Emmanuel Okeke’s e-commerce art website, Artmat, makes it super easy to buy all kinds of art materials online in Nigeria
Emmanuel Okeke is unapologetically an introvert with a deep love for Yoruba foods, irrespective of being an Igbo descent. He is passionate about loving life, although he spends most of his time in his safe haven (his room).
Right after university, he worked at an art company (One Draw Gallery), as an art curator, for over two years before he started his first company called Contour Line which morphed into Portrait.ng before it finally morphed into Artmat.ng
Artmat, known as Contour Line at that time, started out as an art work supply company that supplies art works to architecture companies, hotels and person that needs Art works. Emmanuel knew he could do more, so he expanded the service to a wider audience which led to rebranding Contour Line into Portrait.ng
With that rebrand, it became an e-commerce website where anyone could place an order for a portrait painting to be made in any medium and size for them or anyone they wish to paint.
Emmanuel, being a problem solver, saw that artists often struggle with getting a one-stop-shop for all their art needs. This was what led to finally rebranding the e-commerce website to Artmat.ng
vision behind the brand
“The vision behind the brand is to enable creative express themselves through ART by giving them quick, reliable and safe access to the art materials market where they can buy all their art materials via an e-commerce website (www.artmat.ng) without leaving the comfort of their space and get it delivered to them on the same day.
Over the past months we have been able to build an MVP www.artmat.ng and launched December 2019. Before this we have helped creatives purchase their art materials through our social media platforms.
We’re currently in talks with some credit companies to enable creatives purchase their art materials on credit to create works of art and pay later.
We’re also proud of the quality of team we have built over the past months. A team is the first and one of the important things any organization needs to build and continue to improve on, my team has been a significant asset to the growth of our company and we’ll continue to build on our team to grow the company faster and better.
The unavailability of art materials for creative to create also exist outside Lagos and we plan to expend our services to other parts of Nigeria to meet more needs.”
INITIAL CHALLENGES OF THE E-COMMERCE WEBSITE
“Getting data at first was really a big deal but we got what we could and built on it, logistics and also funding, [were issues we had to deal with].
At the very start of Artmat.ng, we had to bootstrap to start the company but right now we’re focused on our customer’s experience and also seeking [more] funding.
Some of the [necessary] support we (as social entrepreneurs, who are addressing poorly met social or environmental needs, transforming the way societies work and generating positive social impact) can get is in the area of policy, access to market and funding. Without those things I don’t think there is that much we can do.”
5 advice Emmanuel would give the younger version of himself and any young person reading this
- Enjoy your process, Learn from it and have fun while at it.
- Read more books.
- Get a mentor very early.
- Try out new things and don’t let fear get the better part of your life.
- Love yourself because you’re the most important person in your world (without you they will not be any you).