WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — May 28, 2015 — A dynamic mix of artists, illustrators and licensing agents showcased a wide array of art and design to an increasingly diverse attendee base at the successful 2015 edition of SURTEX®, North America’s exposition and conference for selling and licensing original art and design. The 29th annual edition ran May 17-19, 2015, at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
“Surtex offers art and design for every taste – traditional to contemporary, abstract to figurative and more – and this year’s event attracted attendees from increasingly diverse categories,” said Liz Crawford, vice president and group show director. “The common denominator, amid such a wide variety of styles and themes, is the exceptional business opportunities provided to Surtex participants.”
“There are lots of new categories of customers here this year — luggage, fragrance, edibles — as well as more typical home décor, gift and stationery categories,” said long-time exhibitor Marcy Silverman with Creatif Licensing. “The diversity of companies and categories is very good, and it allows us to market our art to industries far beyond gift. We’ve met a lot of new companies we haven’t had relationships with before.”
“There are lots of new categories of customers here this year — luggage, fragrance, edibles — as well as more typical home décor, gift and stationery categories,” said long-time exhibitor Marcy Silverman with Creatif Licensing. “The diversity of companies and categories is very good, and it allows us to market our art to industries far beyond gift. We’ve met a lot of new companies we haven’t had relationships with before.” Notable 2015 attendees included Amazon, American Greetings, Amscan Inc. At Home, Hallmark Cards Inc., Harrods, Kimberly-Clark Corp., KOHLER Co., Lanark Wallcovering, Lands’ End Inc., Leanin’ Tree, Leap Year Publishing, Lowe’s, Michaels Stores, Office Depot Inc., Paperchase Products Inc., Pier 1 Imports, Pottery Barn Kids, Reebok, Samsung Electronics, Signature Brands LLC, Staples Inc.. The Walt Disney Company, Walmart, Williams Sonoma Inc. – Pottery, York Wallcoverings / Roommates, Gap Inc., Meijer, Mohawk, Clarks Co. NA, Coach Inc., Crane and Co. Papermakers, Fisher-Price, Harry & David, Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., Kate Spade, Kirklands Inc., Kurt S. Adler Inc., Lenox, Macy’s Inc., PetSmart.com, Toys ‘R Us, Tupperware, Vera Bradley, Vistaprint, Wegmans and Zulily.
The opportunity to meet, network and establish relationships with retailers and manufacturers, as well as a myriad of others attending Surtex, are often the start of long-term, partnerships that take an exhibitor’s licensed work of art through to a finished product. A connection with Harrods of London three years ago at Surtex took Working Girls Design’s art first into Harrods, then onto their e-commerce site and now into the airport in London. “Surtex lets us take our brand to new places, said owner/author Tonja Steel. “This year, we have made varied contacts from t-shirt transfers to high-end handbags or $1,000 canvases. Buyers are very focused and they are here specifically to find artwork that fits their needs.”
First-time exhibitor Kitty Keller of Kitty Keller Designs was one of many artists impressed by the new business and networking opportunities that Surtex provides. “We have made great contacts here, with big box retailers, Hallmark stores, a wedding planner, a collectible manufacturer, doormat, flag and napkin suppliers, cruise lines, catalog and a manufacturer of bedding for pets and kids,” said Kelly. “The intangible that I didn’t expect, but also have found here is the good feeling from other exhibitors. It has been great to network and meet other artists. It has been valuable and also validating and well worth the time and money.”
Beyond exhibits, business best practices in a wide variety of categories such as licensing, monetizing art and trend-spotting were explored through Surtex’s conference program, which is presented in three separate tracks: CORE, ADVANCED and TREND AND BEYOND. In addition, Surtex’s Trend Theatre delivered insights into the latest design, style and buying trends in a variety of product categories. Hosted by industry experts, color forecasts, children’s fashion trends and millennial buying patterns were among the many topics analyzed as part of this nine-part series.
Beyond these educational sessions, social events such as a networking reception on May 18, provided additional networking opportunities. Surtex also hosted designext®, an annual international design competition honoring art and design students for exceptional surface design work, and recognized Lucy Harris, a senior working toward a BA in Fashion and Textile Design at the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, UK, as the 2015 Grand Prize winner.
Posted June 9, 2015