The story of a young Daida service (subscription art)

    Hello! We are starting to publish reports with QIWI Kitchens, and Absamat's first report will be about his subscription art service. A word to the speaker.

    My name is Absamat, I’m a partner of Useful service design agency, and I’m also doing DaiDa service, which allows people to rent art objects, namely paintings by different artists. In this post, I will share with you our experience: from the idea to the beginning of the product creation, about our schools and generally about how it was.

    There is such a thing as PMF, product / market fit. There are many definitions for this, if in short - it is the conformity of your product to the expectations of the market and audience. How much it is needed at all and whether it will be in demand. It’s easy to understand if you’ve reached PMF or not - if you see a multiple and constant growth of users and understand how it happens - you have PMF, then it’s hard to make a mistake.

    We have not found a startup PMF, we are still in the process. As for the idea, then we had it all.

    A year ago, as part of our agency, we conducted a large study of the contemporary art market and identified a number of trends. First, we noted the democratization of this market as a whole. Secondly, they discovered a niche of accessible art and realized that we need to dig this topic further. According to all the canons of service design, we talked to all market players - gallery owners, consumers, artists. The result was three main questions, to which we tried to find answers at the prototyping stage.

    First question: how to transform the classical gallery into the style of contemporary art, that is, create in this market some kind of alternative to Zara.

    Question two: how to solve the problem of free and already occupied walls. People usually have a rather limited number of walls in apartments, in principle, and there is less free space on these walls where you can hang something to make it beautiful. Shelves, calendars, photographs, televisions and LCD panels can already hang on people’s walls. Or in general other pictures that are here once and for all. That is, people didn’t need new paintings, because they either have nowhere to hang them, or they don’t know how to choose the work for the existing empty wall.

    And the third question: how to strengthen the position and add some interactivity to the audience, because this market needs a push. And quite active.


    We found a solution in the format of the provision of works of art by renewable subscription. Yes, this is not something completely new that no one has done before, we have synthesized the best practices from existing industries. This is a market place, this is a sharing economy company (Uber, Airbnb), this is a Netflix business model, when you simply pay once a month for using content.

    It works today like this. A user visits the site, selects an object of art that he likes, and we bring and hang it. For a month this picture hangs in his house, and after that you can either renew the subscription for the same amount and leave the artwork for another month, or go to the site and choose something else as part of the subscription. Then within 3 days the previous picture will be taken away, and a new one will be delivered instead.


    To choose an idea with which you will begin to create a product and enter the market, it will be useful to start with this.

    • Explore innovative business models. It sounds obvious, but it is important.
    • Explore users. These are generally must have, these are the same people who will ensure the viability of your service. Or they won’t.
    • Immerse yourself in the industry. Usually successful startups are such because their co-founders worked in those industries that are somehow related to the topic of startups. That is, they have the necessary background and they are well immersed in the market.

    The importance of research should also not be neglected, this is the case when it is better to spend an extra month, but to conduct a series of studies than to save this month in the pursuit of first sales.

    After we came up with it all, a year passed. I haven’t done anything with this idea for a year. And as practice shows, time is a good filter of ideas. If you have any idea, you continue to live as before, then after some time you return to this idea and understand that it is still relevant, and the idea is cool - it means that it is definitely worth it to spend on it time and resources.

    How to decide

    Here I can give my own example. The first thing I did was find like-minded people. It also seems obvious, but without the right people who share your ideas and just want to bring it to life, everything will be much more complicated. If at all, it works.

    In our team, Maxim is responsible for the content, this is a person who has his own Sense art association. At the same time, he also has useful experience in product design - in our parallel project, he is also the owner of the product. There is an IT specialist, Vadim, whom we met on the service design jam. De facto, all of our teams live in a design format, so all participants are close to the idea in its current form.

    We started collecting MVP (where without it), and decided to do it right. In general, when you are at the very beginning of the journey, you want to do everything as correctly as possible, so that later you spend time only on improvements and improvements, and not on correcting what you did wrong. We formulated the main hypotheses and went to test them.

    The first hypothesis was that the Hedonist (one of the portraits of our target audience) would be ready to pay 3,000 rubles per month for using the service. Metrics were also considered from this - for example, we will have 7 purchases in the first 3 weeks. So, then you can customize users, identify different contexts and more. At the same time, we used the simplest ones, landing pages and facebook, just to evaluate whether anyone really needs it or not.

