How to identify a new business opportunity, from a founder who bridged the gap between art and luxury real estate

  • Creative Art Partners (CAP) is an art curation firm that's bridged the gap between luxury real estate and fine art in just three years' time.
  • Scaling up his business seemingly overnight, CAP founder Brian Ludlow shared his strategies for growth with Business Insider. 
  • Recognizing an underserved market was just one of the strategies Ludlow used to strike success.  
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Creative Art Partners (CAP) curates fine art for luxury real estate developments and high-net-worth individuals. Founder Brian Ludlow says his firm's growth has grown steadily since he founded it in 2017, and he credits his success to identifying a target market that no other firm had captured: the intersection of luxury real estate and fine art.

At CAP's point of founding, Ludlow says there was no nexus between the two industries. Developments worth $50 million had been "using fake art and free-with-furniture wall decor," Ludlow said, and he saw the absence of a firm like CAP as a missed opportunity for everyone from architects to the prospective home buyers themselves. "For us, it was a classic light bulb moment of 'there must be a better way.'"

Ludlow told Business Insider that since its founding, CAP's number of active installations has tripled in just three years. Even in pandemic times he says business has been steady, as demand for luxury amenities and refined living space among wealthy Americans has climbed despite a volatile market. Ludlow says that especially in the age of work from home, many have sought out CAP's professional art curation services to amplify their living spaces. CAP provides a variety of services from art rental for luxury developments to helping residential art buyers collect and decorate.

Ludlow says that within two months of CAP's founding, he was working with developers to place art in more than $500 million worth of real estate. Now, with over 15,000 works in the firm's collection — valued at tens of millions of dollars — CAP works with developers, architects, designers, and realtors across Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, and is already working to expand into two more major US markets. 

Having scaled up in just three years to boast an art collection worth eight figures, Ludlow and his firm have positioned themselves as the bridge between luxury real estate and fine art. Ludlow shared the strategies he used to scale CAP up with Business Insider. 

1. Recognize unique opportunity 

Realizing an underserved market was a key factor in CAP's success, according to Ludlow, who said the space in the market CAP fills had never been thoroughly targeted before.

"We recognized a unique opportunity," Ludlow said. "In what was a completely un-serviced market the intersection of luxury real estate and fine art." 

Prior to CAP's founding, Ludlow says there had been no coming together of the two industries that attempted to serve clientele in the way he planned to. For any entrepreneur, the ability to recognize missing gaps in any market could mean there's a lucrative opportunity ahead. 

2. Listen to your customers

Ludlow says CAP creates innovative products and services focused on making great art more accessible, and it's been fundamental to the firm's ability to grow.  

"By listening to the needs of our clients, challenging the accepted conventions, and creating innovative products and services, we solved the friction points they'd be dealing with for years trying to incorporate art into their projects," he said.  

And a unique product paired with quality service is a key to making any entrepreneurial venture stand out, especially when there's little competition. 

3. Be 'comfortable where no one else is'

CAP scaled up by disrupting the typical gallery model where accessibility is limited the fine art industry operates within, according to Ludlow. And it was a key to their success. 

"The art industry remains resistant to innovation and dismissive to the concept of art in real estate," he said. "We were comfortable where no one else was, and from there we've created the largest art distribution and live exhibition platform in the world."  

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