Here we meet with Brooke Freeman, founder of art gallery retail concept The Hook, to talk about her recently opened gallery in London’s Seven Dials and the company’s future plans and aspirations for growth.
Can you tell us about your brand?
The Hook was established in 2021 as a revolutionary new art retail concept that takes contemporary retail techniques and applies them to what has traditionally been a stifling and intimidating industry.
We live in the moment when customers fall in love with a piece of art that they simply cannot live without. We know that many young consumers want to start their search for fine art, but the process is daunting and complicated. Traditional galleries can often seem intimidating, while online marketplaces can seem overwhelming.
The Hook is here to fill that void. We strive to deliver the enhanced, yet seamless, in-store and online experience customers expect from their favorite luxury brands. We like to think of it as a familiar retail experience with an unknown commodity: original art.
His new flagship gallery has been opened at London’s Seven Dials. Why did you choose the location?
At The Hook, we’re not afraid to do things differently than traditional art galleries. We chose Seven Dials because it’s a one-of-a-kind destination that celebrates locations with bold concepts and unique brands, like ours. It has always felt like the perfect place to showcase our brand to a curious and creative audience.
What was the thought process behind the design and equipment of the gallery?
In designing the space, we had a few goals: 1) create an engaging space for our community of art lovers, 2) allow the artwork to shine, and 3) showcase our brand’s fresh and energetic aesthetic.
To create a welcoming space, we ditched the clinical, cold white walls of a traditional gallery in favor of color and texture.
To draw attention to the artwork, the gallery exterior is white, with discreet branding. The eye is immediately drawn inside by the artwork on the walls.
To showcase The Hook brand, we featured our bold, unapologetic typography on our window messages – everyone who walks by should be drawn.
How is your new Neal Street gallery different from the others?
The Hook Seven Dials is the largest of our three locations and our only gallery to span two floors, meaning we can really showcase the breadth of The Hook collection. The space is right at home on Neal Street, where it sits among many of Seven Dials’ other unique and innovative brands and is a natural addition to the neighborhood’s creative atmosphere.
One of our values at The Hook is selection. Finding a work of art is a lot like falling in love: everyone is looking for something different. With 1,588 square feet of gallery space on Neal Street, The Hook Seven Dials truly is the perfect destination to begin a love affair with art.
What does the future look like for The Hook?
The Hook has ambitious growth aspirations. We aspire to meet our current and future customers wherever they live, work and play. That means we will expand across London, the UK and internationally. 30% of our sales are to international clients, so we see a lot of potential for The Hook to grow globally.
We are constantly working to make our eCommerce experience as fun and engaging as our store experience. Our community of art lovers will continue to see our online experience evolve alongside our physical presence.
What is the most exciting or unique store experience The Hook offers its customers?
The most exciting thing about visiting The Hook is the chance to interact with our enthusiastic team of art lovers. We have an exceptional group of talented consultants from the UK’s leading arts institutions, including Central Saint Martins and The Slade.
I encourage everyone who is interested in The Hook to sit down for coffee with one of our advisors. Each and every member of the team is dedicated to helping you discover works of art you can’t live without. They will even bring artwork into your home so you can experience it in your space.
Art is personal and I am proud that our store experience reflects this.
What role do you think The Hook plays in the wider community and what initiatives do you plan to support this?
The Hook operates at the intersection of retail and creativity. It also just so happens that we’re a proudly women-founded company.
We have a role to play in the broader startup community by partnering with other young, creative-minded companies, and these partnerships will also give our up-and-coming artists even greater exposure to new audiences. Stay tuned for an exciting partnership announcement with a female-founded wine brand.
What are some of the challenges and opportunities you see for the business in the coming years?
Consumers are inundated with options for decorating their walls. I see this as both a challenge and an opportunity for The Hook. For one thing, it means The Hook has a lot of competition. On the other hand, it’s a chance for The Hook to stand out from the crowd. I believe The Hook has the potential to offer the most enjoyable, seamless and inspiring art buying experience and I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring.
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