Startup Spotlight: Folyo

Folyo is a social, e-commerce platform that connects student artists to those interested in buying their work. The creators want to make the process of buying and selling art simple, fun and social. For artists, they want to take the guesswork out of marketing themselves and their work. For buyers, they want to make the…

Folyo

Folyo is a social, e-commerce platform that connects student artists to those interested in buying their work. The creators want to make the process of buying and selling art simple, fun and social.

For artists, they want to take the guesswork out of marketing themselves and their work. For buyers, they want to make the process of purchasing art fun and informative.

Founded

October 2013

Ashley Brimley (design)
Victoria Bujn (business development)
Caitlin McDonald (product development)

Where the idea came from:

Before meeting the other girls, Ashley had been toying with the idea of opening a store where students could sell their work, but found overhead costs would be really high, and opening it on campus would be even more expensive. After meeting Victoria and Caitlin at Startup Weekend, they offered a solution by suggesting an e-commerce site.

Problem they are trying to solve:

First off, the gals at Folyo say there are amazing student artists that have gallery quality work but simply don’t know how to market themselves. Because of this setback, buyers are missing out on getting that art.

Secondly, they want to connect everyone in the art world no matter who they are. They want to create a space where everyone feels comfortable talking and where students can develop their skills as entrepreneurs. It will give students a place to gain a better understanding of the business world so they can be successful as professional artists.

What excites them about the problem?

Folyo is excited to see the way something so vast is being digitized because it takes down barriers. Co-founder, Victoria, had a hard time when she was trying to buy a piece of art; she felt really out of place in the galleries she visited and felt that took away from the experience. It’s exciting to them to potentially be able to connect an artist from Lansing to a collector in London; artists are no longer limited by geography.

They see the site solving a lot of problems their peers are having; it gives them a realistic way to sell their work, make money, and still have time to create their art. By preventing them from becoming “starving artists,” it’s changing the stigma surrounding being an artist.

Target Customer:

Their two target groups are art students (or students who make art) and art enthusiasts, collectors or businesses that need help fostering creativity to bring inspiration.

Biggest Challenge:

It’s been tough for them to really understand what both sides of their target market want. They’re trying really hard to not just assume what they want and instead reach out to a large amount of enthusiasts to create a product they would love to use.

Funding:

Folyo won the Hatching in October and also won 3rd place in the undergrad section of the Greenlight Competition. They’ve used that prize money and are also using resources from the Hatch. They haven’t gotten any other funding yet, but when they do, they want it to be the right fit.

The Future:

Folyo would love to be on international campuses, connecting students across the nation and world. They want to create a global art community where collectors can get to know their art and the hand behind it, turning it into a conversation piece rather than just an object.

Advice:

“Don’t let failure and setbacks discourage you, it’s important to look at it objectively and learn from it.” When they do happen, “Don’t allow more than 24 hrs to feel upset about it. It will ruin your progress.”

They also added, “If you have an idea, tell someone, there are people who want to help.”

Connect with Folyo:

Find them on Facebook
Follow them on Twitter
Browse their Website

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