Excerpts from Jeanette Smith's Blog
I noticed while at the Stationery Show, that exhibitors were literally busy writing orders, so it was tougher than usual for folks in the booths to keep their appointments or for us 'walkers' to just drop by. Thank goodness for the stationery pros who depend on both artists and agents and travel with their designated licensing director to hold meetings.
Those with successful product lines seem to be attributing it to doing their research in the marketplace and not being afraid to stick with tried and true formulas. If isn’t broke; they aren’t fixing it. Companies are researching the market more; they don’t just have an idea of what they want but know the general theme/occasion and specific subject matter, style and color palette. For example, they don’t just want any Christmas art, but holiday reindeer with a modern design and lime/red palette. I see some manufacturers doing less generic “calls” for art and more detailed requests which are based on their sales experience and trend research. There are opportunities out there for those who don’t mind parameters. And there is frustration for the manufacturers if they provide detailed information on what they want and you grab something generic from your file and send it in. I don't recommend doing that, as they won't for get. It's better not to send something, rather than annoy the manufacturer.
On a different note: Not only do I speak with many artists looking for agents, but I consult with lots of artists who aren’t happy with their current agents. It could be a relationship of one year or 10 years. I hope each of you who were at the show to find an agent will do lots of due diligence before entering into your agreements. One of my clients, who I helped connect with an agent, just signed seven new deals in 1st quarter 2010. So not everyone is unhappy. And many agents I spoke with were very busy and pleased with the deals on their plates and expressed needs from manufacturers.