The Wall Street Journal’s weekend section spends some time with Michael Bruno, founder of the decorator’s site, 1stDibs.com. In the profile, Bruno confesses that he bought a lot of his vendors’ stock in the beginning to keep them selling on the site:
Since its launch in 2000, the lushly produced site has grown to include nearly 1,000 leading dealers of antiques, modern furniture, estate jewelry and vintage fashion. And this month, the site is expanding to include fine art. Currently exhibiting the top fine art dealers in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, the site will ultimately include galleries in 10 cities. […] Each week, Mr. Bruno and his team of editors and photographers add about 2,200 new items, and the dealers showcased on 1stdibs sell about 1,500 items.
“When we started with just furniture, the average price per item was about $7,000. We added vintage fashion and jewelry and the average price went to about $5,500,” he said. “We anticipate the number going back up with this month’s addition of fine arts.” Though he cautions it’s still early, Mr. Bruno predicts his shoppers will flock to photography, where prices range from $2,000 to $200,000.
Mr. Bruno credits Paris with teaching him about “amazing” objects, but he is thoroughly American in his approach to sales. It’s a long way from his early beginnings, when to goose sales and get wary antiquarians to use his site, Mr. Bruno quietly became his own best customer and his apartment overflowed with French antiques.
The Art of the Deal (Wall Street Journal)