Local design firm creates online auction niche

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* Business name: ArtByUs.com (A service by the Charisma Design Co.)

* Address: 3165 Windjammer Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920 (No public office at this address.)

* Web site: http://www.artbyus.com

* E-mail: info@artbyus.com

* Telephone number: (719) 271-6422

* Principals: Cornelia TÖgel

* Date you opened for business: Charisma Design Co. was originally founded 1989 in Germany. Owners moved to Colorado in 1995.

* Current size of work force: Owner Cornelia TÖgel and husband Peter TÖgel. We have several paid/unpaid consultants/developers/artists working on ArtByUs.com. It is an international project with people from the United States, Australia, United Kingdom and Germany.

* Projected work force in five years: 20

* Long-term plan for company: To be the leading online auction platform that focuses on contemporary artwork from self-representing artists, artisans and serious art galleries.

* A few words about your company: ArtByUs.com was created in response to the dissatisfaction of many artists with the leading online auction houses. While other auction sites charge the artist community high listing and selling fees for being one in 15,000 listings, ArtByUs.com offers many of the features of other major auction sites for a lot less, with higher visibility.

* A little background on key personnel:

Cornelia (Conni) TÖgel, CEO:

Conni was born in 1965 in Winfield, Ill., as the daughter of German immigrants. At an early age, she moved to Germany. In 1993, she graduated from the Kolping College of Applied Graphics in Stuttgart, Germany. As a well-known graphic designer in Germany, she designed magazines, logos, signs, catalogs, ads, corporate identity packages, web sites and multi-media projects.

She is the owner of the Charisma Design Co., works and teaches art, design and calligraphy in the Pikes Peak region. She is listed in the MARQUIS Who’s Who of American Woman as well as on the American artists reference Web site AskART.com.

Peter TÖgel, COO:

Peter TÖgel was born 1965 in Stuttgart, Germany. Peter has more than 15 years of international business experience, having held several senior product management roles within technology companies in North America and Germany. Prior to joining the ArtByUs.com team, Peter led product management teams at Titze Datentechnik, TeamShare, ChannelPoint, iTrade and Quark.

* What makes your company unique? As an artist and business owner, Conni TÖgel understands the needs of the artists. While many attempts to build a competitor to the leading online auction site have failed, ArtByUs.com has a different approach. We believe that there is a need to provide an online auction marketplace for artists that is affordable and specialized. We do not accept mass produced art on ArtByUs.com.

* List types of assistance you’ve received with your starting: We receive assistance from artists and developers around the world. They help with advertising and the development of the site.

* Why did you locate in your chosen area: To provide a service like ArtByUs.com, you can be located virtually anywhere in the world. The servers are located around the world. Colorado is inspiring for artists and is also a great place to live.

* A few words about why your company will succeed: According to a survey by the Charisma Design Co., more than 71 percent of artists who are selling on the most popular online auction site, would list their art on an art auction website that provides lower fees and less mass produced art. ArtByUs.com does not plan to be the online marketplace for all things in all categories. There are the Wal-Marts, Targets and Kmarts, and there are the specialties stores for one specific profession. We are the online art marketplace for the artists, artisans and art galleries, as well as for art collectors.

* What advice would you give to others getting ready to start a business: Do your research, listen to the problems that people have. See if they are willing to pay you to solve the problems and if the pay is enough to create a business providing those solutions.

* Something you would like people to know about your company: Original art is more affordable than most people think. A lot of times, you can get an original, unique piece of artwork from a lesser-known artist for the same money. And if you’re buying art as an investment, original paintings are likely to appreciate in value faster and higher than limited edition prints or artist proofs.

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