SURTEX - the premier event for selling and licensing art and design

Highlights of 2014…

If you are on Facebook or Google + or both…  you are probably painfully aware of the “It’s been a great year” photo montages the sites are preparing for you.  They are based on photos you post and their popularity… an interesting look at what you chose to share and what was responded to.

Highlight Video thumbnailHowever the Facebook version of your Year in Review might not reflect your TRUE HIGHLIGHTS of the year…

I would assume they include great memories and moments, or you wouldn’t have posted them and they wouldn’t have gotten so much attention from your network.  But today I encourage you to do a little thinking about 2014 and what YOU consider your top highlights.  You can divide this exercise into categories or just do a quick top 5 – either way, it will be a valuable way of acknowledging your year and help you prepare for the year ahead.

So what do YOU consider your highlights of 2014?

You don’t have to share them but I encourage you to write them down, for yourself if no one else.  Here are some “Top 5″ categories to consider – choose the ones that resonate and leave the rest behind.


  • Brave things I was afraid to do but did anyway
  • amazing events
  • fond memories
  • life changing realizations
  • improved habits


  • new things I tried
  • most successful projects (that can be defined however you want – money earned, publicity, personal pride of accomplishment, etc)
  • experiences that helped me grow my business
  • investments in myself and / or my business
  • success habits that are working

Don’t let your highlights be defined by social media.  YOU decide what is important, what is worth remembering, celebrating and what is worth continuing on into 2015.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Here are a few of my “Business Highlights” from 2014…

  • Completed an amazing coaching program that has changed me in so many ways – best investment of time and money I’ve made in a long time!
  • Successful launch of the Art Licensing Academy Group coaching program – loved how it worked both for me and the artists who participated.
  • Made some “brave” (for me) changes to my licensee list
  • Did some out-of-the-box (again, for me) art that was well received
  • Revamped the site and overall branding and focus

Christmas as an art licensing theme…

Since I’ve got Christmas on my mind, I thought I’d do a quick post about Christmas and art licensing.

lots of ChristmasChristmas is a HUGE spending event – from gifts to gift wrap, dishes, decorations and more.  I’m not sure where I heard the statistic but I believe almost half of licensed products are for Christmas.

As you celebrate the season – Christmas, Hanukkah or other – look around you at the products on the shelves, under the tree and on the table.

Don’t just decide if they are “visually pleasing” but take a look at WHAT is on the many products from an art collection creation process.

As you gaze at gift bags, think about what designs were needed to create the bags.  Repeat patterns, images, borders or icons.

If holiday dishes adorn the table, look at what is on them and how the colors, designs and images go together.

Wishing you a fabulous week of celebration – however busy or quiet your want it to be!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed


Our first Ask Call of 2015 is going to sneak up on us…

Tara Reed and Maria Brophy answer questions about art licensingMaria Brophy and I will both be answering questions on the January 21, 2015 art licensing ask call.  I love doing these with Maria because we mix it up a bit – instead of me just being the asker, I contribute my perspective and she contributes hers.  Since our businesses work rather differently at time, it makes for some great conversation and learning.

The thing that is the same as always, is that we look to YOU for the questions.   What do you want to know about art licensing?  What puzzles you?

Please don’t assume your question isn’t good, or is silly or any other adjective… and please don’t assume others have submitted plenty of content.  While we don’t always get to all the questions submitted, we need a variety to choose from so these calls don’t become the same old, same old.  PLEASE – tell us what is on your mind!

As a holiday gift to us, will you PLEASE click this link and submit a question?

We would so appreciate it!  Then you can get back to your egg nogs or dreidels or whatever fun things you have planned. :)

Here’s to your creative success and a great start to 2015!

– Tara Reed

I hope no agents read this post…

I just got my copy of Darren Hardy’s new book – both print and audio – The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster.  As I sat painting a new collection for my trip to Atlanta next month, I attached the external disk drive (Oh Apple!  WHY did you get rid of disk drives??) and listened while I worked.

I’m sure I will listen to this content and read the book several times over.  I’m only through the first few chapters but there is GOLD in this content!

One thing that stuck out was a discussion about a genie in a lantern.  Darren Hardy suggests that you have found a lazy genie – no three wishes for you but just ONE area that he will help you with in your business.  He then goes through options and why he thinks they would be  good or bad.

His conclusion:  Ask for amazing sales and marketing.

Success in Biz - Darren Hardy

Hardy suggests that the success of a business is based 10% on the merit of the product (art, in our case) and 90% on the sales and marketing.

Wow!  I’ve said it before and will certainly say it again – it isn’t the best art that makes it on products in art licensing, because maybe no one knows about the best art.

