November’s One-A-Day Q&A – Question #11

9 11 2016

Q: With the understanding that it is the design on the product that one is pushing, would it be wise to send a manufactured product to a company, if you already make the product instead of using Photoshop?november-q-a-final

A. Most creators do mock-ups, of course, and they are created for a sales presentation with Photoshop to showcase their art on products produced by that manufacturer. That is the best way to promote your art and get the manufacturer to envision producing their products with your art on it. If you want to send an actual product, it’s important to make sure that you send your design on a type of product that they produce; do they produce tee shirts, mugs, aprons, flags or what?

If you have manufactured products that you now want to license, then yes, you can send a sample to a manufacturer. I wouldn’t go and have a product manufactured to send to a manufacturer, because they are going to find too many things wrong with it. But, if you happen to have it and you want to send it to them, it could get them excited.

I am going to give you some cautionary thoughts, because the manufacturers are going to come up with a lot of questions as to why you sent them an actual product.

A manufacturer may wonder why you’re seeking a licensing partner if you’re already producing the product. Will they be confused? Sometimes at trade shows, if you put the product in your booth, I know a manufacturer might walk by thinking you’ve already licensed that product and they don’t need to talk with you.

Maybe they are going to want the sales numbers because they know that you’ve manufactured and sold this product already.A re your sales good enough to share and keep the manufacturer interested and sell them on licensing your art? Also, will they be satisfied with the quality of the product, or are they going to think that their product is better, and why did you do this?

Just be prepared to answer these and more questions, if you want to send a real product sample, whether P.O.D. or manufactured. Since you can get a manufacturers’ attention by doing mock-ups in professional presentations, whether sent by email and by regular mail, perhaps it’s not worth the time, effort and risk of confusion?

 





November’s One-A-Day Q&A – Question #6

6 11 2016

Q: How hard is it to license art without Photoshop experience?november-q-a-final

A: Tough. Photoshop and the full Creative Suite from Adobe are really vital tools for the art licensor today. They have made it easier for people to work from home and given freelancers and entrepreneurs the ability to send files and get production done from a long distance. Therefore, having Photoshop is really, really important – more important than ever before and practically essential.

I have spoken to many creators and they recommend investing in the full Creative Suite with Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat Pro. These will enable you to translate your art into presentations, mock ups and the files needed by the manufacturers. If the cost is too much to bite off in one chunk, the latest option is a cloud based version of the full program which will run you about $35 per month. The bonus here is that you will always be using the latest version.

Now, of course, you don’t have to learn Photoshop yourself, if you’re capable and willing to figure out another way to get the Photoshop work done. You need someone who can take your designs and put them in Photoshop for mock ups and presentations. They will also need to be able to send production files to the manufacturer when you get each licensing deal.

What you have to do is keep in mind how not having these skills will affect the revenue of your business. It is not impossible to run a licensing business without knowing Photoshop, but you will then have to hire someone to do it, as well as figure in the time factor. I would say learn Photoshop if possible, or be prepared to pay for the services which will impact your bottom-line significantly.

 





Manufacturer Interview: Phil Cowley, CMO of Design Design Inc.

6 04 2016

Hi everyone, I appreciate your patience and support while I recovered from my hip replacement surgery. It feels so amazing to be back at my desk with renewed energy, a new perspective and motivation for moving life and business forward. Thanks to all of you who sent your well-wishes while I was recuperating!

www.designdesign.us

As most of you know, I believe strongly in building great, positive relationships. We find in art and character licensing, the 80/20 rule is just as true as it is in all the other industries. Specifically, this means that 80 percent of your revenue comes from only 20 percent of your clients. So in practical terms, to actually grow your revenue, you need to connect with as many people as possible. This means attending trade shows, talking to other artists, getting on the phone, asking those in-the-know for advice and finding industry events where you will meet the manufacturers and the decision-makers who will become the cornerstone of your licensing business.

The more you learn about what manufacturers want and are looking for, from the manufacturers themselves, the better you will be able to provide the appropriate art, in the proper format, to catch their eye and close your deal.

Not all manufacturers are willing to share this information. Fortunately there are some who will, such as Design Design’s Chief Marketing Officer,  Phil Cowley. I have worked with Phil on many occasions and he is such a wealth of information. In our interview, he shares intriguing insights about how manufacturers work, and specifically how Design Design works with artists.

Below I’ve listed just a few of the topics that are covered in this interview. I admit up-front, that the 30-minute length, is much longer than your average web interview. But I just couldn’t edit out any of the details. So grab a cup of coffee or tea and you’ll learn something, I’m sure. And thank you Phil for your time and so much valuable information!

  • What are the color and design trends for 2016?
  • What are the three most influential industries, when it comes to paper product designs
  • What is Design Design’s inside out approach to the marketplace?
  • What are their six key product categories?
  • What percentage of their product line is new each year?
  • How much art do they license?
  • How many artists do they work with?
  • How often does Design Design release new product?
  • What is the hardest greeting card (and other products…) category to fill?
  • Who are their primary retailer channels of distribution?
  • What exactly do they want from artists?

Final note: There are some audio issues on this interview due to internet fluctuations. We apologize in advance for making you have to listen extra-hard in a few places. This interview was taped in November 2016. The delay in publishing was due to my surgery. On all accounts, thanks for your understanding!

