Income Generation and the Arts: Inspired by the TATE

A while back I met with the Retail Manager at the TATE Modern in London to pick up a few of the secrets of their success in arts centre retailing.

What did I discover? Exceptional best practice, including a hugely creative product development and merchandising philosophy, not to mention a refreshingly professional and forward-thinking approach to customer service.

By developing partnerships with major designers such as Paul Smith, exciting limited edition ranges of TATE Modern branded products were created. Wolf Ollins, one of the country’s leading brand consultancies, had also been appointed to develop seasonal colour palettes for the theming and display of goods. As would be expected of a leading global arts institution, the TATE Modern expresses creative contemporary excellence through every aspect of the visitor experience – right through to the fine detail of the retail experience.

I was also inspired by the professional service culture I witnessed, reflected in the requirement for retail staff to have strong retail experience (often with established consumer brands), as well as a clear passion for the TATE / the arts.

This creative and energetic approach towards ‘trading’ generates vital funds to support the TATE Modern’s core artistic purpose. An excellent example of arts retailing, the principles of which which can be applied to all sizes and shapes of arts organisations.

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