North Yorkshire Business Celebrates 4th Birthday:
Learn the Art of Survival from
We are delighted that Nick and Kate Bentley of Bils & Rye are celebrating 4 Years in Business in February 2017! They learnt the art of survival from Business Support York and North Yorkshire and, what is more, they have experienced development and growth year on year.
A Unique Idea
Visitors to Bils & Rye experience the unexpected, a gallery nestled in the small rural village of Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire that is of a quality which would be at home in the artistic centres of London or St Ives.
Bils and Rye is a ‘perfectly formed modern art gallery.’
Elle Decoration, November 2016
Its owners Nick and Kate Bentley had the unusual idea of specialising in the niche market for world class ceramics and sculpture while also catering for painting lovers. They have formed a relationship with Crafts Council UK and play an important role in promoting upcoming artists.
‘We put time into market research early on and that helped us to direct our efforts. We investigated how art galleries performed in recessions, because we were setting up in an uncertain time, and found that there were many galleries selling paintings, but the ones doing best were niche galleries. And there were very few galleries specialising in contemporary ceramics and sculpture.’
A Refreshing Approach
Nick and Kate are passionate about art. They are always on the lookout for new and upcoming British artists and international ones not well represented in Britain, all of whom produce pieces that are destined to become modern classics. They put a great deal of time into visiting artists in their studios and learning about their work. The bespoke home from home environment that they have created within the gallery space - complete with a comfortable sofa on which to sit and consider the art - is a welcome change from the hard and cold white cube spaces offered by the majority of contemporary galleries. It doesn’t take long to feel relaxed in the gallery setting.
‘We encourage visitors to touch the artworks, that is usually a taboo in galleries but at Bils & Rye it is part of the experience’.
At Bils & Rye there is no hard sell, visitors are encouraged to form relationships with the artworks by learning about their makers and the techniques involved.
‘We encourage clients to buy what they love, not to buy for investment alone. Art it is about enjoyment above all; benefits to wellbeing should be prioritised above financial gain’
A liberal selection by some of the 250+ British, American and European artists Bils & Rye work with are presented throughout the gallery, providing temptation at every turn. But the works are not confined to four walls, Nick and Kate take collections on the road so that clients can see what they look like in their own homes and be sure to make choices that will bring them pleasure.
A New Way of Life
For most people, starting your own business requires a substantial leap into the unknown. For Nick it was a positive step that he could take after having to leave employed work due to ill health. He had the idea to start up an art gallery adjacent to the studio in Nunnington where his wife Kate was then working as a painter. He was referred to Business Support York and North Yorkshire for initial help to progress. When asked about his experience of starting a business Nick said:
‘It’s the best thing I’ve ever done, I really enjoy every aspect. I had had several careers but nothing I wanted to do long-term. The best thing is that I get to work to connect people with things that enhance their lives every day and by creating those relationships I enhance the lives of emerging artists too. There are positives all round and it really doesn’t feel like a job – it’s one of the things that makes me tick.’
A Knowledgeable Supporter
Without business support Bils & Rye may have opened its doors but would not have grown so quickly. Nick explains ‘We went to Mike Everitt looking for validation for our idea, we wanted someone to tell us whether it would work in the real world. Mike didn’t give us that, instead he gave us something much more valuable, the steps that enabled us to have confidence to know we were doing the right thing. He was hugely knowledgeable, personable and interested in what we wanted to do - like a wise uncle - and he provided tailored information pertinent to our business, not generic facts. He gave us an objective perspective that taught us to make realistic and accurate estimates, paying attention always to the bottom line. The advice he gave we heeded, and we continue to heed, it is a guiding principle behind our day-to-day business decisions and we are still here. It helps us to decide when to take risks and keep moving the business forward.’
‘In Nick and Kate were two people with an obvious passion for art. Their ability to develop contacts with artists and customers has enabled them to become a focal interest in the art world. It’s a pleasure to witness their continued success.’