    By the way, we had a pretty correct backlog, our product designer ran UX / UI tests, and I was responsible for testing the product itself. Such is the CJM and blueprint service we have formed. This is one of the steps that I advise everyone to do - so you can synchronize the team well. You will immediately notice the strengths and weaknesses, you will understand in what places you can sag, what things you have poorly thought out, and so on. And blueprint will help you adjust the internal processes of the company to the user's path.

    Product launch

    After all this, we decided to start. The golden rule of the product owner says: “If you launched your product and you are not ashamed of it, then you started late.” Therefore, we tried to start early. To be ashamed, but not very much.

    We got a lot of positive feedback, and he did exactly what he usually does - he turned our heads. We were praised by everyone who found out about the service, even already held entrepreneurs. a wave of reposts began, they started writing about us, and these were not paid publications, but letters to us like "Guys, you are cool, can we write about you?"

    This went on for three weeks, and then we looked at the outcome of all this.

    It worked very sobering and brought us back to earth. Of course, when everyone says the service is cool, that's good. But if nobody buys anything at the same time, something needs to be done.


    In my opinion, the first mistake was that we set the goal of metrics instead of feedback. That is, if 7 people buy a subscription, then the hypothesis put forward by us will be true, and we went from this. And you had to understand how to act at this point in time in order to finalize the hypothesis itself. This is how the service should work.

    The second jamb is associated with the site. Here we took for reference the site of direct competitors in the art market. Moreover, the sites are not the most advanced. We decided to fix this by taking the most innovative sites on the topic for references. This helped us actually increase the conversion.

    We tried to understand why, with all this, the number of sales fit into a round figure (0). We had a little data, and we tried to test everything that is possible. And advertising on facebook, and requesting feedback from friends, even if they are not at all CA, they will still be useful feedback. The main thing is the maximum feedback, it does not happen much. More feedback - more new hypotheses to test - better service.

    A separate milestone was the collection of information using bloggers. When we began to advertise with them, they offered to do something else for us. Therefore, we asked them to place questionnaires, they say, users, why did you go to the site, but did not buy anything? And in almost the entire feedback, regardless of the sources, I saw the main problem - a little content.

    Therefore, keep in mind that if you are dealing with any content within your project, then the content is the first thing you should pay attention to.

    Second iteration

    By focusing on the content, we took a step back. We remembered what makes a platform a platform - this is when you simply connect the CA to each other. That is, artists simply upload their works to the site, and users choose what they want to buy. We do not participate in the production of this content at all. And the principle of the platform allowed us to sell what unit of value we have (a work of art).

    After that, we were able to tune a few things with lean canvas, especially what was unfinished within the channels. Now we have formed several more hypotheses, we allow the consumer to vote for the work they like on the site, we check all this within the framework of the casteva. On the platform, work is now completely in the hands of the user. We made it so that people themselves choose what they are interested in, what they like, and this now forms their tape of impressions. But at the same time, we do not enter into this process at all and do not oversee it.

    Supervision itself as an entity is now used precisely in the quality of the input moderation of works - the curator looks at the incoming stream of applications and allows (or does not allow) this or that work to the site. And if he doubts, then we run the test - put the work on Instagram and give users the vote whether this work is needed on the site or not. Gets 50 likes - gets on the platform.

    In the current prototype, we are testing a couple more topics. When enough work is collected for their analysis, with the help of Google technologies, we can recommend to users and other works that they may like and are most suitable for their choice.

    Not only online

    A service of this kind is also offline-interaction with the user. For us, this experience is no less significant than interface design and more. This is how we deliver work to our customers.

    Why am I all this. It is important to understand where your product begins and where it ends. Designers today very often go in cycles only on digital, ignoring the experience of the user in the physical space. In my opinion, this is a so-so approach. Therefore, I would like to encourage designers to push the boundaries by designing platform business models and digital experience. You will see how your perception of the product changes.

    And you will see satisfied users.

    What now:

    • We developed a tariff grid where the subscription month costs 990 rubles, 3 months - 2490 and 6 months - 4900 rubles.
    • As part of custdeva, they realized that our service is very relevant to those who have recently moved to a new place or made repairs.
    • Started working with office spaces.
    • We added content and made filters in the catalog to simplify the discovery process for users.


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