Everette Taylor is a serial entrepreneur, founding his first company at the age of 19. He’s since launched marketing firm Millisense and the GrowthHackers community while taking on the CMO role at Sticker Mule and Skurt.
Today, the 31-year old is the CMO of Artsty, the world’s largest online art marketplace with 1m+ artworks by 1k+ artists.
The Hustle’s recently spoke with Taylor about his entrepreneurial journey and views on the art world.
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You’ve held a lot of CMO roles. Why marketing and how has that played a role in your entrepreneurial ventures?
This is something that I haven’t really talked about a lot. But as an entrepreneur — especially a young entrepreneur — you don’t have a lot of people to lean on, to learn from as a young CEO.
So I’ve used marketing roles as a way to gain experience that I can take back to my own companies.
I’ve never had a company as big as Artsy, right? So one day I can take the experience that I gained at Artsy by scaling it up to a multi-billion dollar company to build my own multi-billion dollar company.
I understand Artsy took a risk by going with somebody as young as me. I’m the youngest executive on the team and the only black executive on the team.
They could have gotten a 45-year old VP from Facebook or 50-year old CMO from another company. But they went with me at 30-years old and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity because this is an opportunity for me to learn and grow.
How do you see Artsy changing the landscape for artists and art work?
A lot of people don’t realize that only 2% of millionaires buy art. It’s because [art is] such an opaque industry and it’s a place where it’s hard to break into it.
I’m very passionate about being able to open up these spaces to more people. There’s no reason why more people shouldn’t be able to break into this market and be able to buy art and democratize the space.
And Artsy is a platform that’s really going to open up the world to art, open up the world to the idea of being able to buy art.
I encourage everyone [reading] this to know that art pieces don’t necessarily cost a million dollars or a hundred thousand dollars. There are art pieces on Artsy right now for $200, $300, $500.
Start there. Make an investment and put your cash into something that is going to actually hold and grow for you.
You’ve said that the magic in marketing is emotional intelligence, can you elaborate on that?
People forget that you’re still dealing with people at the core, right? Old school advertising and marketing was very much about thinking about the consumer, but it had no data or any metrics behind it. They were kind of just throwing stuff at the wall.
Now you have this new style of marketing. It’s super data-driven, super analytical and all about the numbers. But they seem to have forgotten that you’re dealing with humans. I think it’s very important to find a sweet spot in the middle.
For me, I always put myself in the shoes of the consumer. If you can’t do that, you probably shouldn’t be in marketing or entrepreneurship. You have to be able to have that level of empathy and not just build things and do things that you think are cool or that you think are important, but what your customers think are cool and think are important.
Your first company was acquired at 21, what were the main things you learned?
Taxes, taxes, tax, taxes. I tell people, the first thing you should get is a dope accountant. Get a great lawyer and a dope accountant because taxes will hit you.
And you think you’re about to get this number and you’re about to get something else. You get that check and you start spending…put that money away, man.
Understand that money comes and goes. I don’t care how much money you sell your company for, if you’re not smart with your money, it’s gone.
I also learned that you should know your worth too. Even though I sold my company for what I thought was a lot of money at the time, that person ended up flipping that company for a lot more money, a year or two later. That really taught me that you really gotta do your research.
Don’t take the first offer either. The first offer that’s on the table is probably a low ball. It’s really, really important as an entrepreneur, as an employee, as an individual, as a human being, to always know your worth.
Who’s the most interesting person you know?
An artist named Henry Taylor. He actually did a self portrait of me and that’s probably my most prized possession.
Henry Taylor is a painter from California. He does figurative painting and, when I tell you this guy went from living out of a car, being homeless to now, one of the most prominent artists in the world, it’s crazy to see that.
On top of that, he’s such a good kind human being but also eccentric. When you meet him, you’ll never forget that for the rest of your life. He’s genuinely the most interesting person I’ve ever met.
What’s the best piece of advice someone ever gave you?
Not directly but when Tupac said, “All good things, come to those who stay true.” I genuinely believe that. I was a bit of a loner growing up.
I didn’t really have mentors or people to give me advice. So, I just listened to music and interviews to get advice. And when I heard Pac say that, it really resonated and stuck with me.
What’s the best purchase that you’ve made under a hundred dollars this past year?
I became a plant daddy. You can buy some really great plants for under a $100. It has given me a sense of purpose to be able to take care of and nurture something during this pandemic.
Do you have a request for a startup?
Everything that I want is what we’re doing at Artsy right now. 2021 is going to be such a huge year for us. And I feel like all of the ideas and the creative beings that I’ve brought to the table at Artsy are actually going to come to fruition within the product next year.