David Beaulieu, the Founder and CEO of Today Is Art Day, started making art more accessible and fun by creating a social media feed about art history in 2014. The idea was to share funny anecdotes about art every day. Today Is Art Day has flourished into a popular curator of art history to a growing community of over 125k followers.
In 2017, David had an idea to make a line of innovative and amusing collectible products inspired by great masterpieces and artists throughout history, which at that time didn’t exist. Since 2017, Today Is Art Day collectibles have joined their inspirations in the boutiques of some of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the Louvre, the MET, the National Gallery, the Van Gogh Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and many more.
ToyShnip recently interviewed David and wanted to share his answers to our questions with you.
Q: You mentioned in one of your blogs that you were working a full-time job and Today Is Art Day simultaneously. At what point did it get too much for you, that you had to focus solely on TIAD?
A: At some point, I had the feeling I was poorly performing at my day job and simultaneously not giving enough attention to my business. It was psychologically challenging to be in that state for several months. One day, I spoke to my former boss and told him I was struggling to find a balance between both occupations. He clearly told me to give my business a chance so I don’t regret it afterward. Probably the best advice I ever received.
Q: Could you tell me 5 things you've learned (so far) in your journey as the founder and CEO of Today Is Art Day?
- Van Gogh items sell more than those of any other artist.
- We often struggle to get paid on time by some high-profile museums. It’s funny and sad at the same time.
- Diversifying our product offering into smaller collectible items has been one of the best business decisions we made.
- The packaging is almost as important as the product inside the packaging.
- Customers often think they are dealing with a large company when addressing us. It’s really flattering. They have no idea how small of an operation it is behind the screen!
Q: Out of the merchandise you sell, which category do you move the most of?
A: Our line of enamel pins is moving a lot of units each year. Fun Fact: I tried to push this line to my museum clients in France and was politely told that these were considered out of fashion. The French only wear these in a “corporate” way to identify their employer. Nothing like a cool item to personalize your jacket or backpack. I hope it will make a comeback in France sometime!
Q: Your products are available in over 150 museum stores around the world. That’s a huge accomplishment. What's next on your bucket list for the company?
A: Thank you! We simply want to create products that will be loved by customers and that will help the museum store staff in their quest to generate revenue for their institutions. Our hope is to be a company that people recognize and love for the originality and beauty of its products. It sounds cliché but it’s what we work for every single day.
Q: Which art period do you favor the most?
A: I think Post-Impressionism has provided the artwork that resonates most with me. Painters like Van Gogh, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne, Gauguin and Rousseau have all boldly pushed their art to new limits. They paved the way for generations of artists.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
A: Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer is my favorite artist. The realism in his paintings is mesmerizing. There are only 34 paintings of him in the world and you can actually see all of them if you travel to the USA and in Europe. You can almost “collect” his paintings by trying to see them all. I saw 24 so far. Still have 10 to go!
Q: I read your blog post about Facebook algorithms preventing Today Is Art Day from selling a number of products on both Facebook and Instagram? We are right there with you as Google has also banned some of our products for the same reason. Have you found a way around it since that post was written almost a year ago?
A: Not really. In our case, it’s an item that shows nudity. Our products featuring “Birth of Venus” or the “Venus de Milo” are automatically banned because of a nipple or two. I mean, come on!
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about you or Today Is Art Day?
A: Most people think I have a degree in Art History or something like that. I don’t. I simply love art history.
David has posted on Today Is Art Day’s social media every day since he started the brand in December 2014. He never missed a day. He even posted on his wedding day and the days his daughters were born. Every. Single. Day. Now that’s dedication!