Laurence Lafforgue is the founder of ArtWeLove.com, an online platform which makes it fun and easy to explore the best of contemporary art and buy affordable museum-quality art editions by today’s top artists. Before founding ArtWeLove, Laurence was a senior partner at Ogilvy Interactive, a large digital ad agency.
Her favorite artist is Yves Klein and his long lineage, including Takashi Murakami, among others. A life-defining art experience of hers was Water Tower by Rachel Whiteread, on view in the Manhattan skyline as part of a public project installation in 1998. Discovering this sculpture convinced her she belonged to New York City — and that she had to find out more about Whiteread’s work.
Laurence is culturally curious about the new French Touch phenomenon in visual arts. She likes to say that she was born in Paris but made in New York.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on expanding the ArtWeLove edition selection. The ArtWeLove online store offers exclusive, museum-quality art editions by today’s most inspiring artists.
Not just any artists. We focus on artists whose works can be found in top galleries and museums (like the MoMA), leading art events (like the Venice Biennale), and of course, private collections around the world.
We release fresh new editions weekly, priced oh-so-affordably from $15 to $600. Our prints come numbered with a signed certificate of authenticity.
We want even more people to be able to become stewards of the best art of their time!
Trends that excite you?
The democratization of the art world (and being part of making it happen)!
When I began collecting in 1999, my first piece, an indulgence of my childhood fascination with Japanese manga, was a limited-edition print (263 of 300) of Takashi Murakami’s Into the Dream (Jumbo Corn Head Mushroom) acquired for just 100 Euros.
Upon making that purchase, it dawned on me that too few artists were producing original, affordable, collectible limited-edition prints and that the deficit of entry-level pieces was hurting the contemporary-art world.
I realized then I wanted to build a business around that need and could not do it within the corporate world.
Since then, Internet distribution has made it possible for everyone to engage with contemporary art and to buy online. And digital printing technologies have evolved to the point where one can produce amazing museum-quality limited edition at very affordable prices.
We come at the intersection of these two innovations to offer, together with leading contemporary artists, affordable, inspiring and exclusive limited editions.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I keep a notebook of everything, and I separate big ideas from tactical to do lists items. I prioritize based on most urgent. And I surround myself with people more talented than me in areas where I need help.
What is one mistake you’ve made that our readers can learn from?
I did not raise enough money on my first round. Always ask double what you think you need!
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
Pivotal tracker is great for anyone who needs to develop a website. It allows one to follow agile development process.
The book by David Allen, “Get Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” is a very useful and easy read for anyone trying to get organized.
What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
To build your Twitter fan basis, interview a leading Twitterer in your space. Build up the conversation.
When did you realize that you wanted to be an entrepreneur and why?
I realized I wanted to be an entrepreneur in 2007 when I was promoted to senior partner at Ogilvy Interactive. While I loved my team, my clients, the company and the recognition, I missed my early days working for a small French Web startup (Nurun). Also the idea of turning my passion for art collecting into a digital business was very appealing. I knew there was a gap in the marketplace, and I could bring something new for both seasoned and aspiring art collectors.
How do you keep up with being a mom and an entrepreneur?
One word: Planning. Planning. Planning. If you think you’ve got it all plan, think again.
One book: “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen
One savior: My husband.
Two role models: Carley Rooney from theknot.com and Heidi Messer, co-founder of lindshare.com. Two highly successful entrepreneurs and moms. Fantastic mentors.