a wonderful company,” said Wagner. “Having startup experience and knowledge of running operations and logistics is something that [helps].
They may be sisters, but they say working together is a lot easier than most people think.
“Liz and I think very differently which makes us work very well together,” said Wagner. “She’s the creative, and I’m the one who likes to figure out how to get it done.”
How Adore Your Walls works
Customers purchase art advisory packages from Adore Your Walls based on how many pieces of art they want to buy. They take a short questionnaire and upload photos and dimensions of their space. From all of the customer’s input, Liz and Kate look through the catalog of artists they work with and find the perfect pieces of art for the customers.
The move to a tech-based e-commerce company was the right choice for the company, but it wasn’t without its challenges.
“It opened up a whole new world of exciting things but also complications,” said Lidgett. “Trying to figure out exactly what the right questions are to make sure that you’re getting the perfect information––that’s something we’re constantly evaluating and changing as we need to.”
Lidgett said that she hasn’t seen too many other creative companies like hers in the tech space, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“We are a creative business in the tech industry and I think that is harder for people to wrap their minds around,” said Lidgett. “When I have conversations with people, they don’t always understand exactly how we fit in and how they can give us advice. I think of that as an advantage.”
What’s next for Adore Your Walls
Adore Your Walls has also partnered with companies like Better Homes and Gardens and Meredith Corporation provides them with a national reach.
“We think more and more about the fact that we get to work with Fortune 500 companies and national brands, and we get to do it all from the comfort of Des Moines,” said Lidgett. “Part of that is because we’re taking advantage of the resources we have here and throughout the Midwest.”
Lidgett and Wagner aren’t looking for funding, but they do have growth in their sights.
“We look forward to continuing placing Adore Your Walls and the Des Moines art scene on a national level,” said Lidgett. “We are working on future projects with large national brands and hope to be in the retail space soon.”
Adore Your Walls CEO Liz Lidgett and Chief Operating Officer Kate Wagner will be the presenters at the February Square One DSM Startup Stories event on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, 700 Locust St.
Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.