Posted 09 February 2022
Mention Alex Liepman
Interview by Lyla Johnston

Drool founder Alex Liepman on launching a start-up to spotlight underrepresented artists

Alex Liepman has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. While his secondary school classmates were searching for part-time jobs, Alex was busy flipping wholesale items from China on eBay, helping him realise that he wasn’t a fit for the traditional 9-to-5 route. But the eureka moment didn’t come until he was decorating his flat. Disheartened by a lack of diversity in the art print industry, Alex recently set up company Drool as a means to support underrepresented artists, while also helping to liven up countless magnolia walls. Here, Alex discusses finding success in lockdown, the trouble with taxes and discovering artists on Instagram.

Alex Liepman

Alex Liepman

Job Title

Founder and CEO of Drool




Social Media


What I do

How would you describe what you do?
I’m the founder and CEO of Drool, a global platform for discovering and buying unique contemporary art prints. Collaborating with artists, designers, illustrators and photographers from across the world, our store is fully curated. We not only manage the complete production and sales process for the creatives we back, but we’ve put fair artist commissions and sustainability at the heart of what we do.

I created Drool out of frustration when looking to buy art for my flat. With a background in graphic design, I knew there was so much talent out there, but a severe lack of representation. So I set out to create a platform that champions and financially empowers underrepresented creatives, whilst increasing the flow of money to artists – something that’s more important than ever, given the pandemic.

“With a background in graphic design, I knew there was so much talent out there, but a severe lack of representation.”

Drool really took off at the start of the UK lockdown. With people spending more time at home I think they started realising their walls were pretty boring. So, the fact that people could invest in the look and feel of their home, whilst supporting early-career creatives, struck a chord and has allowed us to financially support tons of creatives through such a bleak time.

We’re about to start looking for funding to get some serious capital behind Drool. This will really help us build a solid team and take things to the next level to support even more creators.

Some of Drool’s prints in situ
Some of Drool’s prints in situ; artworks by Stell Paper

What’s been your favourite project to work on, from the past year, and why?
My favourite project to date is called Artists Uncovered. Made up of a series of interviews, words, videos and photos, it’ll be a deep dive into the artist behind Drool. It’s dropping really soon, so look out for this one!

Would you say you need any specific training for what you do?
“Jack of all trades” definitely applies to me. Throughout my different jobs and my personal interests, I’ve explored so many different skillsets, from graphic and web design to digital marketing and video editing. All of which have been vital in my ability to grow Drool.

But all of it was self-taught, so I do believe training is required, but you can do it yourself and for the most part, it’s free… YouTube is a blessing!

If you could sum up your job in an emoji, what would it be and why?
I’d sum my job up as a 🎩. When launching a start-up you have to wear so many hats. Things are hectic. I still do the majority of what people see visually about Drool, as I manage everything from the branding, the web design, the curation and the social posts. But I’m lucky to be growing the team and have them look after more of the everyday things.

Alex liepman founder creativelivesinprogress 07

Artworks by Mareykrap

Alex liepman founder creativelivesinprogress 09

Gallery wall

Alex liepman founder creativelivesinprogress 06

Artworks by Alexander Khabbazi and Othman Zougam

How I got here

What was your journey like when you were first starting out? Did you find your feet quickly?
Working 9-to-5 for someone else was not for me. I knew this pretty early on and ever since school I’ve been hustling with some sort of venture or side thing. My mates at school would be getting part-time jobs and I’d be shipping things from China and selling them on eBay. So starting my own legit business felt really natural. Although it’s been a massive learning curve, it’s what I love.

What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
The financials. I went all in and set Drool up as a global platform from day one. Not thinking about the financials and taxes was a bit stupid and something that caught up with me.

“Social media not only allows us to grow relationships, it’s where we find and connect with new creatives.”

How important would you say social media and self-promotion are to your work?
Social media, particularly Instagram, has been massive for Drool. It’s an integral part of our business. It not only allows us to forge and grow relationships with our community, it’s where we find and connect with new creatives. I’d say 80% of the conversations we have with creatives start on Instagram.

When we find new creatives to collaborate with, it’s not about having a crazy number of followers or likes, it’s about presenting your work in an easily accessible and digestible way. It's annoying being sent a huge portfolio to download via some sketchy link; I’m way more likely to check out an Instagram page on the move and then go to their website for more details if I like what I see.

Alex in his workspace
Alex in his workspace

My advice

What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
Follow your passion. I know it’s simple but it really helps realign things. You can easily find yourself going down an alternative route or putting too much time or resources into something that isn’t you. So it’s good, from time-to-time, to reflect on what your passion is.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?
If you’re looking to launch your own business, research is key. I cannot stress this enough. It’s easy to get carried away and you’ll want to push the button to go live straight away. But take your time to understand your target audience and who you’re selling to; knowing that will make everything flow a hell of a lot easier.

Mention Alex Liepman
Interview by Lyla Johnston