Q&A: Brooke Freeman, founder of The Hook
Here we catch up with Brooke Freeman, founder of art gallery retail concept The Hook, to talk about her recently launched gallery in London’s Seven Dials and the company’s future plans and growth aspirations.
Can you tell us about your brand?
The Hook was established in 2021 as a revolutionary new art retail concept which takes contemporary retail techniques and applies them to what has traditionally been a stuffy, intimidating industry.
We live for the moment when customers fall in love with a piece of art they simply can’t live without. We know that many young consumers want to start their search for artwork, but the process is daunting and complicated. Traditional galleries can often feel intimidating, whilst online marketplaces can seem overwhelming.
The Hook is here to fill that gap. We strive to offer the elevated, yet seamless, in-store and online experience that customers have come to expect from their favourite luxury brands. We like to think of it as a familiar retail experience with an unfamiliar product: original art.
Your new flagship gallery has been launched at London’s Seven Dials. Why did you choose the location?
At The Hook, we aren’t afraid to do things differently than traditional art galleries. We chose Seven Dials because it’s a one-of-a-kind destination that celebrates bold concept locations and unique brands, like ours. It has always felt like the perfect place to showcase our brand to a curious and creative audience.
What was the thought process behind the gallery design and fitout?
When designing the space, we had a few objectives: 1) create an inviting space for our community of art lovers, 2) allow the artwork to shine, and 3) showcase the fresh and spirited aesthetic of our brand.
In order to create an inviting space, we abandoned the cold, clinical white walls of a traditional gallery in favour of colour and texture.
To draw attention to the artwork, the gallery exterior is white, with understated branding. The eye is immediately drawn inside to the artwork on the walls.
To showcase The Hook brand, we feature our bold and unapologetic typography on our window messaging – everybody who walks by should feel drawn in.
How is your new Neal Street gallery different from your others?
The Hook Seven Dials is the biggest of our three locations, and our only gallery that spans two floors, which means we really get to showcase the breadth of The Hook collection. The space is completely at home on Neal Street, where it sits amongst many of Seven Dials’ other unique and innovative brands and is a natural addition to the creative atmosphere of the neighbourhood.
One of our values at The Hook is selection. Finding a piece of artwork is a lot like falling in love: everybody is looking for something different. With 1,588 square feet of gallery space on Neal Street, The Hook Seven Dials really is the perfect destination to start an art love affair.
What does the future look like for The Hook?
The Hook has ambitious growth aspirations. We aspire to meet our current and future customers wherever they live, work, and play. That means we’ll be expanding throughout London, the UK, and internationally. 30% of our sales are to international customers, so we see lots of potential for The Hook to grow globally.
We’re constantly working hard to make our ecommerce experience as fun and inviting as our in-store experience. Our community of art lovers will continue to see our online experience evolve in tandem with our physical presence.
What is the most exciting or unique in-store experience that The Hook offers its customers?
The most exciting thing about visiting The Hook is the opportunity to engage with our enthusiastic team of art lovers. We have an exceptional group of talented consultants from the UK’s leading art institutions including Central Saint Martins and The Slade.
I’d encourage everyone who is interested in The Hook to sit down for coffee with one of our consultants. Each and every member of the team is dedicated to helping you discover artwork you can’t live without. They will even bring artwork to your home so that you can experience it in your space.
Art is personal, and I’m proud that our in-store experience reflects that.
What role do you see The Hook playing in the wider community and what initiatives are you planning to support this?
The Hook operates at the intersection of retail and creativity. We also happen to be a proudly female-founded business.
We have a role to play in the wider start-up community by partnering with other creatively minded young businesses and these partnerships will also give our emerging artists even more exposure to new audiences. Stay tuned for an exciting partnership announcement with a female-founded wine brand.
What are some of the challenges and opportunities you see for the business in the next few years?
Consumers are inundated with options for adorning their walls. I see this as both a challenge and an opportunity for The Hook. On one hand, it means The Hook has lots of competition. On the other hand, it’s an opportunity for The Hook to stand out from the crowd. I believe that The Hook has the potential to offer the most enjoyable, seamless, and inspiring art-buying experience and I can’t wait to see what the next few years will bring.
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