Interview with ArtNight Founder and CEO Aimie-Sarah Carstensen
In an increasingly digitalised world where people flock to new technology, ArtNight stands out. This start-up lives and breathes shared offline, creative experiences. Fresh from winning €3 million in TV advertising at SevenVentures Pitch Day 2019 and numerous recent awards in the trade press, ArtNight is busy generating new reach, diversifying its formats and building a loyal fanbase. We talk to Founder and CEO Aimie-Sarah Carstensen about the ArtNight journey.
Your ArtNight events have really hit the zeitgeist. Why do you think this is?
In today’s world we are very often “on” but also lonely. Both this constant accessibility and anonymity in big cities means that people are now searching more for relaxation in their free time and shared experiences. The desire to do something actively with friends, family or even alone is increasing, as is the desire to make your own things. We have seen this with the DIY trend. We want to bring people together again in a real and interactive way through shared experiences. Our creative, entertaining and instructive entertainment formats should bring joy and fun to our increasingly stressful everyday lives. Whether it's painting, shaking cocktails, planting workshops or experiencing and learning the art of baking - these special experiences should enrich our everyday lives, make us happy offline and create unforgettable memories.
How important is it for you to build a loyal ArtNight fan base? How do you ensure that people keep coming back for more?
It is very important for us to have a strong community. It makes us incredibly proud to see that our concept gives people so much pleasure and fun. Sharing with our community, listening to their experiences and sharing the joy of creative experiences is our top priority. We pay a lot of attention to our target group and their needs and are always looking to further optimise the experience itself. Feedback from our community is very important to us and always flows into our optimisation processes. People come back often and with pleasure, because we offer a great variety of picture ideas, painting techniques and exclusive cooperations. Many participants visit us repeatedly because they want to develop their creative skills. For example, we offer the ArtNights Pro which are longer and feature a more challenging picture. Some even rediscover their passion for painting through ArtNight.
How will you continue to build the ArtNight brand over the coming years?
We're exploding with new ideas! We are constantly developing new art motifs and planning special cooperations with different brands. We also want to offer and establish our events in new cities. But we also know that it is important to focus on and to further develop and optimise our diversified entertainment formats - ShakeNight, BakeNight and PlantNight - in addition to ArtNight.
Did you have a plan from the beginning to further develop your original idea and create other brands like PlantNight, BakeNight and ShakeNight?
After ArtNight was quickly well received by people and we saw that the demand for creative, entertaining and shared experiences was growing, the idea to develop further entertainment concepts and to bring people together interactively in areas other than art came to us relatively quickly!
You have recently received many awards in the trade press including Capital magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” in the Entrepreneurs category. Congratulations! What experiences have you had as a young founder so far? Is there anything you would do differently?
Thank you so much! Every beginning is difficult and therefore my experience in the entrepreneurial scene has been both positive and negative. In the beginning it takes courage to break new ground, to develop into a manager or to be an entrepreneur.
When setting up a company, you are always faced with challenges and hurdles that you think you won’t overcome. But it is crucial that you believe in yourself and your concept and you do not give up when it becomes difficult or even seems insurmountable. Because my experience has shown me that through self-confidence and passion as well as a dose of optimism you can also inspire other people and win them over. I have learned to take risks and to be courageous, to make decisions. It's a part of experiencing setbacks and making mistakes. But this is exactly how you grow and learn for the future. I am a risk-happy person, but also a big fan of planned risk. When I want to make a decision and go through with it, I think to myself: What is the worst thing that can happen and what is the plan if it does? What risks can I not plan for? And then it's important just to go ahead and do it. I am convinced that you should communicate your ideas and get feedback as soon as possible. But with all these great ideas, it's crucial not to lose focus and to do a few things well!
If I think back in time, I actually wouldn't do anything differently. Every mistake or setback has helped me personally as well as entrepreneurially. I always see mistakes as an opportunity and process for further development and a way to become better.
ArtNight was the proud winner of the SevenVentures Pitch Day 2019 and took home €3 million in TV advertising budget. Why does TV advertising suit your product? To what extent did our Pitch Day give ArtNight a boost?
TV advertising goes very well with our product because it enables us to fully convey our concept and the associated values and emotions to our target group. With this medium we can optimally present the atmosphere of an ArtNight and provide people with an insight into our creative and entertaining experiences.
On one level the Pitch Day showed us that others believe in our concept and see great potential for the future, but also it means that we have further financial means at our disposal to bring our product to the people and benefit from the power of TV.
ArtNight's TV spot has been on air since 1st December 2019 and is running on all ProSiebenSat.1 channels.