41 Madison Tabletop Show 2014

Oct 27, 2014

Have you ever wondered if there is a place where you can see the finest names and newest trends in Tabletop Giftware? Well great, news… there is! Forty One Madison in New York City is a building full of Giftware, Dinnerware, Flatware and Housewares brands of exceptional design and quality. The tabletop show happens twice a year (once in the autumn and again in the spring). This year, the fall edition (October 21 – 24) marked the show’s 40th anniversary of bringing new tabletop and accessories to the marketplace.

The Art Licensing Sales team hopped on the train and headed down to New York City on Friday to go to the show. We had many meetings with new and existing clients. We got a lot of positive feedback about the artwork we presented. We were so excited when we got there and saw so many products with our images beautifully displayed in the showrooms. In the Certified International showroom we were able to get a sneak peek of some of the collections that will be in this year’s catalog, including “Paris Sunflowers” by Color Bakery.

Another Color Bakery collection, “Aria,” was also on display for the buyers.

Art Licensing Studio’s “Rustic Roosters” was featured as well.

In Thirstystone’s showroom, we saw lots of fun coasters with our images!

In the Mr. Christmas showroom, we got to see so many fun products, including illuminated wall décor. It is so magical to see the canvas transform once the lights are turned on.

The sales team came back to Vermont with a huge “To Do” list for follow up. We will be working on the next great tabletop collection with the artists and manufacturers. Keep your eyes peeled on our website and social media sites to see where you can view the next dinnerware set that we help to develop!

To view all of the photos from the tabletop show, take a look at our facebook photo album. For more information regarding licensing for tabletop products, contact us. 

Posted by: syrenam

Creating Art to Sell On Products. A testimonial from our artist, Color Bakery.

Jan 07, 2014

Our experienced artists, Mindy Sommers, answered a few questions about what the licensing world is like for an artist. 

   

 

ALI: Let’s start with the basics. What is your name and where are you from?

 

MINDY: My name is Mindy Hope Sommers, and I also go under the name of Color Bakery, my custom art tile company. I am a digital artist, I live in a 200 year old New England house that is painted completely and totally purple---inside and out. We also have an open garden art gallery on our front lawn). My husband, a Texan, had the courage to marry a Brooklyn girl (the cultural differences and how we tackled them are worthy of at least a short play) and we both compromised on Vermont. We have two cats, Emily and Marcie, and we both dote on them shamelessly.

 

ALI: What tools do you use to create your art?  

 

MINDY: Photoshop, Photoshop, and Photoshop. The mother of all tools, the biggest, baddest weapon in any digital artist's arsenal.

 

ALI:  How long have you been licensing your art?

 

MINDY: I started licensing my work in February of 2010. The CEO of a licensing company called me on a Saturday morning after having seen my work online on Color Bakery. I wasn't really doing the kind of stuff that was licensing-ready, but I think he saw potential and was willing to take a chance on me. I am grateful to him for that chance, and I was hell-bent on making the most of the opportunity. It's a funny thing---you sign, and there's the excitement of signing, and there is some validation in that someone thinks enough of your art to represent you. But then you realize you have way bigger hurdles to scale. You look at your peers that your agent represents and you say, "My Dear God, these artists are beyond awesome, I am competing against them! Oh my God, I'm not good enough!" And then after you have some successes and you get more confidence, you realize there's a world of artists out there---outside your agent---that are simply brilliant, insanely talented, and you're competing with them for a piece of that very same small pie.

 

But I've learned to put that out of my mind and try to stay as true to my vision as I can, buck trends when I can, rebel when I can, pick my spots. I tend to be a loose cannon, I like non-traditional color palettes and would rather start a trend than follow one, but in licensing that isn't always realistic. I've learned a lot and am still learning. Since there is no rulebook for licensing, you fly by the seat of your pants and it's a continuing education. I love licensing for many reasons, not the least of which you get to sell the same image over and over again ;) But on a more serious note, it's incredible to be able to actually work with a manufacturer to design a product line and then see the fruits of your labor when the designs you agonized over are now arranged stunningly on a showroom display table and the buyers are excited about what they're seeing. It makes the countless all-nighters worth it :) 

 

 

ALI: What is your favorite trade show to exhibit at?

 

MINDY: I am not an exhibit person or a show person---I'd rather sit quietly behind the scenes and have my agent handle the hand-shakes and presentations. After having a long sales career, I am kind of tired of the promotion part. I like working and creating alone after so many years of corporate life, and to me shows remind me of that. Seeing photos of my stuff at shows is usually enough for me, it's just not my thing. However, I am going to attend my first licensing-related show this October in my hometown, NYC. I am looking forward to that. This show is kinda special to me.

 

 

ALI:  What do you suggest artists new to the licensing world?

 

MINDY: I think they have to decide whether or not they want to represent themselves or sign with an agent. Whichever path they choose, they must be prepared with a serious, comprehensive portfolio that has just beef and no fat in it, i.e., the very best work they've done. The next step is figuring out where they fit in, where their strengths lie. Is their work more suitable for greeting cards or are they more of a pattern designer for fabric? Are they more niched or are they more diverse?  I promise you that you won't waste your time if you spend hours upon hours looking at art licensing companies *and* successful artists online and see what kind of work is going on what kind of product. Then you will be able to objectively assess your own portfolio to see what market would be most likely to buy your work. Make sure you show your art in collections of twos and fours, images that match and complement each other. And finally, once you decide the kind of products your art would work best on, make presentation sheets using templates shaped liked products so that either prospective agents or prospective manufacturers can easily visualize your art on products.

