Category Archives: Manufacturers

Our licensing partners

The new updated Everyday Dogs collection

Just before I start the “Everything you need to know about Trade Shows” post I wanted to show off Dennis’ new collection called Everyday Dogs

Dennis in a more serious moment

An early dog lover

This new collection, great for home decor products, paper goods and more,  is fresh off the drawing board.

We are celebrating with a dog biscuit party for all our canine friends in the neighborhood.

Hang this wall plaque over Dog’s favorite spot.

We envisioned Everyday Dogs as a fun line for dog products as well as people products for dog lovers.

All dogs are good when they are hungry.

Along with this fun collection for dog lovers and their canine pals we will introduce figurines of the star dogs in this collection which can be made of porcelain , plastic or plush.

Each  Everyday Dog will be known by name and have a hang tag with a brief doggy bio. They will come with their own unique dog houses or condos as they prefer their homes to be called. Another nice add on will be accessories such as leashes, collars, sweaters and and possibly hats and boots. Sorry no skinny jeans!

Share your morning coffee with your favorite Everyday Dog.

You can even have coffee in bed on an Everyday Dog tray!

And of course the dogs will have their own Everyday Dog bowls as part of the line.

And while you are breakfasting in bed relax and lean back on an Everyday Dog pillow

Of course your dog will expect you to use the Everyday Dog Salt and pepper shakers for your eggs.

So that’s it folks. All we need now is a manufacturer licensing partner for this line.

Click to follow this blog and you will be helping in this endeavor.

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Filed under Collection, Dog products, Dog products and giftware, Licensing, Manufacturers

Atlanta part 2- An outline of everything you will need to know about trade shows

If you are going to walk a trade show – especially one as large as the Atlanta Gift Mart – there’s a lot you should know.

This post will give you an outline of what is important not only for the Atlanta show, but for any trade show you plan to attend. Then each successive post will cover one or two of the topics outlined here. Take it in small bites. There’s a lot of information to consider.

The first thing you should do, and yes do it now, is look at a schedule of shows for 2012 -0 2013.  Click on this link :trade show calendars, home decor and gifts.

Your primary goal is to find companies that you want to work with, so I will tell you about:

  1. What information  you need to make those decisions.
  2. How  you go about setting up appointments, and how and when you make your appointment calls.  How you keep track of your calls and responses. How to set up your schedule.  How you follow through after your calls to confirm an appointment. How to keep in touch. And most important of all how you enjoy and not dread the process. How you can keep a positive mind set.
  3. How and when to make your hotel and plane reservations. If you are watching your budget some tips on how and where to cut corners and when not to. If you are able take a few extra days to do some enjoyable sightseeing that will only add to the experience. Do set aside time for fun and enjoyment both at the show and socializing after or during the show.
 It’s important to have a plan for both your appointments and for walking the show. I will take you through a few of the manufacturers showrooms I visited and tell you why I chose these companies. I will also tell you what my goals were for now and for the future regarding all the companies I visited and met with at the show. I will also tell you:
  1. How to decide what you are looking for.
  2. Deciding what you goals are.
  3. How to approach a new company and make contact.  What questions you need to ask.  What you should expect at a meeting.
  4. How you should and want  to come across.
  5. How to establish a personal rapport that you can build on.
  6. How to be yourself and overcome anxiety.
  7. How to follow your instincts.
  8. How you should dress. I googled in many different ways to look at fashions for creative people. One of the helpful catch phrases was,”fashion for the artist “. Most of what I found was for women. But guys please do not feel left out. I’m still searching around for some good sites.

Catch phrases

One of my favorite parts of the research process is trend spotting. I will tell you how and where I look for present and future trends in the art licensing markets ; how to decide what other markets you should keep track of. Take photos everywhere and all the time. It’s fun and everything you see makes for great reference and inspiration. And google, google, google. Sometimes I google 10 times with different catch phrases to get what I am looking for.

 And when you come back to your studio exhilarated and excited, feeling inspired and full of energy…
  1. How and when  to do your follow thru.
  2. A good way to keep track of all the information you have gathered.
  3. How to use a gant chart and why it is so helpful.
  4. Asking yourself what new artwork do you want to do based on what you have seen and learned.

inspiration for new artwork

And don’t forget to congratulate and reward yourself for your effort and a for marketing job well done!

Your questions and comments on these outlined topics will be helpful.

