Elisa: Hello, Enrica! I know this is a busy time for you, as Pirati e Sirene has just turned one; congratulations! So what have you been doing with the startup exactly?
Enrica: www.piratiesirene.it is a cultural association dedicated to promoting the life, the style and the culture of the Etruscan coast, which is in Tuscany. We have been promoting it both on- and offline, with the online element having the main aim of strengthening the fidelity of our supporters, whilst helping the brand and its reputation to expand. The offline side of things consolidates the online, by weaving relationships with people and working actively in the area the website glorifies.
El: For me it seems this is a very community-based project that uses the Internet as a means of expanding this community, then?
En: Absolutely; it reaches out to the people who live along the coast as well as anyone who would like to visit the area. The main reason for establishing Pirati e Sirene was to fill a glaring gap in social exchange by forming a network made up of creatives and cultural events along the coast, and which, most importantly, would be a network accessible to everyone that could be consulted (and therefore updated) on a daily basis.
El: Would you say that you have filled this gap, and made a lot of noise in doing so?
En: Let’s put it this way: the strategy of using the web has led to us currently having a pool of users which comes to 30,000 individual views per month. After only a year of Pirati e Sirene’s existence, for such a ‘local’ project (for want of a better word), these numbers are very satisfying.
El: It must be a crazy experience to be reaching out to so many people! What is the main way you do this?
En: Well the Internet is obviously our main channel of communication, as it is the best way to get ourselves known and spread the word. This means that graphics, videos and photos all play an important role on our website and in promotional materials, both for advertising to potential followers and sponsors, as well as for maintaining a strong character that has brought our current users to continue following us.
El: And how do you generate money to continue offering this intense user experience?
En: This comes from a range of online activities that our site carries out, meaning the platform is self-maintaining in this way; so, for example, through articles and editorials that we publish on our portal and communications and market design workshops that we offer there. These could be given in person, but are further-reaching when offered online. We are, of course, very active offline, as well, organizing events and representing Pirati e Sirene at the events of others, too.
El: Do you think this blend of both on- and offline work is a trend in art-related startups right now?
En: Yes and no. The art-scene is becoming an ever-more ‘cross-contaminated’ environment, both in personal inclination and as a vocation. I would say that the best thing that is happening to the art scene now is indeed the fact that it is finding its way absolutely everywhere, thanks first and foremost to the web.
El: The Internet is even taking the art-world by storm; it’s true! Finally, on that very note, what advice would you give to people who want to start up their own digital business within the arts field?
En: Be professional to the max, have a great idea and surround yourself with trustworthy, reliable collaborators. It must be something you believe in wholeheartedly, and so you will be able to defend it against everyone who tries to find fault. Remember that a global approach is the formula that our times ask of us right now.
Here is a video made on the occasion of their first anniversary:
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Inspired? We look forward to seeing you at the Startup Weekend Art London in October!