New Branding and Website Elevates Client Experience and Reflects Company’s Recent Expansion in Location, Services and Expertise
Chicago — Leslie Hindman Auctioneers today unveiled a new brand identity, website and growth strategy in line with the organization’s ambition to be the nation’s most client-centric auction house. The new website provides the auction house with the capability to expand digital client services, and the new logo elevates the brand’s visual presence across all platforms and ten brick-and-mortar locations nationwide. In conjunction with these changes, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers has abbreviated its name to Hindman. These changes reflect Hindman’s recent growth in locations, services and expertise, as well as its previously announced acquisition of Cowan’s Auctions (est.1995). Hindman currently operates more salerooms than any other auction house in the country.
“We have been working over the past 37 years to position ourselves as the most client-centric auction house in the country”, said Hindman Co-Chair, Leslie Hindman. “What started with our first satellite office in Naples in 2009 has grown to include 10 branches today and is still growing. In the evolving auction industry, our clients will require both the high-touch local service we’ve consistently offered and the high-tech global sales and marketing channels that we are developing.”
“Both Leslie and I have built our businesses by recognizing the importance of building and maintaining relationships with our clients” added Vice Chair Wes Cowan, “We have long embraced the technological evolution of the auction business. At the same time our focus will remain where it has always been — service to our clients, both sellers and buyers.”
Hindman’s recent growth features several key leadership appointments with experience from a variety of sectors. New CEO Thomas Galbraith co-founded the consulting firm The Petraeus Group, has served as Managing Director of Paddle8, as Director of Global Strategy for artnet, and most recently was the interim CEO of the Google Ventures startup, Twyla.
“Understanding the importance of client experience and achieving top dollar for all lots sold is critical to success in this market, and both Leslie Hindman Auctioneers and Cowan’s Auctions have excelled in that regard,” said Hindman CEO, Thomas Galbraith. “The strategies and changes we are implementing at Hindman are focused on modernizing and scaling that approach through digitization, efficiencies and a growing footprint, building off a very well-established foundation.”
Additions also include the appointment of finance industry veteran Joan Wagner as Vice President for Hindman’s Midwest region; of Nathan Casey, formerly Senior Director of Global CRM and Loyalty for McDonald’s Corporation, as the Vice President of Marketing for Hindman; and of Billy Fowks as the auction house’s first CTO, a seasoned full stack developer with comprehensive experience working at the intersection of visual art and technology.
A key facet to Hindman’s growth strategy involves the development of the auction house’s digital capabilities. Drawing inspiration from their mission as a service-focused auction house, Hindman built a website that simplifies the client experience and improves the marketability of sales. Hindman is simultaneously rolling out new back-end technology that streamlines inventory and consignment management processes, allowing specialists and account executives to spend more of their time interfacing directly with clients.
“The custom website and underlying technological capabilities will allow clients and specialists to interact seamlessly,” said Hindman CTO, Billy Fowks. “Today’s release is an exciting foundation that will allow us to innovate and build over the months and years to come.”
“As we embrace the digital evolution of the auction industry, our core will always be client service. We are focused on technology that will foster relationships with our clients, not replace them”, added Hindman VP of Marketing, Nathan Casey.
These changes build upon a preexisting focus on global connectivity, with 60% of existing lots being sold to online bidders from around the world. In 2018, Hindman saw a 21% increase in online sales and 32% increase in online buyers over the prior year, with a 10 percentage point shift from live to online buyers.
Hindman’s investment in digital advancement is paired with a simultaneous expansion of both brick-and-mortar locations and specialists. This expansion enables Hindman to provide high-touch service and in-person expertise throughout the country, connecting local communities to the global art market. Hindman recently opened new offices in Scottsdale, AZ and Atlanta, GA, as well as both Cincinnati and Cleveland, OH locations through the acquisition of Cowan’s Auctions. In addition to the ten brick-and-mortar offices, Hindman continues an on-going series of auction appraisal events nationwide, focused on meeting clients where they live.
“The priority we give to growing our brick-and-mortar presence in alignment with digital development is a testament to the value we hold in building longstanding relationships with our local communities, and of my commitment that our organization will always put the client’s needs first,” said Hindman CEO, Thomas Galbraith.
Growth in Expertise
Hindman’s growth in digital and physical presence is accompanied by several notable hires over the past two years. “Hindman’s recent appointments bring decades of collective experience from an incredible range of focus areas,” said Jim Sharp, Hindman Vice President, Expertise. “Many of our clients require expertise across multiple collecting categories at varying price points. To best serve them, we need to be able to address their entire collection.”
These appointments have resulted in both the creation of new departments and substantial growth in preexisting departments. The appointment of Tim Long as Director of Luxury Accessories and Couture brings years of museum curatorial experience, and new authority on historical couture to the company’s growing department. Additionally, Hindman has assembled a leading Fine Books and Manuscripts department, led by Gretchen Hause and supported by Exclusive Consultant Francis Wahlgren. Additional new departments include American History and Historic Militaria, via the acquisition of Cowan’s Auctions.
Over the past two years, Hindman has seen a 40% growth in specialists across all departments, including a 50% growth in Fine Art specialists and a 50% growth in Jewelry specialists. The Fine Art department’s growth featured the appointment of Michael E. Shapiro, former Director of The High Museum of Art, as Senior Advisor of Museums and Private Collections; and the appointment of Joe Stanfield as Director of Fine Art. The department’s record sale of a Joan Mitchell work on paper for $1.2 million is a prime example of the increased expertise at the company, which saw an influx of premium consignments. On May 15, Hindman’s Jewelry department will sell 250 pieces from the iconic Chicago jewelry store and global brand, Trabert & Hoeffer—a testament to the department’s capabilities. With the new appointments across all departments in place, Hindman has already conducted 36 auctions in Q1 of 2019, a 50% increase over the same period in the year prior.
Hindman conducts over 100 auctions annually and appraises thousands of objects throughout the year in addition to handling major single-owner collections. The firm is currently accepting consignments for summer, fall and winter sales. To contact the Chicago office of Hindman, visit hindmanauctions.com/locations/Chicago or call 312.280.1212.