D Emptyspace helps artists and photographers showcase their work in immersive virtual galleries, so you’re probably expecting that our initial inspiration came from artists.
That’s only partially true.
When our founder, Ryan, studied in London from 2010 to 2012, he lived in a neighborhood full of artists who shared their stories, their struggles and their work with him. While that planted the seed in him to do something related to art, the specific idea for D Emptyspace came from another one of Ryan’s passions: Basketball.
Art Inspired by Hoop Dreams
Here’s the story that Ryan told me:
Do you know the story of why NBA star Steph Curry is contracted to Under Armour? He started with another big sportswear company, like about three-quarters of NBA players who get endorsements, but during a pitch meeting to renew his contract, the company representative mispronounced his name multiple times and left another player’s name in the PowerPoint presentation he was showing to Steph and his father.
Steph signed with Under Armour instead and now the Steph Curry signature shoes outsell everything but Air Jordans. According to an investor note from Morgan Stanley in 2016, “UA’s US basketball shoe sales have increased over 350% YTD… Its Stephen Curry signature shoe business is already bigger than those of LeBron, Kobe, and every other player except Michael Jordan.”
Back to the Start of it All
Speaking of Michael Jordan… His story of finding sponsorship is just as interesting. Here’s the opening of an article from Edgar Daily about how Michael Jordan forged a decades-long (highly lucrative) partnership with Nike:
Five thousand dollars. That was the fine that the NBA slapped on a 21-year-old Michael Jordan every time he stepped foot on the basketball court in 1985. Given the choice, most people would deem being fined $5,000 every time they went to work a rather unwise investment — but most people aren’t Michael Jordan.
But what did the undeniably talented rookie from North Carolina University, who had only recently made the transition to professional sports after being drafted by the Chicago Bulls, do to incite the league’s wrath? What crime could he have committed that would cause him to be fined $410,000 for the season? The answer: his shoes.
Daily goes on to explain exactly how big a bet this was. Until Nike’s $7 million five-year contract with Michael Jordan, the biggest sponsorship deal had been a $150,000 per year deal between James Worthy and New Balance. But by betting on an untested rookie and using an attention grabbing marketing strategy created an unstoppable hype machine.
And exactly how did this inspire D Emptyspace?
First off, we’re committed to growing along with emerging artists, putting our faith in them and support behind them before anyone else will.
Eventually we’re also planning to become an art marketplace. If we’re able to discover even just a few amazing artists and put them in front of fans and buyers, our bet can pay off, just like Under Armour’s bet with Curry and Nike’s bet on Jordan.
In the process we can also do a lot of good for a lot of artists. It’s in keeping with the belief that underpins what we do and inspired our company’s name: Discover the Gift.
So, now you know how basketball can inspire an app for artists and photographers.
Download the app on iOS: https://apple.co/2MhsxCs
Android version coming soon!
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