The art that is chosen is the best fit based on a few criteria:

  • The known options (this is where sales and marketing is key!)
  • The opinions of the decision makers about which options are most likely to sell the products (there are ALWAYS several choices that will do the job)

Once those two filters have been applied, other factors come into play.

  • The relationship with the agent or artist – are they easy to work with and do they come through on time or early?
  • Does the art or artist have a proven track record of sales?
  • Coin toss. (I don’t have confirmation on this one but I think it’s often a factor…)

In art licensing, royalties are usually split 50/50 if an artist works with an agent.  The artist does the creative work, the agent does the sales, marketing and contract negotiations.  Can you imagine if they read this book and decided they should get 90%? ?  It won’t happen because there simply isn’t enough money in a deal to make the artist create if they only get 10%.

This concept is, however, good food for thought when you think about your business.  Whether you are doing your own sales and marketing or have or are looking for an agent, consider the importance of GOOD and CONSISTENT sales and marketing efforts.  Your success has more to do with how well you market yourself and your art than the art itself.  This will upset many.  It will make others feel a little more hopeful.  It should make those looking for agents ask that many more questions and check referrals that much more closely.

You aren’t actually in business if you aren’t selling – or licensing – something.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Want some help with the sales and marketing side of things or help finding an agent?  I have some ebooks to help!

How to Find, Interact and Work with Manufacturers Who License Art (to do sales and marketing yourself)

How to Find an Art Licensing Agent (how to find someone to do it for you)

And if trade shows are part of your marketing plan, the newly released Art Licensing Trade Show Success Secrets is what you need!

Thriving Artist Summit with Bonnie Glendinning begins January 5, 2015

Last December, my friend Bonnie Glendinning interviewed me at The Thriving Artist Summit. It was a great experience for me and so many artists around the world. And, The Thriving Artist Summit will be back January 2015.


This online conference is featuring a fantastic lineup of 20+ speakers and is a not-to-be-missed free event.

Though I am not a speaker this year, I do have a special deal for you in the Summit Swag Bag. But, you have to join us to get it!

Whether you’re trying to figure out how to get started, or need some inspiration to stay motivated, this is definitely the place to be come January.

>> Click here to get free access here <<

During this special community summit you will discover how to:

  • • Make Your Creative Biz a Real Success
  • • Build Your Brand for Your Ideal Buyers
  • • Price for Real Profit and Growth
  • • Increase Your Sales with Marketing, PR, and Social Media
  • • Diversify into Licensing, Wholesale, and Direct-to-Consumer
  • • Get Into Galleries, Shows, and Raise Project Funds

I’d love for you to experience this yourself and JOIN US FOR THIS FREE summit.

The summit will be held from January 5 – 18, 2015 and the audio replays will be available for 72 hours

Thriving Artist Summit ScheduleThis is an amazing opportunity to expand your horizons about what options are available for artists to make a living and how to do it!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Art Licensing Trade Show Academy – limited space available

After many conversations with artists who have taken my Art Licensing Academy and others, I have decided to offer an Art Licensing Trade Show Academy.

Art Licensing Trade Show Academy with Tara ReedThe Art Licensing Trade Show Academy is a 4 month,  Small Group Coaching Program for artists who will be exhibiting at an art licensing show in 2015.   There will be a limit of 12 participants in the group to maximize the value for those who step up.

The Trade Show Academy will allow artists access to information, support and accountability at the fraction of the cost of private coaching.  Artists need to apply for the program – applications will be reviewed in a timely fashion.

75-80% of my clients and my income are a DIRECT RESULT of trade shows.

After 12 years and exhibiting at nearly 20 shows, I have learned a few things.  I have created the Art Licensing Trade Show Academy to share my knowledge with a small group of artists who are committed to showing up and playing full out.  Is that you?  – Tara Reed

The Academy is already half full – if this is something you are interested, apply sooner rather than later and if you look like a fit, register before all the spots are taken.

You can learn more about how it will work and apply at
Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Pantone Color of the Year 2015: Marsala

Drum roll please… (if you haven’t seen 15 posts about this already of course) – Pantone’s color of the year is Marsala!

Pantone Color of the year - 2015


As usual, it is being met with mixed reviews.  Some love it, some hate it.  Some think it’s old fashioned, others think it’s drab.  However, the color of the year always shows up in fashion, gift & home decor…

The question is:  Will you use the color of the year or skip it?  And how will you decide?

Artists are always looking for the hot new trend – whether it’s a theme, style or color.  Will it be the key to profitable licensing deals?  Can I spot trends at the beginning and ride the wave to riches?  Can I be a trend-setter?  Trends, trends trends.

Don’t be a trend junkie.  Not all trends will work for all artists.

