Small Business Spotlight of the Week: Thumbtack Press

Most of us have probably taken a gander in an art museum or two. We are able to recognize da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and recite Vincent van Gogh’s ear-choppingly bizarre biography from grade school art classes.  However, art did not stop developing with Andy Warhol in the 1960’s and it can be a struggle to know where to find modern, working artists and artwork.

That’s where Thumbtack Press comes in. Operating as both a search engine and a market place, the website offers a meeting place for contemporary artists and illustrators and those interested in buying their work at affordable prices.  And with an artwork  “Randomizer” feature, even the most amateur of buyers have a place to get started on learning about what’s currently out there.

Barry Friedland recently acquired the five-year old company and took time to answer some questions I had:


1.  How did you get things designed before crowdSPRING?  (or, if this is your first project, what other options were you considering?)

This is my first project with crowdSPRING.  Thumbtack Press is a company I acquired late last year.  I loved the direction they were heading conceptually – affordable and high quality art from contemporary artists (mostly illustrators), but I knew that ultimately so much would have to change for me to be able to 1) relate to it and be passionate about it and 2) be successful at it.

So the decision to re-brand was an easy one.  However, the decision as to who to use, and how to even find that person, and hope that their vision matched yours, felt like such a long shot.


2.  Why in the world did you decide to use crowdSPRING?!

When I was introduced to crowdSRING by a colleague of mine at Groupon named Shawn Bercusun, who had worked successfully with crowdSPRING, I felt that it was really the only way I could move forward creatively.  Going this route enabled me to communicate a vision I had and see a complete range of creative interpretations on what Thumbtack Press should look like as a brand – it was a very eye-opening experience for me and I learned a lot about what I wanted Thumbtack to be in its next iteration.  And in the end, I found someone with a similar aesthetic to me and ended up with a really great direction for the site.


3.  What’s the single best small biz resource that you’ve found (magazine, website, blog, etc.)?

There’s nothing like the web.  Art is bountiful out there – websites and blogs alike, and I must have 1000 sites I read for my own inspiration.  So I just can’t say that there is one main resource out there that I use.


4.  If your best friend told you they were going to start a business, what’s the ONE piece of advice you’d give them?

Funny question to think about after 25 years of start ups.  My best advise would be for them to make sure that they really cared about what they were about to embark on.  Lack of passion in what you do equals a slow death, both personally and professionally.   So yeah, I’d tell them them to really be in love with what they’re going to do.



5. What’s the most rewarding part about what you do?

Exactly what I just said – passion. I’m doing this because I love art, and I love making it available to anyone that follows these genres of art and affordable to them if they want it badly enough to acquire it.  It’s a very personal experience to buy art and I enjoy knowing that I’ve had a hand in helping people discover great artists and find new artwork for their homes, offices, dorm rooms, etc.

But I am also intent on helping artists gain whatever extra exposure I can help them get.  It’s not easy to do for anyone, let alone an artist who’s main responsibility is to create great art.

So I guess you could look at it as the ideal balance between creativity and business.   Art + Commerce as they say.


Thumbtack Press’ call for an updated, uncoded website received 121 entries and their redesign will be launching in six weeks.