Widespread rumours that Christchurch publisher of NZ art gifts and decor products Image Vault are going to launch their own online store to sell directly to retail customers have been confirmed today by production manager Hamish Bayly. In an email sent to New Zealand Fine Prints Bayly stated "all our products will be available for sale on line". He went on to say that "it will offer an on line option for people who wish to view and purchase from our complete range".
Image Vault, publisher of prints by some of NZ's top selling contemporary landscape painters like Diana Adams, Grahame Sydney and kiwiana art specialist Jason Kelly, has grown quickly to be one of the leading brands in the NZ gift market. Launched by siblings Nathan and Jane Secker out of their Christchurch based family business Windsor Gallery (now sold) Image Vault sells a highly successful range of art cards, prints, canvas prints as well as decals and lampshades through a large network of retail stockists throughout New Zealand (including www.prints.co.nz).
This is a controversial departure from the business model followed by overseas art publishers such as Bruce McGaw or Rosensteils - or local design driven success stories like Icebreaker - who specialise in the publishing/manufacturing side and rely on a carefully cultivated network of retailers to get their products out to customers. Do readers of NZ Art Print News think Image Vault competing directly with their loyal retail sales channel is good business or a bad idea? Leave your comment below.