Essential Facts for Business Success in Licensing Your Artwork – THINK PRODUCT

Hello, my name is Carol Eldridge and I have been licensing my artwork for products for over 20 years to major manufacturers through out the United States and overseas. I’m also a consultant for artists who wish to license their designs. My work has appeared in major retail stores along with smaller gift shops and has been seen on TV shows, catalogs, on line shopping, and in fund raising catalogs. I have exhibited at Surtex for over 20 years, serving on the show’s advisory board and giving seminars on art licensing. I have also exhibited at the Brand Licensing show in London, England and the CHA show in Las Vegas. My work has been licensed for calendars, dinnerware, fabric, giftware, Christmas ornaments, rugs, wallpaper, clothing, stationery, wrapping paper and gift bags, ribbons, books, tiles, pottery, stickers, scrapbook materials, sheets, cotton throws, ceramics, kitchen textiles, ironing board covers, floor mats, aprons, mugs and just about anything else you can think of. My designs have sold in the millions at retail.

I am very fortunate to have a good business head and intuitive marketing skills that have enabled me to stand above the crowd. It is not enough today to just be a good artist in order to make a living licensing your artwork. It is important to understand the business, the facts and terminology, what should be covered in a licensing contract, marketing strategies, trends, building a brand, websites and blogs, other social medias such as Twitter and Facebook, how to think product, how to communicate with your companies and if you should use an agent or not.

My hope is to set some standards in the business and help other artists be aware of the business of art, be smart, be savvy and be very professional.

THINK PRODUCT

Lots of artists have talent…they can paint a beautiful watercolor of a landscape or beach scene, but how does that translate to the retail market?

You need to THINK PRODUCT…the more vision that you have to show the manufacturer what the line or product could look like, the better chance you have to get their attention.

This ties into trends and what is going on in the market…I think you need to be aware of everything around you so you can be on target for what the companies might be looking for.

Shop the retail environment, take notes, notice what the companies are manufacturing, what are you seeing for trends, what is showing up in shelter magazines, what is happening in fashion, what types of products seem to be selling well. How can you design an image that will work well on dinner plates or tabletop? How can you design a Christmas collection that will translate to ornaments as well as holiday tabletop? Can you draw up an actual product with your design image applied to show what the possibilities could be? Can you think outside the perimeters of the drawing pad?

In developing designs, you need to work on images that can expand into patterns, borders and other accessory pieces to make a collection that will merchandise well. A single image is not the answer. You need to think COLLECTION and how the pieces can coordinate together to tell a story.

You need to be able to create a scalable image that can be used on a multitude of products. How will it apply to the retail market? Will it sell and who will buy it? Does it have a general appeal? Is it a design that will appeal to a broad range of people?

Think of a design concept that is clever and trendy, is innovative with a fresh approach, has a broad appeal and has an application to a myriad of products that the consumer will just feel that they have “Got to have it” and you will be on the way to licensing your designs.

Thank you Fairy Godmother Carol for sharing your expertise with us! If you’d like to contact Carol for consulting, say hello  through her website.

This entry was posted in Startup & Grow and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

5 Responses to “Essential Facts for Business Success in Licensing Your Artwork – THINK PRODUCT”

  1. Carl Beaulieu on July 23rd, 2009 9:01 am

    I am an Artist, obviously…I liked your ideas about fitting the art to the products. I am new to all this and I need to get a steady income, well, like everyone does. I am selling here in Portland Oregon, at the Saturday Market…But frankly, its fun, but its not very lucrative so far. I guess I need to find how to get licenses going. Thanks for the insight.
    Carl

  2. Laurie Ragan on September 29th, 2009 5:41 pm

    I have been doing art, murals, and faux finishes for many, many years. (took faux classes w/Martin Alan Hirsch, Decorative Finishes Studio, KY) Self Taught artist. I am back doing paintings, selling prints, and getting a web site done. I would like to sell the prints, do note cards on the internet so I can finally, after all the years of hard work, I can sit back and just paint pictures and let the web site sell for me. Needless to say, craft shows and local little art shows are not really money makers. How do you make yourself “big” on the internet? If I had a dollar for every compliment I get………….Thanks, Laurie

  3. Laurie Ragan on January 30th, 2010 5:06 pm

    My fine art prints sell well in my area. I just designed a 4 seasons set that I think would look good on mugs, desert plates, etc. Where do you begin, and with whom do you talk with?

  4. Ginger Brady on November 1st, 2010 1:31 pm

    Carol,
    Thank you for your inspiring article. I am a graphite & Charcoal artist here in the Portland, Or. area and would love to license my art work. I have line of greeting cards now but would like to expand my art to other items. Any and all advice would be great.
    Thanks in advance,
    Ginger Brady
    http://www.gingerbrady.com
    gingersportraits@aol.com

  5. startupprincess on November 5th, 2010 5:21 pm

    feel free to reach out to Carol, she does coaching :)

Got something to say?





Become A Startup Princess

Startup Princess is an international network committed to empowering Women Entrepreneurs by offering resources for women in business to support, mentor, collaborate, learn from, and inspire one another. In 2006, after struggling to raise funding for an initial startup business venture, Kelly King Anderson recognized an important market niche existed for reliable resources educating women desiring to start and grow successful businesses, thus Startup Princess was developed.

Successful women entrepreneurs understand that for every business venture, they are in charge of creating, organizing, developing, managing, and assuming all the risks associated with their enterprise. That can seem quite intimidating but as other women business owners will tell you, it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it! Success is within your grasp and Startup Princess is here to help.

First, join as a member of Startup Princess and start building a solid foundation. Membership entitles you to a listing in the Startup Princess Online Directory where we list women owned businesses. You’ll also access exclusive content like articles, videos, and audio straight from your email inbox. Coupled with feature interviews, discounts on events, networking connections, and press opportunities, your Startup Princess membership will give any woman entrepreneur a great start for her business!

Then, take advantage of Touchpoint, our annual business conference for women entrepreneurs. Practical planning meets sky-high inspiration at this high-impact event for women business owners to network and develop their approach to business with wisdom and creative direction from other women entrepreneurs across the country.

Need a little help taking your business to the next step? Wish you had a fairy godmother like Cinderella offering you a helping hand? Now you can! Startup Princess is the home of Fairy Godmother Consulting, volunteer mentors sharing tips and insights to bless the lives of other women entrepreneurs.

Startup Princess can offer many benefits to women in business from future women business owners to successful women entrepreneurs. Please call or fill out our contact form with questions, concerns, or general interest and let us help you by giving you full access to everything Startup Princess has to offer!