Last summer, a sign went up in the modern loft-like glass building right across from Hollywood City Hall, adding yet another new name to Hollywood’s burgeoning art scene — welcome to Hollywood, Oliver Gal Artist Co.
But Oliver Gal is actually not a new company at all, in Hollywood or the art world. It’s a 14-year-old family business. Inspired by the South Florida art scene as well as their own personal travels, Oliver Gal is the brainchild of sisters artists Lola Sánchez-Maehle and Ana Sanchez Gal, along with Ana’s husband Assi Glikshtein Gal. Together they seized an opportunity to bring a small art house over to the U.S. from their native Spain and with a recommendation from Oprah Winfrey in 2004, they’ve enjoyed soaring sales and well-deserved success ever since.
“We’ve actually been in Hollywood for close to 11 years,” explained Israeli-born Assi, showing a picture of the familiar AllPopArt.com store that used to sit on the corner of Dixie and Washington. “Yeah, that was us,” he affirmed.
But the company was growing and in 2017, they moved all the different departments to the new, modern location. We sat down for a quick Q&A with Mr. Gal and his gals.
Hollywood Gazette: This is a pretty unique company. Who are you and how did you get started?
Ana: Oliver Gal is a company created with leading-edge spirit and an ambitious objective: to offer museum-quality original art for all, at a revolutionary price. We have an ever-changing collection that caters to all tastes and allows everyone to dress their walls and homes in images that they love and obsess about.
Lola: It’s a real American Dream story. I answered the first call and told the caller that they were still sleeping! I was about 12. You might want to let Assi tell it.
Assi: Friends of ours in Spain had just started a website for a personalized pop art business, and Ana had just graduated with a degree in web design, so she went to work for them. We had moved to the U.S. and we saw the opportunity so we decided to partner with them and bring the business to the U.S. too. We put in the time to translate the website and adjust the business more to the U.S. way of doing business and AllPopArt.com was born.
We had been in business for about four months and had gotten about $400 in sales when that first phone call came in and Lola answered it. We had just gotten married, and Ana said, “After the honeymoon, it’s going to be time to find a job.”
Then, in 2004, we were featured with our first brand, allPopart.com, as one of Oprah’s favorite ideas for Christmas! We went from $400 to $80,000 in sales, really really fast. This what gave us the push to create the company we have now. It gave us the spirit and the funding we needed, and we took off.
HG: When was that? And have you always been here in Hollywood?
Assi: We’ve actually had the business in Hollywood since about 14 years ago, just after we started the company, and we moved into our beautiful new space here just a little over a year ago, in June 2017.
The new space holds our art department, graphic design, data entry, sales, billing and more. We also have a production facility in Pembroke Park. We employ almost 70 people altogether, split about evenly between the two offices, and we’re always looking for people in sales, graphic design, and specialized data.
We set up a showroom here also to meet big clients when they’re in town, but most of the business is done online or at trade shows.
HG: Talk to me a little about the growth of the firm.
Assi: Well, after the Oprah thing one thing led to another; there were more magazines and TV shows and we were becoming really good at online marketing, and we were building our relationships with the websites and the companies we were working with, and they started saying, hey, you need to create something we can sell more of. Most of our work was one of a kind, and difficult to scale. Lola had started doing some personalized art for customers, and we had been thinking about what to do next, and now here was this opportunity to make our own art line.
So we worked really, really hard on it, and we created our first collection, and it was a huge success. That was about six years ago.
Lola: I was coming here every summer and they mentored me since I was a kid. I did just about every job there was to be done, except answer the phone — I would be on with the customers for too long! I studied graphic design. I learned it all. I’m now the Chief Creative Officer.
HG: One of the most impressive things about your company is the wide range of products that you have — your retail customers range from Walmart to Nordstroms. How do you do it?
Assi: The challenge has always been, and it continues to be, how to expand into the different price points, products and brands to service all our customers in this huge market and industry. How to expand and please everyone, and target all the different customers.
I think the “secret sauce” contains a combination of creative and unique art, strong branding, high quality and value. Then the art sells itself. We continue to create different brands and private labels, lines and products for the different customers and markets to keep the designs new and unique for each. We’re always learning and growing.
Lola: All of our designs are original, in-house art. We create it and then we produce it on a large scale. We like to think of ourselves as the trend-setters in modern and pop art, curated collections.
HG: Is there really an Oliver Gal or is he a conglomeration of all of you?
Lola: You got us on that one. There is no real Oliver. Oliver is a conglomeration of us, a collective of our ideas.
Assi: Oliver Gal is the umbrella collection, our main brand. We now have more than 10 brands. Plus we have expanded into not only wall art, but we have pillows, bedding and bath items, pins and purses, even neon home designs. And there will be more to come.
HG: What are you most proud of?
Assi: Our team.
Lola: We would say our team. We have a great team in place.
Ana: For me, Oliver Gal is our opportunity to make a difference in our community by providing leadership in a workplace-based in growth, creativity, and diversity. We love what we do and we foster a happy environment as much or even more than a lucrative one. I also could not be happier than to work with my husband and my sister, as well as the rest of our talented team.
HG: That’s what I read about you. Even former employees have only great things to say about you. Anything else you have to say to the people of Hollywood?
Assi: Thank you. We love it here. We live here and work here and we’re happy to be a part of this great city. Also, we have jobs available and we read all resumes. (Visit https://www.olivergal.com/jobs)
HG: Your office is lovely and it sounds like your company culture is equally great. Thanks for making Hollywood, and the world, a more beautiful place.
For more information on The Oliver Gal Artist Company, contact 954-922-3374 or email [email protected] or visit https://www.olivergal.com