If you are interested in sending your portfolio of art to Design Design, Phil asks that you go to their Artists Inquiry page and download their Artist Guidelines for Artwork Submissions, which I’ve also linked to here for you. Please read this important information and then you can send your relevant artwork to their Senior Director of Creative, Tom Vituj at tom.vituj@designdesign.us

 

 

 





Zoonicorn is ‘One To Watch’ Finalist

3 06 2015

OneWatch_Finalist 2 copy (1)License! Global Magazine announced the top five finalists in their ‘One to Watch’ contest today. And I’m thrilled to say that Zoonicorn, one of All Art Licensing’s client’s made this exclusive list. This competition recognizes the most promising new property concepts, which are being introduced next week at the Licensing Expo 2015.Zoonicorn_300x250_1

Here, in his first interview, Mark Lubratt shares how the concept for Zoonicorn’s was inspired. Aliel, Ene, Valeo and Promithea are a magical cross between a unicorn and a zebra. Zoonicorns visit young zoo animals while they sleep, and join them on dreamland adventures to help gain confidence and learn valuable life lessons.

Don’t miss Mark’s candid and interesting discussion about building a new brand through manufacturing and licensing. Visit him at Booth E31 at Licensing Expo. Also check out the Zoonicorn website and blog.  

Zoonicorn book cover in ppt

Zoonicorn_Fam_RGB (1)

 





An Interview with Kendra Hull of Acco Brands (Calendars, Back-to-School and Home Office Products)

12 05 2015

Acco brandsKendra Hull, the Licensing Account Manager, of Acco Brands provided me with some very valuable insights on their variety of products and strategies for their brands. It can be difficult to find manufacturers who are as honest and open as Kendra, so I encourage you to watch the entire video, even if you aren’t looking to license your art or property right now for calendars, back-to-school and home office products.Mead Fashion

Learn what Kendra believes is the downfall of many presentations sent her way, what a SALY is and why she’s important, as well as what types of art, designs & characters the brands are looking for these days.

Kendra Hull, Licensing Account Manager, Acco Brands

Angry Birds Folder





Debbie Tomassi Talks About Creating ‘Bodacious Broads’

10 06 2014

For any of you creating characters and hoping to create a line of greeting cards and more, I know you will enjoy my interview with Debbie Tomassi.  She is a veteran of American Greetings (20 years, no less), Recycled Paper Greetings, Ronnie Sellers…and knows her stuff!  Debbie is one of the artists I agent and I am excited that we get to share her story about creating a product line called ‘Bodacious Broads.’

 





AmericasMart Showcases Licensed Art Themes on 2014 Product Lines

16 01 2014

AmericasMart is so big I never really feel like I’ve seen the whole thing, even though I walked and talked until my feet AND throat were so sore I couldn’t do any more. Don’t tell me I’m getting older; I am always reminded since my birthday regularly arrives during the Mart each January.

The hallways definitely didn’t seem overcrowded this year, but the show was plenty busy. I am also happy to say the manufacturers that I met with seemed pretty optimistic.

My formal take-away from this year’s show was that there were ‘no new themes.’  Really.  Every showroom had variations on the same themes, some of the same themes, or a different cross-section of the same themes on different products.

The following are the thematic trends seen EVERYWHERE:

  • Recycled – Refurbished – Rustic Chic (with loads of Burlap!)
  • French – Paris
  • Pets – Cats and Dogs
  • Ephemera
  • Vintage/Retro
  • Coastal
  • Wine
  • Flowers
  • Patterns – With chevrons, fleur de leis and paisleys
  • Birds – While this theme saw owls coming on strong the last two years, now it’s a full-fledged Hitchcock level parade of seagulls, ravens, flamingos, peacocks, penguins, chickadees, and of course, the proverbial roosters!Dayspring72dpi (1)PrimitivesByKathy72dpi
  • Words — Both humorous and inspirational words were on all types of product. Some utilized type only, and others mixed the words with images. And there was still lots of chalk boards. I picked up two chalk-board inspired catalogs, from totally different companies. You’d have thought their art directors sat next to each other in catalog-making class.  Chalkboards are now, in my estimation, too much of a good thing. Of course, well designed type and handcrafted writing is awesome, but with new, fresh content—it’s much better!

So, if there is nothing new, what is inspiring manufacturers and consumers?  I think the themes tend to stay the same in a conservative marketplace because consumers are purchasing with purpose.  They buy to fit their collections, to match their existing décor, or to give to someone who loves a certain theme. And manufacturers still aren’t willing to take many financial chances.

The freshness, then, is coming from the new ways in which artists, graphic designers, illustrators, painters, cartoonists and all creators are approaching these themes in really unique ways:

  • Juxtaposing unique art styles and varied themes
  • Mixing colors in different ways (the higher-end manufacturers were using muted version of intense colors; the lower-end was using bold, bright and neon colors)
  • Utilizing textures (lace, paint, rust, wire mesh, clay, hammered metal, fabrics, etc.)
  • Creating silhouettes
  • Designing the product itself

In the end, it’s about moving forward and trying new ideas and elements.  Yet, still creating enough great work that appeals to the manufacturers who will fund production and distribution.  I say out with ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ and in with something more original, such as, ‘Don’t Panic’ by Simply Eartha. Simply Eartha Soy Candle Line with Quotes from Eartha Kitt








%d bloggers like this: