Name: Sadie Coles
Industry/sector: Retail and related services
Date founded: 1996
The boss: Sadie Coles
Latest turnover: £38.8m
Three-year compound growth rate (%): 51.19
Latest EBITDA: £5.6m
London-based art gallery Sadie Coles HQ serves as a home for the creations of international artists that are on the rise. It boasts two sites at Park Lane and Soho, making them fine locations for locals and tourists alike that are looking for a spot of culture.
Sadie Coles created the business in 1996, having studied a degree in art history and film studies at Middlesex University in the 80s. Prior to starting the gallery, she worked for well-known art dealer, collector and curator Anthony d’Offay, and it was there that she learned her trade.
She said it “gave me lots of rope to do what I wanted. After five years I asked him if I could run a project space for young artists. Of course, that was the beginning of the end. I realised I could do it on my own. I had a very romantic, idealistic idea about the possibilities of being a dealer: that you could go on an adventure with an artist. I still believe that.”
The business expanded beyond Mayfair and into Soho in 2013, demonstrating just how the galleries today are bringing in a CAGR of 51.19 per cent and a turnover of £38.8m.
Coles has been part of the Young British Artists movement, which was a label given to a group of artists in the late 1980s. Damian Hirst was commonly linked to it, while Coles’ collaborators Sarah Lucas and Angus Fairhurst were also involved.
For Coles though, the artists she worked with aren’t just business partners – they’re also friends. This was expressed when Fairhurst took his life in 2008, which saw Coles offer insight on their friendship and also the industry they’ve become known for.
“My involvement with Angus had two aspects – work and friendship – but it is impossible to separate them,” she said. “Being an artist requires a mad sort of courage and Angus was unafraid and generous enough to show how difficult the creative process could and should be. His readiness to reveal self-doubt was risky, but ultimately sincere and brave.”
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