How to Get Started in Art Licensing Part 2 of 3

24 06 2010

How to Get Started in Art Licensing – Agent or No Agent?

In our last segment, I provided serious questions to help you determine if art licensing is a good fit for you. When considering whether to agent yourself or find art licensing representation, I believe that the most important aspects will be to determine:

1) Do you have the skill sets to pursue, sell and close licensing deals?

2) Can you manage marketing and sales, while creating art and running the general aspects of a growing business?

3) Are you willing to share 50% of your licensing revenue (approximately) with your agent for their services?

So if sharing half of your licensing revenue is more appealing than spending 60-70% of your time in sales and marketing mode, then finding an agent is probably the right decision for you.

My advice is to look for an agent in the same professional manner in which you would pitch the biggest account you’ve ever tried to nail and won! Of course, any initial sales you can make will help bring an agent on board, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get one if you’ve never had a licensing deal.

While agents involved in art licensing tend to be art-lovers, or they probably wouldn’t be in this industry, the bottom line is they are in business to make money. Artists tend to forget this key point. An artist’s objective should then be to sell an agent on how they can make money from your art. Furthermore, in today’s economy, few agents can afford to help an artist start from scratch.

Artists need to prepare to work with an agent and approach them after having:

1) Studied and learned all you can about the art licensing industry.

2) Spent time organizing their art, building a portfolio of collections and a viable art licensing web site.

3) Prepared an agent presentation with a letter of introduction and art samples.

Those artists who allow agents to get started selling right away, will have a great advantage over other artists—no matter what their talents.

So if you truly want an agent, then approach the process of researching and pitching agents as your full time business. And the exciting news is that, if you want to represent yourself, you need to tackle the same things to get started.

In Part 3: What Exactly Do You Need to Get Start in Art Licensing, I’ll review the list of materials you’ll want to have in place before pitching agents and manufacturers.



3 responses

7 12 2010
Is Art Licensing Right For Me? How Do I Start Licensing My Art?

[…] that end, I would suggest reading Agent or No Agent? That is the Question, followed by What Exactly Do You Need to Get Started. Good […]

8 10 2010
Miki Berman

Hi J’net
LovE your blog I am learning so much from you. I have a question, I was reading a blog about the art licensing biz– and it said that the amount of art/designs that manufacturers are buying is diminishing quite a bit.(YIKS)
Is this cause for concern? The industry must be changing, I imagine. I myself am just getting starting with my art licensing career, is there more artists than products to put designs onto? Is there room for all? Is it like being in Hollywood where there are so many many many actors and only so many parts?
Thanks for your Blog,

9 10 2010

Mike, it does get tougher every year, but there is room for talented artist who are willing to work hard. I think artists need to think hard about where they will fit into the retail marketplace and ask themselves if its possible to reach those venues through licensing. You can’t be all things to all people–that’s for sure. Best, J’net

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