Hi Jenna, great to meet you and thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Firstly, can you please tell us a little about yourself and an overview of Carré d’artistes for our readers so they can understand more about the brand?
Great to meet you too and of course! I’ve been working with Carré d’artistes for ten years, eight of which were in the franchise department. I love my work, it’s always interesting working on franchise direction and I get to work with lots of different people and brilliant artists.
Carré d’artistes is a French brand and the largest of its kind in the world, with over forty galleries.
The brand has been thriving since 2001, driven by a passion for art, innovation and creating welcoming gallery spaces, helping people start their own art collections. Since the start of the brand’s journey, we have been working on our mission to bring together artists with people that have a passion for art.
Is there anything specific that you feel differentiates you from other franchised models?
What is so special about Carré d’artistes is that we have a completely unique collection in every gallery. Every artwork is certified unique, with prices set to the format, not to the artists perceived value. This helps customers focus on how they feel about the art, instead of being distracted by the potential value of the art as an asset. For us, it’s more about encouraging them to create their own collection to live with and enjoy, rather than collecting it in the hope of making profit in future.
We have 40,000 artworks, throughout 40 galleries, from global artists. We showcase lots of French ones naturally, but also represent international artists from places like Turkey, China, South & North America, Spain, Italy and Portugal.
How does the curation process work?
We have a fantastic team of five art curators, connecting with new artists through their networks. They travel to explore new artists’ artwork but of course also use technology to build new links and develop relationships with global artists. They are constantly exploring new talent online, on Instagram and other platforms and working hard to anticipate new trends. They keep our galleries at the cutting edge, providing customers with what they’re looking for.
Technology is powerful, but humans remain paramount to our brand. For example, last year we held a convention where gallery and curators presented their work in person, bringing together 60 artists, our franchisees, the office team, all the people at the heart of the operation. This kind of event is so important as it’s all about forming connections with people in the real world.
Can you please tell us about any special projects you’re currently working on?
We are working on developing the omnichannel system that we launched in 2020, which gives all our galleries the opportunity to present their artwork online. This means customers can enjoy the retail experience of a real gallery without needing to leave their home.
It’s great for growing our brand awareness and supporting our franchisees. The technology and marketing is handled by our central team, so it enables franchisees to reach a wider audience.
We currently have twenty-two galleries of our forty galleries accessible online, with others to follow soon.
We are, also, working on some secret things that we want to keep a mystery for now, but all will be revealed soon!
How has Carré d’artistes performed in terms of franchise development this year and what are your ambitions for the next twelve months?
We have really started to focus on franchise development, with six of our art galleries being franchised already, three of which opened in 2023 in France: in Grenoble, Versailles and Colmar and one in Montreal, Canada.
Toulon is due to open by summer, two more are due in France and we are also working on other opportunities. We are hoping to expand to seventy franchised galleries eventually, focusing especially on the French and European market. We do believe we have a big opportunity to grow in North America (USA and Canada). It’s our aim to open fifteen galleries per year for the next five years.
One of our franchise partners has opened four galleries already, which is the type of expansion we want all our partners to aspire to. However, we intend to take it slow and make sure that all of the opportunities are the best available and that we don’t rush the process. We want to support our partners and ensure they have strong development plans, so that they can scale providing they wish to.
Can you please tell us how Carré d’artistes support their franchisees?
It all starts in our central team. We have thirty people in the office, with strong support for franchisees provided by marketing, accounts, HR, logistics, art handling and sales.
We work closely with them from day one helping them find suitable locations, doing locations research, gallery selection, best practice merchandising and keeping costs low. We also give them access to our suppliers with whom we have already negotiated to secure the best prices.
If they want us to support with recruitment then we also do that, by providing contracts, job descriptions, recruitment postings etc, essentially everything they need to get them up to speed.
We provide three days office-based training with one week in the galleries etc, so they are fully equipped and ready for their launch.
We spend quality time with them in person, accompanying them during opening the gallery and then we always follow up to offer ongoing support. Our art curators are always available as are our area managers, helping ensure performance is strong for each of the gallery owners. We focus a lot on this, as we want to ensure each gallery opening is carefully managed and never rushed.
What qualities do you particularly value in prospective franchise partners and what type of candidates are you searching for?
Most of our franchisees are art enthusiasts, but that’s not an essential attribute. We don’t expect diplomas or certifications in art, as for us it’s more important to find positive, passionate people with an entrepreneurial mindset.
Managerial skills are important because we want people that will take care of their own business and can manage that, alongside managing their team.
We need them to be commercially minded, but the most important thing we look for is people skills. It is essential our galleries are welcoming so we want our partners to be naturally skilled at meeting and greeting people, treating customers amicably and showing passion for the product, while connecting with them. They need to act as a great shopkeeper and strike up a rapport with their customers.
We can complement this with formal art focused training where it’s needed, to help enhance their natural skills. We like to think of our franchise partnerships as marriages, really. It’s a long-term relationship that needs sustained effort from both sides to enable a long and happy relationship!
Finally, what would you say to any prospective candidates who might be considering becoming a franchisee with Carré d’artistes?
Please come, don’t hesitate! If you’re looking for a new challenge to do something that matters to you then definitely talk to us. If you have any hesitations or questions then we are very happy to answer them and spend time with you exploring things.
We pride ourselves on being like our galleries; accessible and welcoming – it’s in our DNA. Our CEO Stephane Tosi still works on the business and hasn’t left since the start of the brand in 2001.
She is still passionate and wants to be involved, which really shows how our brand inspires connection and long, happy relationships.
I think it’s because we are always innovating that Carré d’artistes is always seeking out and making positive connections with new people, new art, new galleries, so it keeps things exciting! We all share the same values as a team and we welcome like-minded individuals to join us as we grow.
Franchise Partnership Opportunities
FRANCHISEBIZ support Carré d’artistes with its franchise development by identifying new potential franchisees. To arrange an informal chat with our team about their opportunities, please contact us today.
Marketing & Business Development