SURTEX.. 10 Lessons Learned
There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.
Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.
Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
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I decided to write four posts about SURTEX due to the amount of information I wanted to share and the personal process involved in this adventure. It is not a secret that I registered to SURTEX at the last minute. This “last minute” decision was by itself a difficult situation and I learned a lot from the experience, A LOT.
I want to be honest and clear in one thing, I am very happy, very proud, very satisfied with the experience..but there is a lot to learn, there is a lot to reconsider and there is a lot of work ahead to make the next show and the experience a BLAST in terms of licensing deals, the reason of my participation.
I have learned a lot from licensing blogs during the past 18 months. Tara Reed’s is my favorite and almost all I know came from her PDF books and her blog. I knew I was not at all prepared but still I wanted to go and have the experience. I wanted to “START” the process. This was a goal I added to my list last year when I walked the show and I always have the urgency to complete my goals.
This post is all about the lessons learned but I will also add a few advises in case you are planning to attend next year. Here are “MY LESSONS LEARNED”. They are just mine. This may not be the lessons learned by others, it was my first experience and of course there is a lot more to learn.
The 10 Lessons Learned after SURTEX 2012
Lesson #1 – You don’t have to show everything in the booth panels. Less is More. Try to put what you know will attract more in big images.
Lesson #2- The banners are the easiest and effective way to show the art on the booth panels. I didn’t read this anywhere. I had no time for asking or reading before the show, remember I was trying to be ready in just a month.
Lesson #3- You don’t need 2,000 business cards or press kits (please don’t laugh at me). Not everybody will take a card and they are too heavy to take them in a flight along with all the stuff you need. You know what, I was going to make this question before but I was ashamed to ask. Now I have around 1000 press kits at my son’s house in PA.
Lesson #4- You can have you own sign on the Booth, this will get more attention than the one they provide. A print in a foam board for both sides will be fabulous with your art and name.
Lesson #5- Be assertive with the artists and guests visiting, you don’t have to show your portfolio to them. First, they should not ask, but if they do…Let them know you are expecting clients, your reason to be there.
Lesson#6- Start your preparation at least 6 months before the show. One year ahead is best but 6 months will be ok. THIS IS A MUST. Licensing is very VERY competitive and you should be there with your best products, with your best presentation, with the best portfolio. I learned this from my conversation with Stephanie Ryan. She told me that she started one year before. She walked the show 8 years before deciding and she did very VERY good at SURTEX.
Lesson #7- Learn from the experts..don’t follow advises from people that are not familiar or worst, that don’t know nothing about licensing..Period!!!
Lesson #8- Study the trends, the companies that license art, where they put the art, how they use it. Your art should fit in products, manufacturers are looking for this kind of art. I had the wrong idea that they will see your art and will magically transformed it in products. This can be true and ok if they see your art anywhere else but not in a LICENSING SHOW. There are hundreds of booths with art, they can feel overwhelmed with the amount of art input. If I were them I will feel that way. Thank God I had the idea of adding some prints with a single Big icon, they caught the attention of a good manufacturing company. I don’t know if they will make the deal but they loved it and asked for the images. Fingers Crossed!!
Lesson #9- If you already have licensed products, take a few with you. I should have taken some of the AVON samples and maybe some of my ceramics. I learned this from Sheila Meehan, a lovely licensing agent who was very kind and gave me lots of advises. Didn’t I tell you in my first SURTEX post, that my participation was worth it?? I learned a lot!!! Plus, I may have a few deals in the future!
And number 10!!! I ended with this one because it is the one I need to work most! I have to tell this because it was my worst mistake! I learned a lot this year about surface pattern and I was so excited about it that I ended up working a lot on patterns the one and only month I had to get ready for SURTEX. Now I know I should have put all my energy in my mixed media and what I learned after the show. It is not that surface patterns are not a good licensing art. In fact IT IS. The thing is that I need a lot of practice, a lot more learning and time to MAKE COLLECTIONS. ….and I should have worked in some collections using my mixed media.
Lesson#10- Make Lots LOTS of COLLECTIONS…..with what you know more, with what it is your style, with what you already know it is your strong area, with what you know people love. LESSON LEARNED!!! My mixed media caught a lot A LOT of attention and you know what, I was wrong when I thought this will not be what manufacturers were looking for. With the exception of a few licensors interesting in one or two patterns, almost everybody was attracted to the booth panels with the mixed media. I knew that many collections were necessary but I didn’t have the time and I lost it making new patterns…Well next time the story will be different.
My goals and future in art licensing…
1. I am looking for an agent. I know this “one woman show” in licensing is not for me. They were a few interested and I am working on sending my submissions and I have good feelings that I will find the right one, lets see!
2. I will attend SURTEX again, with or without an agent. You have to be seen there by the manufacturers, It is important that they know you are committed to your art and the licensing business.
3. I may attend, just to walk the show, Print Source 2012. I love surface pattern and I want to learn more. The more I know, the more I can offer and the more could be licensed.
4. I am already working on more mixed media and COLLECTIONS!!!
5. I will be working on a few proposals with my collections.
6. I need to earn a living and that is where my manufactured products help. I am working on a few proposals for big stores and adding stores where I sell at wholesale prices.
7. I will expand my online presence to sell more.
8. Again, I need to earn a living plus I want to share my knowledge of 16 years producing and selling art to stores and individual clients. In a few weeks I will be launching my very first ONLINE COURSE…Still a few days to let you know the Name of the Course and the juicy things it will have. I can promise it will be worth the inversion.
This a preview of the first video making a ceramic piece! Enjoy!
This is it for now….I hope this few lessons could save time, money, and energy if you plan to attend any show in the future!
Have a lovely life and Enjoy the Ride
This entry was posted on Saturday, June 16th, 2012 at 8:44 am and is filed under My Creative Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.