Designing Art Markets Fit for the 21st Century
In Conversation with Convelio

A photograph showing the team of art logistics company Convelio, all wearing a grey sweatshirt with the company name and logo, leaning against shipping crates.© Convelio / The Convelio Team: Building the logistics backbone of the art world in the UK and internationally
Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Co-Founder & Specialist[email protected]

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Our Art & Tech podcast series focuses on the transformative forces reshaping the traditional art market. Our series begins with logistics, a crucial yet often laborious aspect of art collection. In this inaugural episode, we speak with with Edouard Gouin, co-founder of Convelio. This innovative company aims to bridge the gap between art and logistics, aiming to modernise a sector that remains one of the last to resist complete digital integration.

Charlotte Stewart, in conversation with Edouard Gouin, delved into what distinguishes Convelio from traditional logistics providers. As Gouin outlines, the logistics sector within the art world has long lagged behind, particularly in comparison to the advancements seen in e-commerce and general freight. Throughout this conversation, Gouin reveals what Convelio are doing to bring art logistics into the 21st century with cutting-edge technology and a fresh approach to this somewhat tired industry.

“If we do our job right, we essentially remove the risk of human error.”
Edouard Gouin, Co-Founder of Convelio

The Evolution of Art Logistics: Convelio's Vision

Convelio was founded by Edouard Goin and Clément Ouizille “out of deep frustration” with the lack of efficient solutions when it comes to art shipping at decent rates. The pair both have backgrounds in the world of e-commerce, and when they started to work with art and antique markets were shocked to find how dates the approach to logistics was in the art world.

Gouin and Ouizille identified three primary challenges:

  1. Instant Shipping Rates: The absence of immediate pricing in a digitising art world presented a disjointed customer experience. Convelio's integrated approach seeks to consolidate costs for purchasing, shipping, and storage into a singular transaction.
  2. Cost Efficiency: The traditional model, burdened with intermediaries, led to inflated costs which ultimately fell upon collectors. Convelio's streamlined system offers competitive pricing, challenging the status quo within the traditional art market.
  3. Global Shipping Complexity: The need for multiple logistics companies to facilitate worldwide shipping is inefficient. The solution devised by Convelio is a one-stop-shop offering instant, competitive rates with extensive geographical coverage.

By tackling these issues over the last eight years, they have revolutionised the process: developing and utilising technological tools like order dashboards and tracking systems. These tools and their implementation ensure a balance between quality and cost-effectiveness, an unprecedented first in the world of logistics in the art world.

Leveraging Technology for Enhanced Efficiency in Art Logistics

The conversation shifted to how Convelio seamlessly integrates technology to transform a traditionally cumbersome process. Gouin described the move from manual, spreadsheet-based systems when he and Ouizille started Convelio, to the sophisticated algorithms they employ today. These algorithms, customised for both essential and premium offerings, factor in all necessary parameters to generate instant pricing. This eight-year journey of refining their technology has led to a system where 90% of orders are efficiently managed through their algorithm.

There is a definite parallel here with MyArtBroker's development of our own suite of tech tools for collectors of prints and editions. Indeed, the development of tech tools such as ours and Convelio's both seek to mitigate human error, foster transparency, and streamline the collecting process for both buyers and sellers in the art market.

“We know it’s not serving us to be this transparent, because we obviously make our pricing available to our competitors - but that’s very important to make a more dynamic market. If we are able to offer shipping rates that are more competitive and bring that transparency, this influences other players in the market to make sure they’re also competitive - meaning that more sells.”
Edouard Gouin, Co-Founder of Convelio

Continuous Algorithm Evolution and Client-Centric Services

Gouin acknowledged that their algorithms are still a work in progress, with ongoing refinements necessary to address new challenges and enhance reliability. This continual development is central to minimising human error and ensuring the safe, timely delivery of artworks.

Discussing the impact of Convelio's services on art purchasing and bidding strategies, Gouin emphasised their commitment to transparency and market influence. Their clear pricing structure not only aids collectors in making informed decisions but also encourages other market players to remain competitive.

Global Partnerships and Sustainability

In terms of global operations, Convelio maintains rigorous standards for partner selection, employing a meticulous vetting process. This approach ensures reliability and quality, whether handling standard shipments or more valuable, fragile items.

Sustainability is a cornerstone of Convelio's ethos, particularly challenging given the dominance of air freight in art logistics. Initiatives like reusable packaging and carbon emission tracking demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility, despite market resistance to the financial implications of sustainable practices.

“Much like Convelio in the realm of logistics, we at MyArtBroker are essentially trying to emulate the mind of an art dealer who watches the market and knows exactly what their clients want, and put it into an algorithm that can automate valuations.”
Charlotte Stewart, Managing Director of MyArtBroker

Looking Ahead: Convelio in 2024

Gouin shared exciting developments for Convelio in 2024, including the launch of a storage service in the UK. This expansion is in line with their vision of continuously adding value and enhancing client experiences in the art logistics realm.

Our dialogue with Edouard Gouin of Convelio underscores the dynamic interplay between art and technology. Convelio's innovative approach is a testament to the potential for technology to reshape the art market, making it more efficient, transparent, and responsive. As we proceed with our Art & Tech series, it's clear that such advancements are not just desirable but essential for a 21st century art market.

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