NEW YORK–Exhibitors at this week’s Surtex show here said the business of licensing art should pick up momentum through the rest of this year, and identified home furnishings as a particularly promising opportunity for licensed art.
The level of attendee traffic at the show is one reason to feel upbeat, according to Mark Fisher, consultant with MHS Licensing. “There’s a lot of activity, especially requests for artwork right away,” Fisher said. “We’re seeing this in all product categories: tabletop, greeting cards, textiles, kitchen accessories. I think this uptick will carry forward through the rest of this year.”
The economic recovery has helped foster this improved outlook, according to Louma El-Khoury, designer and illustrator with Pokidots Studio. “Our work depends on the manufacturers and they are working to meet higher demand. They are looking for new art now,” El-Khoury said.
The opportunities are there as well for big-name licensors such as Hallmark Cards. “Our designs lend themselves to home furnishings,” said Liz Lippi, Hallmark’s art director. “For this year, I see these opportunities definitely growing. Companies are looking for different options in sourcing designs.”
Home furnishings are a specific opportunity for Madart, especially window treatments, tableware, kitchen products, rugs and towels. “These manufacturers are looking for more licensed art,” said Megan Aroon Duncanson, owner of Madart. “Consumers want fresh product, something new and trendy and colorful. It’s a sign that they are back shopping again.”