 

 

ALI:  What is it like to work in the mass market?

 

MINDY: It seems to me that this recession has made manufacturers a bit gun-shy about being stuck with inventory that doesn't move so they are less likely to take chances with new ideas than they might have in the past. Hopefully, since the economy is an ever-swinging pendulum, the manufacturing sector will get strong again and with it more opportunities for artists and more risk-taking on a creative level. Seeing the same stuff on the retail shelves year after year is very telling about the lack of risk-taking at this point in time. It's pretty evident to anyone who does any amount of shopping. 

 

ALI: What do you think are the newest trends?

 

MINDY: I have to admit that I am vigilant in ignoring, as best I can, trends and fads in licensing. I find them distracting and somewhat useless. I don't want to do what everyone else is doing and I don't want to use a color palette just because some color research firm or focus group said that aqua and sage green is the hot color combo this year. I don't care. I truly believe if the art is quality, and the artist stays true to his/her vision, they will rise quite nicely without needing to obsess about market trends---the manufacturers will react positively to good work even if it doesn't fit their preconceived notions or wish lists.

 

I don't think manufacturers necessarily always know what they want; some of them may actually want to be shown something they've never seen before, Sure, we'll always have those "point and shoot" kind of projects when a manufacturer will tell you exactly what they want you to design and the artist's creative input is minimal, and that's cool, but I think there are many companies out there who are so bored of seeing the same old stuff that they are open to new possibilities. What was of major interest to manufacturers this year? The same thing that's of interest to them every year: making money and getting a bigger piece of the market share. They just have different philosophies about how to achieve that goal. My personal opinion is that playing it safe is never the road to dominating any market in any industry.

 

 

ALI: What advice would you give other artists that are interested in the art licensing field?

 

MINDY: If you think that your art comes from the angels in the cosmos and that you wouldn't dream of changing that sage green to a golden amber, or you wince when you're art-directed or critiqued, run from licensing as quickly as you can because it's not for you. Licensing is not about creating art as much as it is about selling products. Leave as much of your ego at the door as possible and be prepared to be extremely flexible, turn a project on a dime and happily make changes to your work that may, at times, make your stomach roil. If you want the most exciting roller coaster ride of your life and are willing to work very hard (very, very hard) and redo that tomato fifteen times when the customer asks you to, you'll do just fine in licensing. In fact, you'll love it!

Posted by: syrenam

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Dec 05, 2013

The weather is getting colder in Vermont, we are patiently waiting for some snow, and we have plenty of holiday cheer at Art Licensing. It is easy to be excited for the holidays when our artists spoil us! Yesterday we were pleasantly surprised when one our most prolific artists, Mindy Sommers, of Color Bakery stopped in to visit us.

 

Mindy and her husband, Glen, took the trip to our office to shower us with sweet treats to express their thanks for all the hard work the Art Licensing team does to promote her work. We are thankful for the sweet treats she brought as well as all the wonderful artwork she produces for us. We also enjoyed visiting with both Mindy and Glen because in this industry we often communicate with our artists and customers by e-mail and via phone; therefore it’s very rewarding to get the opportunity to have some face-to-face time. We are excited to hear about all of the amazing ideas she has in store for creating new art for the upcoming year. 

 

Here you can see Mindy with Jack (CEO) holding 2 pieces from her tabletop collection, “Le Pavot.”

 

Here you can see Mindy with Syrena (Licensing Associate). Mindy is holding a bowl from “Le Pavot” and Syrena is holding a bowl from the pasta set, “Toscana.” This pasta set can be purchased exclusively at Bed Bath and Beyond.

 

Color Bakery’s art is perfect for all product categories. Mindy’s images can be found on wall décor, tabletop products, fabric, purses, floor mats, etc. Mindy is always sending us new art to share with our customers. Keep your eyes out for her latest pieces by viewing her portfolio.

Posted by: syrenam

The October 2013 Tabletop Show was a success!

Oct 23, 2013

 The NY Tabletop show at 41 Madison was a great show for us (and our artists)! We were very busy, meeting with new and existing clients, all of who were very enthusiastic to work with us. We got a lot of positive feedback about the artwork our artists have worked very hard to produce.  

  

For our presentations, we make sure to go the extra mile! We know that each customer has different art needs and their products require variations of the artwork. We provide the customer with Presentation Sheets (along with the original art) to show how the artwork can be changed, rearranged, and manipulated allowing it to fit to nearly any format and product. Here is an example of a presentation sheet our artist, Color Bakery, created.

 

 

 

 

 

We showed this presentation sheet to a customer a few months ago and they loved it. They decided to move forward and create a line with these images. Here are some pictures of what the actual products look like on the shelves at the show! 

             

Aside from “Wines of France,” Color Bakery also had another collection being featured at the show, “Patisserie.” It is amazing to see the finished goods on the shelves- they look GREAT! 

  

                     

We have come back from “the Big Apple” exhausted, but eager to share all of the good news with our team and artists. We also came home with a laundry list of contract requests, new art requests, and general feedback about our art. Our artists are already feverishly working on new collections to fill the requests from our customers. Keep checking our website to see what is new. 

  

To view all of the photos from the tabletop show, please look at the Tabletop Album on our Facebook. 

Posted by: syrenam

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