Arteeni.com launched in September as a marketplace for artisan goods with a charitable twist.
Every item on the site is handcrafted in North America. One-of-a-kind pieces make up much of the online gallery. Arteeni.com offers high-end products including fine art, home goods, jewelry and small-batch foods.
As for the twist: A customer who makes a purchase on Arteeni.com is prompted to register on the site and choose one of seven charities available. A portion of the sale is donated to the charity chosen by the customer.
Arteeni’s co-founder and chief creative director, Arwen Fine, who is a designer herself, came up with the idea for the business several years ago.
“I had always wanted to give back to charity because I find that artists always agreed to donate products to charity whenever I asked,” Fine said. “So I thought it would be a good way to sort of mash the two things together: designers/artists and charity. Then I came across my partner, Jason Weisbrot, and he has the technical ability that I do not. He liked the idea, and we started working on it.”
Fine and Weisbrot met at a foodie meet-up group on Buford Highway.
“Entrepreneurship has always been an interest to me,” Weisbrot said. “I had been in the corporate world for about 10 years, and I was kind of over that. I was looking for a change, and it was serendipity that we met.”
About two years ago, they started working on the business. Six months into it, Fine’s husband, Marc, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 59. They then reached out to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s and to ensuring the development of improved therapies.
The Fox Foundation welcomed Arteeni.com, and Fine and Weisbrot made the foundation their spotlight charity. The site’s charities also include Homes for Our Troops, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Animal Welfare Institute.
Fine said her husband’s diagnosis further inspired her business and drove her to devote more time to it.
“I’ve always been very fortunate. I’ve always been a designer, and my husband has always supported me for 26 years,” she said. “Once he was diagnosed, I realized that I really had to make this a reality because I don’t know how much longer he’s going to be able to work. He had just applied for disability. So that’s when it really hit me that it had to be a real business.”
Arteeni.com sells pieces from 113 artists. Fine markets to artists via email and through networking. Other artists sign up through the website.
The artists submit their products to the company for approval.
“I make sure that they are photographed well and titled well,” Fine said. “Then I approve them, and then we can put them live on the site.”
Once a customer makes a purchase on the site, the founders and the artist are notified by email. The customer pays for the item on the website and chooses a charity, and the artist ships the item directly to the customer.
The artists keep 70 percent of the sales. The charities’ shares come from Arteeni’s 30 percent. The amount donated varies, depending on what promotions are running that month.
Charity and community service have always been a part of Fine and Weisbrot’s lives.
Weisbrot was the adviser for the Dunwoody BBYO’s boys chapter and volunteers in other ways as well. Fine has given back since she was a child helping disabled and underprivileged children with her parents.
“We had always participated in philanthropy as a family,” Fine said. “I’ve grown up giving back.”