When the opportunity to open the gallery presented itself nearly a decade ago, lifelong friends Josh Paquette and Josh Otten jumped at the chance to build their own business from the ground up.
In 2007, the Joshes, as they’re known, opened J. Willott Gallery in the luxurious El Paseo shopping district in Palm Desert. They have since remodeled the gallery several times and continually refined its roster of contemporary artists to stay interesting and relevant.
“We’re proud to represent a number of incredible artists from around the country — from John Evans in Boston to Julie Speidel in Washington state,” Paquette says. “We’ve grown every year since we’ve been here. The longer I’m here, the more I love it.”
His clientele accounts for a great measure of his satisfaction. “The Coachella Valley has people who have worked very hard in their life,” he says. “They come from all over the world to enjoy themselves. As long as the sun’s shining here and it’s snowing and raining somewhere else, people are going to continue to come.”
After nine years in business, J. Willott has amassed a group of loyal collectors who willingly spread the word. “We work really hard at creating relationships,” Paquette says, adding that clients work with him and Otten from the moment they walk in the gallery to when they install a work of art in their home. “You don’t survive in this business selling one piece to one person. We listen, we learn, we travel, we meet artists, and we bring them to our collectors. It’s all part of the fun.”
The Joshes also love participating in the community, especially their hosting of the Art for Animals event every year to benefit The Living Desert. “We both have young kids who enjoy The Living Desert,” Paquette says. “We spend a lot of time there. We enjoy doing the event every year. The kids love it and the collectors love it”
As for the clients, Paquette particularly likes to envision what they’ll want to add to their collections. “Knowing your clients and continually looking for promising art is what this business is all about.”
VIDEO: Joshua Paquette, Co-Owner, J. Willott Gallery