Visualtroop: The New Artsy Online Marketplace Is A Visual Treat

New startup, Visualtroop is an online marketplace by creatives, for people with an eye for good art.

The e-commerce scene in Singapore is buzzing with activity. There’s Reebonz for luxury goods, HipVan for furniture, Naiise for designer products, Zalora for fashion, Honestbee and Redmart for groceries, and Rakuten, Qoo10 and Lazada for pretty much everything you can think of. And then, there’s Visualtroop.

Exclusive for Reuelwrites readers: Get 10% off all your purchases on Visualtroop when you enter the promo code ‘10REUELEUGENE‘ at checkout!

 

Founded by two Nanyang Technological University graduates Jean Tan and Leonard Ng early 2015, Visualtroop stands out from other e-commerce sites in its altruistic vision to “uncover different artists/artworks and bring them to us through everyday products.”

Visualtroop features products designed by local (and international) artists. I was approached by the founders not too long ago and was invited to review their website and products.

FoundersPhoto v2.jpg

PHOTO: Visualtroop

Unlike other e-commerce business models, Visualtroop’s model of business is rather peculiar – I was scratching my head as I read their business model. Here’s how Visualtroop works [with artists]. Collaboration with Visualtroop is almost ‘effortless’ and fuss-free since all these artists need to do is to send them their designs.

From there, Visualtroop takes over. The manufacturers and suppliers are contacted, the products are produced/printed, marketing is done, orders are taken off the e-commerce site, and delivery sent to the customers – all without the need for the artists’ intervention.

This also leaves the artists with more time to do what they do best; paint, design, photograph or whichever. Simply put, Visualtroop produces and markets the product on their behalf, at a commission rate of 15% off nett sale.

And because Visualtroop consolidates orders altogether, they are able to negotiate for better pricing with their suppliers and manufacturers, hence prices of the products are kept at an affordable range (yay for us consumers). A4-sized framed prints costs from as low as S$25.90, and the price for a cool-looking laptop sleeve starts from S$39.90, etc.

Postcard

PHOTO: Visualtroop

Okay, so the commission rates aren’t fantastic, but hey! These guys (or should I say this couple) are doing all the work on behalf of the artists. As someone who did a business major back in Poly days, I would say that their business model is one that’s very tedious and labour-intensive.

After taking away the production and other overheads, there isn’t a lot of money to be made through this model anyway. Why not follow the model of competitors Naiise, Etsy or Amazon Handmade? But I guess that’s where they stand out; connecting consumers to new and emerging artists and providing these budding artists an extra avenue to be entrepreneurs themselves for extra income.

PHOTO: Visualtroop

PHOTO: Visualtroop

Barely a year into the business, the dynamic duo has gathered 66 artists (and counting) under their wing, putting out as many as 500 artworks across 7 product ranges. The product ranges are; postcards, photo & art prints, framed prints, T-shirts, cushions & throws, cotton totes, and laptop sleeves. Plans to increase the product range are underway.

Visualtroop Review

VT1.jpg

Screenshot: Visualtroop.com

Okay, moment of truth. How did Visualtroop fare?

Aesthetic-wise, the Visualtroop website is very user-friendly and clean. However, I do feel that the navigation (menu bar and filtering options) is a little messy and could use a bit of reorganising.

Product Range

Honestly, the range of products are a hit and miss for me, and I do find the variety of artworks a little limited. I love the photos from (some of) the photographers but find it hard to appreciate the illustrations from (some of) the artists. There is also a lack of painting works on the platform (C’mon! Get more painters on board). Imagine receiving/giving away a Surrealism/Cubism/Nanyang style painted postcard or printed frame. That would make me a happy boyboy89 during Christmas.

But Visualtroop only just started and they are constantly seeking out more artists to join their platform. It is also not unusual that one finds that he does not like all the works. After all, Visualtroop is really a collective of artworks from different artists with different styles and background. It’s like getting a Star Trek fan to like Star Wars and vice versa (Laughs).

The beauty of it lies in that; there’s something for everyone on Visualtroop.

 

Delivery Cost & Time

IMG_6662

Visualtroop uses Singpost as their delivery service provider for both local and international orders. I’m not really a big fan of Singpost’s service standards but delivery costs (normal mail $1.15 – $1.70 for bulkier items) are kept low so I’m not complaining. Customers who spend above $50 will get their local registered postage fees waived.

Products are delivered between 5 to 10 working days depending on the type of product. Paper products typically take 5 days to be delivered.

Visualtrooper Profile

Kristen Kiong

SCREENSHOT: Visualtroop.com

I do want to commend Visualtroop for creating personal profile pages for each of their artists such as Kristen Kiong’s profile (see above). The profile includes the artists’ personal websites and contact details.

Often, in the case of other e-commerce marketplace such as Etsy and Amazon, the proprietors (artists) have no control over personal branding and are treated like a commodity. So kudos on the efforts of Visualtroop to get their artists noticed.

PHOTO: Visualtroop

Christmas

Christmas Shopping

In conjunction with the festive season, the e-commerce startup has also make arrangements to deliver Christmas postcards and framed prints to those looking to do some last-minute purchase for family and loved ones. Individuals intending to get Christmas gifts for family and friends during Christmas should note that processing time for gifts may take up to 2 weeks.

The good people at Visualtroop gave me some credits to purchase and try out their products. I used them to order a photo frame and some postcards. The order took aproximately a week to get to me. Pictures below.

IMG_6664

People who know me well would know that I have a thing for postcards and have always pestered asked family and friends travelling abroad to get me unique postcards. My craving for nice postcards are insatiable, yet I’m hard-to-please at the same time.

These postcards at Visualtroop satisfy my appetite for postcards with unique designs. They are also of very good quality. Printed on 250 gsm 100% cotton rag fine art paper (generally more expensive than other types of art paper), the postcards are of better quality and lasts longer too. These goodies costs S$3.50 a-piece and comes with envelope.

IMG_6672

Artwork titled ‘Red Man’ by Kevin Low

IMG_6674

Photo printed on 100% cotton rag fine art paper, the frames are made of New Zealand pine

I am impressed by the quality of both the art print, and the frame as well. Artworks on good quality mediums brings out the richness of the colours. Longevity is also key for framed prints (moisture, sunlight and time damages artworks), hence it is vital that the artwork is printed on good quality paper; 100% cotton rag fine art paper in this case.

The frame is also not the cha-pa-lang type of frames, not the meh quality ones you find at Ikea. A lot of attention was given to details to ensure the end customers’ satisfaction. Needless to say, I was very impressed by the quality of the product.

In summary, I find Visualtroop both noble in the cause they are championing for, and great for Singaporeans looking for arty-farty products designed by (local) artists. As an observer of Singapore’s art scene, I find that while more support should be given to artists (which the Government is pumping lots of funds into), what’s important is that artists are supported by their fellow Singaporeans.

Exclusive for Reuelwrites readers: Get 10% off all your purchases on Visualtroop when you enter the promo code ‘10REUELEUGENE‘ at checkout!

 

Get your last-minute Christmas gifts and support local. Head on down to Visualtroop quick and do your Christmas shopping! RW

P.S. Artists who wish to collaborate with Visualtroop can find out more on the website. Click here.

Disclaimer: The author of this article has received products for the purpose of reviewing the company and its products. This blog entry reflects the author’s opinion(s) and are in no way influenced/dictated by the company in question.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Visualtroop: The New Artsy Online Marketplace Is A Visual Treat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s