Stu Seltzer, president, Marketing, On Demand, LLC
There is no guaranteed plan to profitability in the art licensing studio arena, but here are a few pointers. Invest in marketing materials that reflect your art, aesthetic, and philosophy. This includes sales material, advertising, Web sites, newsletters, etc. Be strategic and invest in reaching your target buyers. This may include exhibiting at the right trade shows, and spending in order to visit retail buyers. Stay focused on your goals for at least two years. Based on product buyer cycles and trade show schedules it does take time before you will see sustainable profitability. Try to keep your overhead low. Although you need to invest in your business, be prudent with your spending.
There are many other variables that will factor in to your profitability and the biggest
Cindy Bailey, CEO, Art Impressions
A lot of it depends on the level of investment since necessary expenditures like trade shows and sales materials can entail wildly different costs. In our experience, it takes about three years to see a profit on a new art property, if you are lucky.
What is the importance of trademarking my properties? Since I am a licensing firm rather than a manufacturer, I am finding it challenging to know what categories to register my trademarks in. There is a "licensing" category, but according to my legal advisor this may not be sufficient to protect my brands because a brand is most likely to be infringed upon on a product rather than as a licensing entity.
I am also wondering if copyrighting is sufficient as a first step, and then trademarking it after a brand has been picked up for distribution.
Yes, trademark your properties and then consult a trademark attorney.
Registering your copyright is an excellent first step, as it can be done at a relatively low cost. For trademarks, we usually recommend a 'pay-as-you-go' strategy—unless you have an overnight sensation on your hands that you know will be copied. For most artists, it's prudent to register for the marks as you procure licensing deals in the respective categories; that way, you have some assurance that revenues will be coming in to offset that expense.
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