Julie Newman, founder and president of Jewel Brand Licensing takes some time to talk with all of us:
We are officially 8 years old on September 17th! It doesn’t seem that long as it has been so much fun! I became an agent through a contact I made at AT&T when I worked for them in Florida. He was the licensing agent for Thomas Kinkade. He asked me to come work for him and I started my licensing career in 2003.
Who are the manufacturers you work with - how did you establish those relationships?
We work with all kinds of manufactures in stationery, greeting cards, textiles, wall art, apparel, and also many worldwide agents. I established those relationships at shows, through networking events, cold-calling, and referrals.
Do you have employees/help?
Yes, there are 9 of us! It’s still hard to believe there is that many but we all work together and divide up the artists and brands so we can provide a high level of service to our licensees and to our artists.
How do you market artists?
We market artists at Licensing Show and Surtex and also to people we meet at various trade shows around the country. We also have a website that we launched in 2012 that gives each artist their own page as well as an artists information sheet. We also market in emails to our licensees on a regular basis. We try to keep our designers top of mind as much as possible with our manufacturers.
What do you look for in an Artist?
I look for a unique style and design. Something that stands out from our other artists as well as something that I know our licensees are looking for. We also like a strong social media presence, a good size portfolio that contains a range of artwork and mock ups in categories for home décor, textiles, stationery, etc. We also encourage our artists to promote themselves as much as possible through their website, Instagram, etc.
How much work do you expect an artists to create?
I prefer quality over quantity every day! I also feel that when an artist is inspired by something, I love exploring that with them to make it licensable.
Any great news you would like to share?
Yes, we have an IPad app, where licensees can login and search all of our artists designs! We were the first agents to offer this type of technology and we have gotten a great response. You can find it here.
How has the Art Licensing business changed over the years?
It seems that competition is tougher than ever and licensees have so many places to find designers from Instagram to Etsy, etc. We have to really work hard at picking out the best of the best and then make it easy to work with us and the artist.
Any advice or information you would like to share?
Just that licensing is an amazing entrepreneurial business segment that we are all in and I get inspired everyday by creativity and people willing to take the risk and spend the time and money to build a licensing program. It truly is the American dream and I love being part of it.
You can find Jewel Branding & Licensing:
Facebook - @JewelBranding
Instagram - @JewelBranding
Twitter - @JewelBranding