 

 

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Filed under Airlines, Art and Design, Atlanta, Creativity and Fun, Fashion for the Artist, Hotels, Licensing, Manufacturers, Trade shows, Trends

IN BETWEEN THE ATLANTA POSTS -The great cake baking caper

I did say at the start that among other things this blog would include events in our lives that impact on our work and creativity. Just what do we need to do to nurture that creativity? Inspiration can be drawn from many different  experiences.  Coincidentally, as I was thinking this I went to my friend Joana Miranda’s wonderful blog A Talent for Design, I found the idea of “make time to play” especially pertinent.

With fun on our minds and a significant birthday coming up for our tall, gray and handsome brother-in-law my sister Pat and I decided to bake the cake! I may add that this was the first time either of us had undertaken to decorate a birthday cake. We didn’t know what to expect except that this was an adventure. Explorers were we.

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Sister Witches

We came up with the idea of dressing as witches to make this all much more fun. Our wonderful witch hats came from Cracker Barrel!

We hoped that by chanting spells such as Double Double Toil and Trouble, Cauldron boil and caldron bubble…….and singing songs such as Witchcraft we could entice our niece and two nephews into the  kitchen to have some fun with us.

THE NEPHEWS JOSH AND ZACH

The wrapping of the cake from Tales of the Crypt

One by one they appeared in the kitchen at first to watch and then to take part in our fun. We trimmed, iced and decorated. We cut out leaves and made the grapes.

SUCCESS

The wrapping up of the cake to keep it fresh till the next day was its own ceremony. The cake was handled like gold.

Paper Tableware for Converting

The paper tableware  we used was one of my designs called Summer Berries.It was licensed to Creative Converting . In licensing as I mentioned every design can be licensed for many different kinds of products. This design was also recipe cards, memo pads and labels for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Much  to our surprise when all was said and done everyone thought it was delicious  and gorgeous and oohed and aahed. Love went a long way in smoothing out the holes and bumps you might have noticed.

Moving forward we may even take a cake baking course either at the NY Cake and Baking Supplies. , or at a The Institute of Culinary Education.

Peony and Poppies from the Botanica collection

Botanica Lily collage

Back in my studio after the party I am finishing up my new floral designs. You may remember I wrote about them in the First Atlanta post. We put the finishing touches on them today. I am anticipating doing more in this collection including some coordinating designs.

Dennis has been hard at work also.

Pillow from the Everyday Dogs Collection

Every Day Dogs Design by Dennis

Christmas Dogs

The “Beware of the Dog’s” pillow is the start of Dennis’ new “Everyday Dogs” collection. A christmas version of this whimsical doggie design has also been licensed for fabric by Timeless Treasures. My next post will be Part 2 of the July Atlanta Show. I’ll showcase a few of the companies I met with in their showrooms and talk about setting appointments, scheduling, meeting and doing follow through.

As always remember that your comments are most welcome.

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Filed under Art and Design, Cooking and Baking, Creativity and Fun, Licensing, Manufacturers

The Atlanta July Gift Show, Part One

After Surtex there were about three weeks to do the show follow-thru, get ourselves organized and think about new artwork. Most of our current clients are in the papergoods market, i.e. paper tableware, stationery, shopping bags and greeting cards. We have a few clients in the home decor area like EvergreenBurton and Burton and Robert Kaufman (fabrics).

At one of our meetings after the show we decided that  we wanted to expand into the gift and home decor market. There are several reasons why. One is to increase our client base. Two, to develop products in a new market area. And three, to stretch the inspiration for our creativity. New markets equals new ideas. And did I mention to increase income?

So, we decided that I should go to the big Atlanta July Gift show to scout out new companies.

In order to do this I researched companies that we had visited in Atlanta in January 2012. Then I spent my mornings for three weeks making phone calls to set up appointments for the show. I was in a happy creative frenzy creating new designs. I was warming up to do a loose fun watercolor style that was different than the way I had been working. I always forget that there is a learning curve with watercolor whenever you try a new style.

I got impatient and frustrated. It just wasn’t working out. I knew what I wanted to do but it wasn’t happening as fast as I would have liked. You cannot rush or force watercolor to do what you want. It’s a watery flowing medium and unless you flow with it nothing works.

Dennis, on the other hand, is a steady worker. He gets his ideas and  creative direction as he progresses on with a design. He knows that this is his process. I typically keep losing sight of my process. That’s my Aries nature. Always forgetting and running headfirst into that same wall. Experience and maturity have tempered it a bit. Whew!

The night before leaving I laid out my clothes for the trip, worked on a painting, and played with Maggie, our cat. I fell asleep around 2 am and got up at 5.

