I exhibited at Surtex for the second time this year alongside Jules McKeown, under the booth name The Pattern Social. We debuted our art at the popular show in 2016, and I wrote about it here. We were thrilled to have a lovely reaction to our work, so we immediately signed up again for 2017. The Javits Centre is a fabulous but huge building located on 11th Ave between 34th and 40th Streets, in Manhattan.
There are a mixture of exhibitors. There are design ateliers don’t tend to license artwork, but just sell off art on a flat fee basis. Then there are studios who license and potentially sell off work flat fee. We were in the latter section, but right next to where the atelier aisles began. This worked well as we did have some art available for outright purchase.
In contrast to some of the UK trade shows I have done, Surtex remains busy for the entire duration of the show. We even had people coming up to us to chat as we began to take our work down. I personally left feeling immensely positive about the reaction to our work again. Some definite projects were discussed, and we had some firm artwork sales in the bag.
We met a wide variety of potential clients, but there were certainly a lot of stationery companies walking around. This was probably partly due to the fact the National Stationery Show was taking place at the same time. Everybody was so friendly, and it was nice to have some in-depth conversations with different types of buyers who sat down and spent some time at our booth.
Jules and I allowed ourselves an extra day in the city this time, so we could have a little down time before the show began. This was lucky as it took slightly longer than one day for us to get everything put on to the walls. It was nice to pop back on Saturday morning and take a look with a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ and make some tweaks. After many hours, and a ridiculous amount of velcro and mess later, our booth was ready! I had planned out my space before we went but as we were putting the display up, I changed my mind on a few bits. Jules and I have quite different work, but our colour sense is very similar, making our art sit well together.
Jules’ work is on the left, and mine is on the right.
Surtex Promotional Materials
This year we took promotional double sided postcards that gave a flavour of our work, alongside personal business cards. This worked well, as despite us exhibiting under our collective name, all artwork sales and licenses will be done individually.
Most of the artists showcasing their art in the licensing section get portfolio books printed. They are designed to give potential clients an idea of your work, but don’t include the entire portfolio. We didn’t have books last year, but I much preferred having one, and I chose to just print the art I had available for flat fee sale on larger sheets. It helped me to be really clear with buyers about which art was available for purchase, and that which was part of my licensing portfolio.
My portfolio book showed a mixture of repeat pattern and placement designs. I also showed some product mock ups and examples of previous collaborations. I spent a lot of time putting the pages together (some examples are below), but I was pleased with the result.
Jules and I are both back at home enjoying some of the bank holiday sun now. This coming week will be busy following up all leads and catching up on admin! I’ll be writing another post soon with photos from the trip alongside some recommendations for places to eat and shop!