Sotheby’s has announced the acquisition of Viyet, the online marketplace for interior design specializing in vintage and antique furniture, decorative objects and accessories. Viyet’s business model complements Sotheby’s existing suite of auction and private sale services at the high end of this market, providing clients with simple, fixed price opportunities whenever they wish to buy and sell.
This acquisition advances a number of strategic priorities for Sotheby’s including growing sales at a more accessible price point, welcoming more clients to the company, and providing best-in-class service. Launched in 2013, Viyet serves both private individuals and the trade in the United States through its New York headquarters and a growing network of “curators” in 13 markets around the country.
The Viyet team, led by CEO Elizabeth Brown, will join Sotheby’s, while maintaining their brand and business operation. They will report to John Auerbach, General Manager of Sotheby’s North American Art & Objects Division.
“Sotheby’s has centuries of experience and tremendous expertise, and Viyet is a digitally-native brand that knows how to leverage technology to serve today’s consumers,” said Tad Smith, Sotheby’s CEO, adding, “and together we share a passion for client service at the highest level.”
John Auerbach, General Manager of Sotheby’s Art & Objects Division in New York, commented, “Our collectors buy across category and price point, and Viyet reflects how they shape and refine their everyday environments. Across all of Sotheby’s businesses, our goal is to maximize value by matching property with the best possible audience of buyers. Alongside Sotheby’s successful auction and private sale platforms, Viyet provides yet another venue for the sale of furniture and decorative objects.”
The Viyet model offers both buyers and sellers the opportunity to transact immediately, rather than wait for an upcoming auction, and also provides Sotheby’s a low-touch model to handle more moderately-priced items.
Viyet does not take possession of property consigned for sale. Potential consignments are evaluated on site, photographed and catalogued for listing on Viyet.com. A “listed” price and “reserve” price are approved by the consignor and buyers can “Make an Offer” that can be accepted, countered or declined by Viyet on the consignor’s behalf. Once sold, Viyet arranges pickup and delivery.
Viyet offers a range of furniture and decorative objects, with antique and vintage material being the most popular. The site generally offers items priced at $5,000 and below, and some have sold for as much as $100,000.
Sotheby’s vast sourcing network will provide an influx of antique and vintage material within that value range, focusing Viyet’s offering more deliberately on those popular categories while simultaneously raising their average selling price.
"Sotheby’s is the perfect partner to help take Viyet to the next level. We are thrilled to introduce Sotheby's exceptional product assortment to our audience of savvy design buyers, as well as to align ourselves with the trust and design authority of the Sotheby's brand,” said Viyet's CEO Elizabeth Brown.
Viyet complements Sotheby’s existing suite of services across a number of platforms, categories and price points. Increasingly, clients are choosing to engage with Sotheby’s online – in 2017, online buyers spent more than $180 million, and 53% of all online bidders were new to the Company. In addition to facilitating online bidding in live auctions, Sotheby’s successfully staged 36 online-only auctions across a variety of categories in 2017. Sotheby’s Wine also offers clients the opportunity to purchase a range of wines at all price points from the best producers in the world’s top winemaking regions.