What is investing and what is shopping? “I love this object. It brings me joy. Here is my money ”. Does it only become investing when you can add the statement “and I will be able to sell this one day for many more pounds than I bought it”. Is investment only the preserve of the wealthy?
Investment was a familiar term for me in the art world. It was often used when discussing works and prices with collectors. Their reasons for buying were many: some bought because the artist was affordable now but on the path to fame and wouldn't always be, some because returns in the art world can outstrip low interest rates and a sluggish stock market, some because the work would raise the value of the collection it joined. These reasons were mooted collectively or individually in the purchase journey. In my experience, however, the recurring reason was emotion. Collectors coughed up because they loved whatever art work they were buying.
Working day and night on acquisition, marketing and branding with Motley has made me see that there is no more powerful value statement than where a consumer chooses to spend money. Every brand, cafe, restaurant, landlord, charity is clamouring for your money. But the choice is still yours.
I believe in the arts and in supporting those who take this inspiring but unenviable road. As fees go up and grants go down, it is tougher and tougher for creatives to survive. Everytime I sit down with a designer I am staggered by how difficult it is to do what they do. Art, Jewellery and Design are as much engineering and development as creative impulse. First the idea. Then making it happen.
France-Lise McGurn: 'Faking Muscle’, Oil, Acrylic and gesso on canvas, 66 x 56
Shopping is transitory. It is about need. For me, investing is about putting money behind a belief. (Not different from a stock broker so far who believes that the market will go up or down). I have always spent any spare cash I have had on pictures or jewellery by contemporary artists. My excuse was lofty “this piece might one day be worth thousands”. But really, I know that is unlikely. I bought them because I believe in their inherent value; because I am supporting an artist and because the object will last for ever, I can give it to my children. But most of all, I cough up because I am in love and these pieces brings me daily joy.
So, like Art and Design, investing isn’t only for millionaires.