The new challenge of Eric dos Santos, former IT boss turned select gallery owner – Le Journal des Entreprises – Maine-et-Loire

In Parcé-sur-Sarthe, Eric dos Santos opened The Artistic Red Dot, in the farmhouse he renovated. This is not a classic art gallery. Its creator intends to drive it into start-up mode, as he did during his successful IT career. Eric dos Santos has set himself the goal of achieving €800,000 in turnover in four years. “For that, alongside my first business unit which is the current art festival (the next edition of which will take place from April 20 to May 29, bringing together 214 works by 17 artists, editor’s note), a second business unit will be needed, which will be that of an art dealer. I will approach companies, wine estates, to offer them monumental works”. If the activity develops as expected, hiring is to be considered.

Private tours

Eric dos Santos is betting on an innovative concept: he only offers private tours of his 250 m2 art gallery2. “The idea is to create a unique experience, in this place steeped in history. You are alone in front of the works”, he describes. “Visitors to art galleries are rarely buyers. Today, barely 2% of them buy a work. I want to raise this rate to 50%”. After a first year of operation, The Artistic Red Dot has already reached a buyer rate of 20%. The man relies on a portfolio of 150 artists, some of whom are internationally renowned (Christophe Ronel, Serge Labegorre).

The estate renovated by the couple houses their home, the art gallery, as well as Danielle Burgart's studio.
The estate renovated by the couple houses their home, the art gallery, as well as Danielle Burgart’s studio. – Photo: Rémi Hagel

From 0 to 10 million euros

Before settling in Sarthe, Eric dos Santos, 58, forged a successful career in IT. The 1980s marked the beginnings of large-scale computing and Eric dos Santos made his way into the distribution of software for SMEs-SMIs. Taking the direction of an agency of 12 engineers of a national group in Paris (Silicomp, 900 people, 90 M€ turnover), he led it to 150 collaborators. After a parenthesis in the humanitarian field, he founded the start-up Dimelo with a partner in 2006, still in Paris. The company developed software, revolutionizing customer relations on digital channels. Seducing large accounts, Dimelo reached 10 million euros in turnover with 30 people. The partners sold it in 2018 to the American Ring Central. It is with the money from this sale that Eric dos Santos, a long-time collector, married to the artist-painter Danielle Burgart, started his new project in Sarthe.

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