Another Licensing Show

Finally we’re back on the plane after a long week at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, I think our tenth time exhibiting. Day One of the show was a very good day for us. A measure we use to judge show traffic is the time we actually manage to eat something – Ronnie brought me a sandwich about 1:30 and I wasn’t able to eat it until 4 – that’s the kind of busy we like. Days Two and Three were not nearly that crazy but still a decent show overall. We met with a number of our established clients and (after reviewing our sheets in the airport lounge today) more than a dozen brand new potential clients at the show. We think a couple of those could be exciting relationships. The show floor seemed a tad bigger, the displays a bit better, and the floor traffic a little down. Rumor had it show management was claiming that attendance was up 12%, but you wouldn’t guess that by what we were seeing or hearing from the other exhibitors. Of course I have never exhibited at a show where mgmt did not claim that traffic was up.
We did see, once again, the continuing shift of this show away from being an “art” venue. Every year there are fewer attendees willing to sit down and look through portfolios, and more who are in the market for a particular product, or category, or who are looking for something concept driven and aren’t interested in  selecting individual designs a la Surtex. In reference to the various ongoing discussions about where an artist should exhibit: from this point forward I would not recommend Licensing unless you 1) have some experience, and 2) you really have that bigger concept piece nailed down.
And then there’s Vegas. While it is MUCH easier (and cheaper) to do this show in Las Vegas than NYC, it is just not my kind of place. We Floridians really don’t mind the heat – hey, only 107 degrees this time – it’s more about how perfectly normal people seem to immediately morph into packs of screaming fools upon arriving in this town. Hey, I’ve partied with the best of ‘em over the years but this is how it goes: five minutes after checking-in to the hotel that nice couple from your church will somehow become “Mr Playa” and his babe. He will turn his hat sideways, chain smoke and wear sunglasses indoors, she will wriggle into her hooker outfit, then they will spend the next few days stumbling around the Strip with yard-long beers until it’s time to crawl home. Along with a few thousand of their new close friends.

Somewhat amusing, but believe me when you are only there to work – the novelty wears off pretty quickly…

6 replies
  1. BJ Lantz
    BJ Lantz says:

    My hubby would agree with you regarding Las Vegas ~ he is there right now for a different trade show and was over it the minute he landed…(I think he was over it before he left home, to be honest) A couple people asked why I didn’t go with him, LOL Besides it being Vegas (yuck), why would I want to go somewhere actually hotter than here in Florida right now??

  2. Ashlock
    Ashlock says:

    I’m thinking about getting into licensing. And I’m now hesitant when you mentioned not recommending getting into this field. Can you elaborate on the concept pieces you mentioned and how to get experience in this field?



  3. Jim Marcotte
    Jim Marcotte says:

    Sorry for the confusion, I was recommending that inexperienced artists not exhibit at the Licensing Expo, not stay out of licensing altogether. You should start with Joan Beiriger’s blog as a source of information about art licensing in general and about collections/concepts in particular.


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