Licensing Expo

We’re cruising along over the Rockies at 39,000 feet and another Licensing Show (our ninth) is behind us. And so is the 110 degree weather – dry heat or not that is just plain hot.

It was, once again, a good show for us. There was a definite positive energy at this show, a welcome change from the last couple of years. Day 1 started with a bang right at opening and stayed busy all day, a bit unusual for this show where typically the first mornings have been a bit slower in the Art & Design section while everyone visits the newest “fireworks and Ferris wheels” on the main floor. Day 2 cooked right along as well, and true to form Day 3 dropped off quickly and by afternoon things were winding down. We had booked appointments at various times all three days and so we did not see very much down time, but the consensus I heard was that it was worthwhile for the other exhibitors as well, and also that the attendees were focused and knew what they wanted.

Some quick observations from the show:

1. The Licensing Expo seems to be less and less effective for single design art sourcing every year as the movement continues toward broader collections with a point of view and hopefully a compelling story.

2. There is not a lot of the above.
(For what it’s worth, we did hear a couple of times that the quality of the art displayed in the section was noticeably better this year – and it has always been pretty good at this show.)

3. Retailers, and therefore also manufacturers, are still being cautious about anything new or unknown so we continue to see the old established properties in play or being resurrected and brought to market. Our joke is that they want “new but proven”…good luck with that…

4. International licensing is continuing to expand for art-based properties. We had meaningful meetings with both partner agencies and manufacturers from the UK, Brazil, Denmark, Israel and Mexico.

5. Apparently the I-Pad is emerging as the greatest invention of all time, and you will be seeing fewer and fewer paper and binder type portfolios from this point onward.

All for now, seat backs and tray tables up for landing….

3 replies
  1. Joan Beiriger
    Joan Beiriger says:

    Thanks Jim for the information about the show. I’ve heard from other sources besides my own observations what you said in comment 1 and 3 and it is good to have you substantiate them. I’m glad that it was a good show for you!

  2. Holly Abston
    Holly Abston says:

    I’ve been voraciously reading your blog over the past few days. I have to say, as a person who is new (read: never done it) to art licensing and trying to get a footing and learn all I can, you scared me a little! But that’s probably because I’ve been reading lots of books and blogs that never speak of anything but butterflies and roses in the world of art licensing. I appreciate your candor and your no-nonsense advice. You have made me reflect on myself and my art. I don’t want to be a cookie-cutter presenter of beautifully arranged crap! haha… Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.


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