In years past the New York Gift Show at the Javitts Center was a great place to meet and see some of the larger paper goods and giftware companies like CR Gibson, Boston International, MeadWestvaco and Enesco to name a few. This has been changing over the last five years as more and more of these companies no longer showed here. The reasons had to do with the downturn in the economy . As products other than paper goods (such as jewelry) began to sell more and as Business
has been changing and the Gift show was no longer the right place for them to make their sales. Many moved to the Atlanta Show.
The show was divided into sections. For example the General Gift, Tabletop, Accent on Design and Children and Baby and personal accessories.
The Accent on Design section was a bit of a disappointment. I remembered it as being an exciting, innovative and inspiring part of the show with booths from all over the world and varied product lines. This year it seemed to me to be a bit lackluster.
Despite the rain and snow the show was well populated which was encouraging.
Dennis and I were very surprised at the overall change in the show. We found very few gift and stationery companies in the Gift Division. There were more companies that sold pillows and clothing. Many more companies that sold the kind of giftware that would fit in with some of the categories I names above.For the most part not the kind of products that would require licensed artists for the designing.There were lots of big publishers like Penguin, Chronicle and Workman to name a few. More companies that sold Judaica and body care products. In the tabletop division most of the companies that have always shown at the gift show were there.
Despite these drawbacks (from our point of view as art licensors) we enjoyed walking the show. We made new contacts and did some trend spotting. Of course owls everywhere. We also had a good meeting with a potential client. We returned to the studio and began working on a few presentations for this company.
Tonight I was remembering advice that was given to us when we were first starting out as illustrators and we took a wonderful course offered then by Elaine Sorel which truly gave us a legs up on our journey into the world of illustration and commercial art. Elaine beside being the wife of Ed Sorel the well known illustrator and one of the co founders of the Push Pin Studios was a thorough professional and very knowledgable person about how to do business as an artist and succeed at it. She had been an artists agent for 15 years representing top people in creative fields. She began doing the workshops when she stopped being an agent. One of the things she told us that I have never forgot (and I paraphrase). “It’s important to genuinely enjoy the people that you are doing business with.” Don’t fake it in order to get work. You are much more likely to get ahead if you form relationships that are mutually enjoyable by all.” I was reminded of that today as we had our meeting. She also said, and again I paraphrase ” Don’t show your work with the expectation of getting work. Show it because you are proud of what you do and want to share your creativity.”
I also have the pleasure of knowing Elaine’s very talented artist and teacher, daughter Madelaine Sorel. Madelaine and I are both part of an illustrators lunch group that was founded and kept alive by the efforts of Margaret Cusack, who is both a wonderful stitchery artist and a world class promoter. It was difficult picking an image to use in this post as Margaret has many varied and wonderful stitched art that has been used in editorial, advertising and gallerty exhibits. This lunch group has been meeting once a month for lunch for over 20 years. It has been a life saver and thriving sharing creative community for those of us who have been regulars.We share business, art and our personal lives at these monthly meetings.
And once again Dennis and I are back at work doing what we love most. Designing and painting and dreaming about our next project. Top priority is finishing the two remaining Halloween cupcake designs.
Art licensing is a risky and exciting business to be in. Whoo knows where it will lead us next.
21 responses to “The New York Gift Show at the Javitts Center”
Great post, as always! Thanks for being the eyes and ears for those of us who could not attend the gift shows
Hi there dogsledder,
Guess you are back and I’ll be waiting to hear about and see pictures of the adventure. Dennis couldn’t believe what you were doing.
I wasn'[t that surprised. I know you are a gutsy person who likes a lot of variety in your life.
Thanks for being a constant follower and for you feedback which is o so helpful.
Analik of the Village
Really enjoyed this informative and helpful post. Thanks.
Should have come in on my name. I really did like this post. Even with the narrower focus on products, I wish you and Dennis great success
Hi there, Thanks again for the comment. This did come in in your name and gravatar. Strange things happen from device to device.
And thanks again for being a great help, constant follower and for your comments and support
Wonderful photo of Abingdon Square Park from your “office” window, with the twinkling red/orange lights matching the orange umbrellas.
And I just love Whoo Knows.