Bye bye Bus stop Cafe

Said goodbye to Dennis, the kitties and Greenwich Village.

Departure from La Guardia Airport

I love getting to the airport early enough to have time to stay relaxed about the check-in time. Shoes off, get patted down, explain away suspicious items like a nail file. The bonus is that I can browse the stores, read a paper and have my coffee and bagel before it is boarding time.

One Artist Aloft

Ah, finally on the plane. Cramped, no leg room, but nice people to chat with and my iPad to keep me amused.

My home away from home

I was lucky to get a reservation at the Days Inn. Everything else downtown was booked. I’ll give you a few tips about booking and when to do it in the next couple of posts. Stay tuned! The nicest surprise was finding that I was just down the hill from the Gift Mart.

Too tired to walk up the hill to the show Thursday afternoon I spent the time between naps strolling downtown Atlanta. It was a nice surprise to find that it was a pretty little city and not just a downtown business district.

Bridges everywhere connecting the three huge buildings

Friday morning I got up early and after a full breakfast (the kind I like) I headed up the hill with the crowds (mostly women buyers) to  America’s Mart. The Mart is actually three 18-story buildings with connecting bridges on different levels. For those who are not familiar with this show it’s main purpose is for the manufacturers to take orders from the retailers who walk the show and shop for their own gift shops.

It takes a bit of navigating and sometimes you just go in circles and get frustrated and feel like yelling “Let me Out of Here!”

Building 1 consists of showrooms for manufacturers of  bedding, rugs, furniture, lighting and more. More broadly it houses the home decor showrooms. Building 2  and its new wing 2W is where I spent most of my time. This is the Gift building and houses companies like the ones I will be featuring in my next two posts such as Enesco, Manual Woodworkers, Burton and Burton, Transpac, C & F and Evergreen Enterprises.

There are also are two sections that are fun and inspirational to walk through. They are the”Living Outdoor/Indoor Gardens (garden statues, furniture, art fountains, flags and wonderful food). The new Gourmet Food Section, in building 2 has cooking demos, books, kitchen products and food tastings. Yum! I made it to the Garden section and walked through with Lucinda who I’ll introduce a little further on.

And then there is  building 3.  I’d have to stay an extra day to walk through  some of the showrooms there, but it would be such a treat. Building 3 houses The Fashion Accessories and fine Jewelry Showrooms. It is known as the Apparel Mart. And some of the showrooms let you shop at wholesale price. Bring your credit card!

Friends at the Show

Chris Peterson and Peter Spader (Chris in the middle and Peter on the right) were my  art reps for around 9 years. Their agency is called C.P. Licensing, and they have been in this business for more than 20 years. About 10 years ago, Dennis and I branched off to be on our own. We’ve all remained friends. Chris and Peter and I met up for lunch each day and had a fun dinner, Margaritas and all, one evening. I learned a lot from them when they were our reps. It was great to do some of the show with them and continue to learn. They are both generous in sharing of themselves and their vast knowledge from years of being Licensing artist Agents. It is very important from my experience to spend a few years at least going it on your own before you sign up with a rep for a number of reasons. More on this also in the next several posts.
Lucinda Wei, a friend and talented designer, walked some of the show with me. I wanted to show her how I would approach  potential customers in their showrooms.

                                                           

Yes I was really there.

Chris finally insisted on taking a photo of me just to prove to my readers that I was really at the Show. Well I was folks and I loved every minute of it.

HOME!

My traditional welcome back home

I guess Roosevelt Bear missed me!

In the posts that follow this I will talk about the nuts and bolts of making calls for appointments. It’s important too to make calls for catching up on  both personal and business stuff and finding out what a company is looking for and what is the time period to submit these designs.  Then you need to organize all this information so it works for you! More on that in the next few posts. The calls and appointments are an important part of what you need to do when you want to start expanding into a new part of the licensing market. Or, to start out in the business.

I’ll also take you on a virtual tour of three large showrooms and walk you through a “Meeting”. For now I’ll tell you one very important thing I have learned: Networking is one of the most essential things you can do. And it’s fun and sociable. Keeps you out of the kind of trouble that can come if you become too isolated. And that trouble can be both personal and professional. I didn’t always like doing it, but the more you do the more comfortable you feel. You can make friends along the way with people you work with.

More to come about the Atlanta Show. Keep tuned and please send me your questions and comments.

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Filed under Airlines, Art and Design, Atlanta, Creativity and Fun, Hotels, Kitchen and Food, Licensing, Manufacturers, Marketing, Trade Show, Uncategorized