Stationery Show and Surtex 2013

4 06 2013

floral_graphics_vector_58899Once again, Stationery Show and Surtex have come and gone, amidst the latest gorgeous designs, art and products.

Many bloggers have already expressed their comments about the shows, and here are mine: a few thoughts about the Stationery Show from my perspective as an Agent, as well as a section (which will run tomorrow) with things I heard from attendees and exhibitors at Surtex and my comments.

Stationery Show

First of all, this is definitely one of my favorite trade show events. I personally felt an overall sense of optimism from both those in the booths and those walking this Show. The mood was light and energetic. It’s so an exquisite and scintillating feeling to be amidst all the latest stationery products, many of which are a direct result of licensed art and design.  It makes me proud to be in the business.

With more than a dozen scheduled appointments over 2 days, I was prepared with portfolios in both  hard copies and electronic versions. The meetings with manufacturers at the Stationery Show included meeting new people and re-connecting with those I’ve known for years.

In your first meetings with a manufacturer, I recommend you come prepared with questions.

Ask the manufacturer:

  • what are your best-selling products?
  • who is your best-selling licensed artist?
  • what trends are you seeing?
  • what exactly are you looking for at this show (short-term)?
  • anything else you are looking for (long-term)?
  • who makes the final decisions on licensing?

(Obviously this is just a start, the more questions the better! And the questions will vary, depending on whether your meeting is a generic introduction, as in this example, or whether you are discussing the need for a specific piece of art or you’re further down the road negotiating a product licensing deal.)

Whether you have scheduled a meeting with a manufacturer, or they dropped by your booth, you need to really honor their time and appreciate their attention. Answer their questions, and LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN.  Nothing is more valuable that gathering information that you can use and getting to know the person.

Then you can share your background, art and news in a genuine way.

Share with the manufacturer:

  • your portfolio, if they have never seen it or
  • new portfolio items they haven’t seen before
  • anything you can think of that might fit their goals (short or long-term)
  • think fast and share examples of deals you’ve done, or experience you have that relates to things they shared (based what you talk about on something you learned from LISTENING)
  • lastly, always ask if there is anything you can do for them.  Even if your art isn’t a good fit for them, do what you can for other manufacturers and artists and leave a great impression.

Our meetings, and hopefully yours, were very productive in finding out more about our prospects’ needs and sharing with them how we can help.  Progress was made by identifying new creative to send, and in some cases to develop and send, as well as deals were struck. I love being in meetings and seeing the eyes of a creative director light up, or a chuckle escape their lips when they read a humorous note. Especially when they see exactly what they want!

For each meeting your goal should always be to leave with a very specific ‘to do’ list of items to create or adapt and send to the prospective licensee. It should also include timeframes.

(Tomorrow’s blog will be on Surtex…)

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