Thanks Norma for being such a constant follower.It makes all the difference,
These nighttime photos are taken without flash with my i phone camera. Amazing isn’t it.
To whit to Whoo
Andrea, What a wonderful peek inside the world of gift shows, and the lives of two artists making a living with their Art in this increasingly competitive and ever-changing world. Clearly there’s the creation, design and making of the Art, but then you have to be constantly out there, and everywhere. Did they teach you that fact in art school?
Was this the International Gift Show they just had in January?
It must be difficult, but exciting to try to sense what people will
want, or take a fancy to next season. And to be interested in the people and not if they will, or will not, like your offering. That’s a tough, but commendable piece of advice Ms. Sorel gave you all. Love your work, share it, but detach from the rewards, and enjoy the people you meet. Margaret Cusack’s illustration is lovely and perfect for what you’ve shared in this blog.
As for Owls, yes I see them everywhere too. It seems we need them now more than ever. They seem to know stuff we don’t. And they don’t seem afraid. Now your Owl is wise and adorable I love him. And I’d love to see him on napkins, cups, and plates and centerpieces, a front door decoration. But if he were made of frosting on a cupcake I don’t think I could eat him. He’s too wise and precious.
Thanks so much for sharing all this with us.
What a wonderful commentary to receive. It helps to make me feel that this was an interesting post. When I was first learning to blog my teacher said there are three essential things that should be part of every post.
Educational. Entertainment. Philosophical. That has been so helpful as a guideline.
The business of being an artist was not taught when I went to art school.
Even now it is not stressed, but from what i have seen art students are better prepared. So that’s an improvement. When I first started freelancing you just called up everyone you knew who was experienced in the field and asked them for help and advice. Even if you didn’t know them you called. It was a good way to network. There were no computers and no social networking then.
Yes Elaine Sorel’s course was one of the most valuable Dennis and I took.
You are right about owls. They are wise. They are fiercely protective of their young.They have incredibly keen sight. That’s why the big eyes.Remarkable hearing. Our western culture associates the owl with wisdom. And probably much more. They are definitely to be loved and admired and protected.
My cupcake topper owl appreciates your sentiments.
Thanks also for your suggestions of other products you could see him on. That kind of feedback is always welcome and helpful.
Oh, Mr. Owl is a topper, like something you stick in the cupcake? That would be different, that’s adorable. I really like him.
Love Da Cheese
He appreciates your comment. Eat him or not eat him he is now a fan of yuours. a fan of yours.
Also, your blogs are excellent you really impart all your blog teacher taught you. They really are gifts. So many blogs are self involved and self conscious. Yours are the opposite. Thanks Bagel.
Oh I am blushing. So many nice things. thanks. the bagel is an extrovert. she always wants everyone to know if she is filled with cream cheese, jelly or lox. I enjoy blogging as much as I have always loved journaling. You know it’s that friendly show off in me. Love the well blogged bag
Sent from my iPad
Enjoyed reading this. I too studied with Elaine Sorel at the beginning of my career. We should have a reunion party… Cute frog!! Good seeing Margaret’s work too!
isn’t that. Small world we illustrators Re in. she was a terrific lady and. Really inspirational teacher.
hanks for liking my “owl”. not exactly a frog, but I’ll have to take a second look.
do you know any other graduates of her course? It would be fun.
Hope to see you soon and thanks for commenting on the post.
Sorry for all the typos in my comment. I am now working on a series of owl designs. Have studied frogs since your comment and made sure that all my owls can say WHOO.
One of your best entries yet/ Whooo knows? We know!
Nancy and Bob
Why thanks so much Nancy. And thanks for being such a faithful reader.Have missed seeing you and will call.
Am now working on a series of owl paintings. I’ve noticed that I seem to stay awake at night and hunt with the cats.
Andrea, Thanks so much for mentioning me in your blog. I have yet to get both my blog and my website working properly. Currently, the images on my site are way too pale (the one you included is much richer in reality.) I need to swap the pale ones out and replace them with the images that have been corrected.
Twas a pleasure to be able to praise you publicly. Your work is wonderful. I hadn’t noticed when I was on your site that the images were too pale. But you as the artiste know best. Didn’t know you are starting a blog. If I can be of help let me know. Are you using WordPress or another platform?