When Nahema Mehta bought her first piece of art, she was struck by how cumbersome the process was.
“The art world can be intimidating and esoteric—I didn’t understand why a curated one-stop shop for discovering and purchasing art online didn’t exist, so I figured it was time to build it,” she says.
That’s exactly what Mehta did in 2011 when she built Art Remba, an art e-tailer and invest-to-own platform working to disrupt the $65 billion global art market.
“You have to be daring,” says Mehta, who was just 25 when she launched Art Remba. “You’ll find power in vulnerability.”
Mehta is one of those people who could have taken a variety of paths to success. A graduate of Columbia and Columbia Business School, she worked in politics for a Supreme Court justice and in private equity on Wall Street before founding Art Remba. While speaking at a conference about the future of luxury and technology, Absolut Vodka approached Mehta with an offer to exit Art Remba and become the CEO and co-founder of its first brand extension, Absolut Art. The offer took Mehta by surprise: Why me, why now, why art?
Absolut’s CEO flew to New York to explain. After three decades of working with artists on sponsorships and advertising (more than 600 artist collaborators, from Andy Warhol to Damien Hirst) Absolut was ready to take a giant leap forward and create its spin-off branded company, Absolut Art—a direct-to-consumer art retailer with a mission to democratize access to art.
“It felt like stars I didn’t even know existed were aligning,” reflects Mehta. “It was a chance to innovate at scale with my new co-founder Marcus and the team we would build.”