Meet the Women Behind the Cultivist
When Marlies Verhoeven and Daisy Peat launched the global arts club the Cultivist three years ago, their goal was to provide members with experiences that went far beyond skipping lines at world-class museums or circulating among VIPs at art fairs—although these are definitely core benefits. In a very short time, the pair has exceeded all expectations: The Cultivist now organizes studio visits, artist luncheons, museum tours, and tailored itineraries, among other cultural activities, in art destinations as varied as Abu Dhabi, London, and Mexico City.
The two young entrepreneurs, who ran a Sotheby’s VIP program for seven years before striking out on their own, have seen their business expand exponentially. The Cultivist staff has grown from 6 to 16, its membership is up to more than 1,000 worldwide, and its offices have expanded from London and New York to Brussels and Los Angeles, with Shanghai soon to open. (The annual fee is $2,500.) And if most members are collectors—“from the top 200 worldwide to some just starting out,” Verhoeven says—a good number are renowned artists as well, such as Marina Abramović, Cindy Sherman, and Richard Phillips. So far, no member’s inquiry has stumped the Cultivist team. “Ninety-five percent of the requests are for things we have done many times before,” Verhoeven explains, “but we actually love a challenge.”
A couple wants to see art in Baku, Azerbaijan? No problem. A museum is closed? Piece of cake: “We had members who didn’t realize that the Baltimore Museum of Art was closed, so they contacted us,” Verhoeven recalls. “It was a day the museum was open for work, but not to the public. Someone came down and gave them a private tour.” For Verhoeven and Peat, that was just another day at the office. thecultivist.com