I am gearing up to do my first licensing trade show, Surtex, in the beginning of May and there are so many things to do!
Over the last five years, I have done a ton of markets and craft fairs. Like many other artists, these type of fairs are our first foray into selling our artwork and products. I have also tackled Wholesale Tradeshows, in which I connected with buyers from companies of all sizes that were looking to purchase my products to stock their shelves. My first was the Seattle Gift Show in Winter 2019. Then I exhibited at National Stationery Show in Winter 2020. (As a side note, both those shows were discontinued right after I participated…my husband used to joke that I may have been cursed and that didn’t bode well for my any future shows). Luckily I can say I am not cursed! Last year I participated in SFNOW for their inaugural show in April 2022 and then in August 2022 I showed at NYNOW – and I am happy to say that both shows are still going strong!
Surtex is a bit different than those shows - it’s an annual surface design trade show where artists and designers can meet art buyers and art directors from around the world that are looking for art for their product lines – ranging from toys, to fabrics to publishing. So this time, instead of selling my products, I am looking to sell or license my artwork to companies. From fabric collections to homes goods and even puzzles, I have had some very successful partnerships and it's time to build on that momentum and make new connections with a wider range of buyers and companies. Exhibiting at Surtex is the one of the best way to get my art in front of as many art buyers and art directors as I can all in one place.
This year Surtex is back after being on a Covid hiatus and will be in NYC on May 9 & 10 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. I initially signed up in November 2022, but as I get closer, my to-do list seems to be getting longer rather than shorter. As I ramp up my preparations, my most important task right now is reviewing my artwork. Some of my early work that was created 4 to 5 years back when I first stumbled into surface design needs to be updated. Next I will turn to the task of filling “holes” in my portfolio. Industry experts suggest that 50% of your portfolio should be Christmas/Holiday which is a big number that I am no where near.
First up: Updating and Formatting Old Work
Birds in Bloom was the first repeat pattern that I ever created. It was originally made for an illustration class when I was in Grad School back in 2016. You can definitely see that it is my work – my style of illustrating was really distinct but the repeat is fairly simple and you can clearly see where the pattern starts and ends. I reworked and recolored the pattern. I also created additional repeats to round out the collection. I have been combing through much of my earlier work and updating them just like I did the Birds in Bloom Collection.
The next step in my process is configuring them onto my 11”x17” portfolio sheets. I will print all of these sheets out in April to bring to the show. I need to also upload them onto my Airtable (a database platform) so I have multiple ways to present them in New York. With over 100 patterns and even more illustrations it is time consuming and repetitive but I love it.
Stay tuned for my next “Road to Surtex” blog post were I discuss filling some holesp in my portfolio.