Edouard Gouin, Co-founder of Convelio, in Conversation with LTArt

22 June, 2021

Edouard Gouin, Co-Founder of Convelio

LTArt: What are your main recommendations when organising an art shipment?

The first thing is to know what you are shipping. It might sound obvious, but there are so many details needed when processing paperwork around import and export. For example, the type of wood or the year of production can impact the custom declaration. If you have all this information to hand it will really speed up the shipping process. 

Another suggestion would be to explore Convelio’s suite of logistics services. One of our major advantages is our multiple handling and speed options, as well as our dedicated logistics and customs team who can ensure that pricing is optimized and administrative processes are managed on time. 

To improve delays often associated with customs clearance, our team also uses a software that is directly linked to the customs database. This has been an efficient benefit for our clients, as we can now speed processes along and offer a seamless booking experience. Convelio continuously works to build and improve customizable options for services such as white-glove delivery, installation, and insurance. Our end-to-end management of shipments ensures that clients are regularly updated with tracking links throughout the shipping journey, ensuring full transparency on the artwork right up to the final destination.

LTArt: What are the advantages of employing a specialised fine art shipping service?

Art is inherently valuable, in both a financial and sentimental sense. To ensure a safe shipping journey, it’s important that expert handlers and technicians transport these items.

A specialised shipping service will evaluate each artwork and prepare for a safe and secure journey. The safety of the piece is the top priority - Convelio makes informed decisions about every stage of the process from the pick-up and packing through to the customized delivery or installation of the item.

We know our clients have invested time in sourcing or acquiring their works. I know firsthand the excitement that comes when waiting for a piece to arrive, and we see our shipping service as the final part of that experience. When choosing Convelio’s white-glove service our local teams are available to place, unpack and even install the works in their spaces.

LTArt: What is your usual process when organising a shipment?

As a tech-enabled logistics company, we encourage our clients to make use of our innovative tools to book directly online. There are multiple ways you can book with us, via phone and email, on our online quoting platform, through our inventory management tool or our integration services. Our API and Widget solutions are hosted directly on our partner platforms such as auction houses, online galleries or marketplaces! 

Once the order is booked, be it online or by reaching out directly to us, the client receives an email with the name and contact of the appointed Operations Manager - they are there to oversee the shipment, answer questions, and share information related to the order, including a live tracking link so you can stay up to date with the delivery details. 

Internally, we have automated, structured procedures for the organisation of a shipment and reduce potential human mistakes. However, I would like to specify that there is no usual process and every case is particular when it comes to fine art transportation. Each item is different and requires individual attention. For example, if it is a large sculpture we may need additional people or equipment to lift the work, if it is a photograph we will need to place it in acetate or acid free paper. The bottom line is that we use technology to automate manual and low-value added tasks to concentrate our attention on building the most appropriate value chain and hence, offer our clients a seamless shipping experience.

LTArt: Do you have any interesting case studies to share with us?

We recently transported a high-value Damien Hirst work from his “Pill Cabinets” series, this work was around 3 million Euros. It is very intricate and is made up of 5,500 small pills in a cabinet. To transport it, we took detailed reports ahead of time and organized to remove all of the pills one by one, placing them in numbered boxes and referring to the photographs to ensure that each pill would be positioned and reassembled correctly. Fine art shipping is a unique service offering that often requires case-by-case assessment of complex operations to safely deliver an item.

LTArt: Where is the industry going? 

Digitalization is one of the most significant trends in the art market today, over the past year we have seen a high increase in galleries investing in their digital strategy. Galleries and associations are making the transition to digital and we are happy to support them in this journey. 

Recently, Convelio became the official shipping partner of one of the leading associations of antiques dealers in the world - the French Syndicat National des Antiquaires. In the framework of this partnership, we have initiated a special program of webinars to equip their 250+ members with our suite of digital shipping tools, as well as providing insights on other companies from our Art+Tech Initiative that are aiming to digitalize the art market along with us.

We are confident that more and more art galleries and auction houses are renewing their websites with e-commerce functions. This is why we launched Convelio’s new integration services: the API and Widget – making quoting, booking and checking out a seamless experience for any marketplace, auction-house, or gallery. We have already integrated these tools with major industry leaders during the testing phase, including 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Baronian Xippas Gallery, Gallery Léage, and of course, London Trade Art! 

London Trade Art is proud to partner with Convelio to provide a state-of-the-art, international shipping service to all of our customers. You can also read our CEO, Francesca Casiraghi's, most recent interview on the Convelio blog to learn more about how we are enhancing our digital strategy.

Aurelia Clavien

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