What is your most interesting sales story?
When taking on a longstanding business and working with our father, William Meek, who has been a part of it since 1972, there are very few sales scenarios he hasn’t encountered. Last year Juliana surprised him with a new one, a literal elevator pitch sale.
Every year since 1964, our gallery has taken annual road trips to visit artists in New York City. It is a chance to talk in person and pick up works to bring back to Naples for the season. In 1964, that was with a station wagon. Today, we have a large van.
Last year, we visited Jessica Daryl Winer in New York City, as we do every year. William was double parked and waiting with the van on the street while Juliana met Jessica in her 11th floor apartment. Jessica had a beautiful, large work of Central Park ready for us to take if we liked. Of course, we loved it and were happy to take it for the season. Juliana and Jessica wrapped it in plastic and took the work out to the hallway to take it down the elevator. There we met one of Jessica’s neighbors who was waiting for a family member to come up the elevator.
She asked about the work, never knowing Jessica was an artist until that moment. Juliana told the neighbor about Jessica and how her work is well received in Naples. Jessica depicts scenes of New York in vibrant color and energy but in an almost airy manner. The neighbor loved the painting. Its beauty was evident even through the layer of protective plastic. The neighbor was also impressed by Jessica’s reputation, with works in museums in New York and Florida, as well as public installations in Manhattan. All this was conveyed in just the time it took for the elevator to arrive.
When the elevator came, the neighbor held the door longer saying the work shouldn’t go to Naples. Juliana quickly gave her a business card and told her that the work could always come back up to New York, should she want it.
While loading the work into the van, Juliana’s cell phone rang. It was the neighbor. She couldn’t let the work go to Naples where it would be sold to someone else. She asked that it be brought back up to show her husband. Juliana and Jessica did just that. The neighbor’s husband was equally impressed with both Jessica and the work. As it turned out it was also the neighbor’s birthday and 9/11. She said her birthday has always been a sad day since 2001. She said purchasing this work will create a new happy memory for her birthday on 9/11.
This was a sale that happened while waiting on an elevator, but one that was so deeply meaningful, it will stay in our minds and hearts indefinitely.
Featured Photo: A quick selfie of Juliana and Jessica with the work of Central Park which was sold moments later to Jessica’s neighbor.
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