Christopher Barnekow

Founder of Barneby's

Christopher Barnekow is one of those people who have genius ideas in the most common situations, and more importantly, who are actually able to make something out of their ideas. This man is a serial entrepreneur, and in 2010 he created Barnebys with Pontus Silfverstolpe, with the intention of revolutionizing the auction houses' universe. Successful bet by the two swedish men, since Barnebys now counts each day more than 330 000 articles on sale in 550 auction houses throughout the world. We asked a few questions to Christopher Barnekow in order to learn more about the "Kayak" of auctions.

{Artsper} : Can tell us a little bit about you ?
{Christopher} : I have always been an entrepreneur. It’s something you can’t get rid of once you start ! I created my first company, Rodeo Magazine, in 2004, and it became the most exclusive fashion magazine in Sweden. I started my second company five years later, Got2get, an e-commerce website for vintage, classic design. So my background is essentially in advertising, online marketing and entrepreneurship, which was quite suited for when I found Barnebys in 2010.

{Artsper} : How did you get the idea for Barnebys, and can you describe the website in a few words ?
{Christopher} : The idea of Barnebys came as an obvious solution to a problem I was confronted with. I was looking to redecorate my kitchen and was looking for a specific kind of paintings from the XVIIIth century. I knew that auction houses held sales from time to time and that you could find them this way. So I spent a few hours browsing the websites of some auction houses, without being able to find what I wanted. That’s when I realised that it would be much easier to have one and only one website which would register all those sales.

{Artsper} : How did you meet Pontus Silfverstolpe, the co-founder of Barnebys ?
{Christopher} : I was first introduced to Pontus through my brother. I needed someone who was familiar with the auction world and understood the business. When I first submitted the idea to him, he was immediately enthusiastic, so that’s how we launched Barnebys together !

{Artsper} : What do you think differentiates Barnebys from the other websites aggregating auction houses ?
{Christopher} : There is no other website that offers exactly the same service as Barnebys. Our website is entirely based on a user-perspective. We are a meta-search engine for auction sales, like what Kayak does for travelling. There is absolutely no transaction occurring on our website, because we refer our users directly to the auction houses’ websites.

{Artsper} : What’s the next step for Barnebys ?
{Christopher} : We have about 1 million visitors each month on our website now, and this now grows at a 10% monthly rate, so this is all happening very quickly ! For us, the next big step is based on our marketing strategy which will spread on a much bigger scale than what we used to do.

{Artsper} : Do you collect art, antiques, furniture, anything that sells at auction ?
{Christopher} : Yes, now that there is Barnebys I find it really easy to buy furniture, scandinavian design and sometimes art at auction, so I do it all the time now !

{Artsper} : What do you think about a website like Artsper ?
{Christopher} : I think that what Artsper is trying to achieve for contemporary art and galleries is very similar to what we do for auction houses. The fact that you can find around 8 000 artworks from many galleries on one website makes it really easy to access, and it allows people like me, as I don’t live in France, to buy artworks from French galleries !

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