Interview with Jordan Roth, Arts Entrepreneur

Jordan Roth: Co-owner and founder of Ro2 Art, representing a diverse group of established, mid-career, and emerging contemporary North Texas, nationally and international known artists.

Did you or your partners have a business plan when you started your business?

We began operating the gallery, in winter 2009, with a rather loose business plan. At the time, I had begun an art consulting business after working as director for local art galleries. My mother, and business partner, was assisting me with some transactions and day-to-day advice, and we considered going into business together – as a firm that would advise clients, consult galleries, represent artists, and present quarterly exhibitions. As our discussion progressed, we found an opportunity to launch during the Second Annual Dallas Art Fair in 2010. The business plan grew organically, yet quickly, as we moved into action. We quickly decided upon a name and designed a logo, narrowing the focus of the business to include “representation, consultation, exhibition, and sales”. It’s fair to say that a business plan exists; however it is something that could be pieced together from fragments existing in various emails, contracts, and documents.

Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

Although Ro2 Art grew quickly and organically, I do believe that a business plan would have been very helpful from the beginning. Through experience over the last five years, we have developed, more-or-less, standard operating procedures and a general direction for where we’re going. Each year we fine-tune our mission as a “boilerplate” for press releases and publications, and we have created a second brand identity to grow into, once a few additional benchmarks are reached. However, there is no outline in existence. I do think that a business plan is necessary. At the very least, I think it’s important for a new business to have set of guidelines and basics written and understood between partners and employees. Beyond that, I admit that I wish I had taken the time to put together a formal business plan early in the development of the company, as we would have had the opportunity to fine-tune rather than work in a sort of trial and error fashion – which results in slower growth and unnecessary expenditures.

What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

Desire, knowledge, and experience are all necessary for an individual to achieve success in a new business venture. Without question, I have a passion and desire for the arts and a genuine desire to help artists build careers. I enjoy curating, critiquing, getting recognition for artists, getting to know clients and selling. Although I did not receive formal training in art history, I was raised in a household, where art played an important role. I continually supplement my knowledge through reading trade publications, visiting museums and other galleries, and being “on top” of the regional art scene. And lastly, experience in the field is absolutely necessary before embarking on an endeavor as an entrepreneur.

 Interview by Alex Mirabile, student in Developing an Arts Venture Plan, Arts Entrepreneurship, Meadows School of the Arts at SMU.

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