Here are three things to consider before jumping on a trend:

1.  Does the trend make sense for your art?

Not all trends should be adopted by all artists.  If everyone created all of their art around a color, things would get a bit boring.  Some colors won’t make sense either and if you try to force a color into your work just because it’s the hot color (or theme or pattern) – it probably won’t work well.  For example, I don’t see artists who traditionally work in soft color palettes doing a lot with Marsala.

2.  How much will you use?

If you decide that yes, you like the color and it makes sense, the next thing to consider is quantity.  Will you bet your entire portfolio on this trend or just one collection.  Will it be a focus or an accent?  There are many ways to incorporate a trend – decide what resonates and makes sense to you.

3.  What process will you go through before adding it to your portfolio?

Every artist has a different way of working.  Some wake up, feel inspired and follow that inspiration.  Others are more methodical, doing research to see what is in the marketplace and then deciding how they can add their unique contributions.  Will you jump wildly or make a plan?  Will you talk to clients about what they think of the color or add it to your portfolio and show that you are “up on trends”.  I don’t know that there is a right or wrong way, but have you ever even thought about what YOUR WAY is?

Personally, I like Marsala and think it makes sense for my art, themes and color schemes I’m known for. You will see it in my portfolio and hopefully on my licensed products.  I still need to decide how much, when and where…

What do you think?  Will you use it or ignore it?  Would love your feedback in the comments!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  CLICK HERE to read Pantone’s big reveal post about Marsala…

Professional Artist Magazine

I am beyond honored to be included in the December 2014 / January 2015 issue of Professional Artist Magazine.  The magazine has a lot of great advice for artists of all kinds – from revamping your artist statement to acing your next art show… Writing a strategic plan, how to hire an art coach and more.

Professional Artist Magazine - Tara Reed

My article about art licensing includes contributions from Paul Brent, Jennifer Pugh, Jane Shasky, Stephanie Burgess and Alicia Dauber of Licensing Liaison.  If people look at you and scratch their heads not understanding what it is you do or are trying to do – you can hand them the article and get them up to speed.  If you are new to the concept, grab a copy for yourself!

I’m excited to read the rest of the magazine – I have yet to fully understand what an “Artist Statement” is quite frankly – my marketing degree is showing again!

I found a copy at my local Barnes & Noble.  You can check other bookstores or find it online at

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

What does health have to do with creativity?

If you’ve been following along this year, you may have noticed that I’ve been talking a bit about self care, healthy habits and some major changes I’ve been making to my life.  With my dad slowly fading before my eyes, I’ve begun looking at things a little differently.  My family never would have expected my dad to be gone in this way, at the age of 73.  He’s 75 and still alive – but he rarely knows who we are and when he talks, he doesn’t make a lot of sense.  So “here” in a physical sense, but no longer the vibrant, funny, intelligent man that raised me.

This shift has made me look at my own life.  Am I taking care of my health and body?  Putting things off and wishing for things in the future instead of embracing and enjoying the present?  Death and illness makes you get pretty philosophical – let me assure you!

Since January I have been making changes in what I eat and how I exercise.  And I’ve fallen off the healthy habit wagon and gotten back on a few times – I am human after all and a big emotional eater… and as you can imagine, there is a lot of “emotion” around a father’s journey with Alzheimer’s.

I’ve also been looking at the connections between health, creativity and business.

The success of any art business depends on the artist or artists creating the work. ART and the creative process are the foundations upon which everything is built.

Contrary to popular belief, most successful artists are NOT depressed or suffering from mental health issues. Starving should not be the benchmark by which artists measure their success. In the 21st century, let’s embrace and celebrate the value of our creativity! Abundance – whether that means money, freedom, flexibility or anything else – is out there for the taking. The key is to tap into what makes sense for you and your business.

A little over a year ago, my acupuncturist suggested I try doTerra essential oils.  She has had me use oils before but told me this brand is the best quality she has found and she now uses them exclusively in her practice.  She is one of those people I trust implicitly so I gave them a try.  Smelled good… and then other amazing things started to happen.  I was sleeping better, stress levels were down, digestive issues improving… it was exciting!

Many of the people in my group coaching program with Tiffany Peterson were involved in doTerra so I was able to learn a lot about the oils and the business and continued to try things for myself.  About 6 months ago, I decided these products were too good to keep to myself so I began sharing them with others – and they started getting some pretty cool results too.  I have a website dedicated to doTerra but wanted to tell you about it too – my goal is to help artists and creative people learn how to use these all natural, therapeutic grade oils and supplements to stay healthy, improve health and energy so they can focus on their creative genius.

drop into creativity with Tara Reed and doTerra essential oilsI have created a pdf, Strategies to Improve Your Health & Creativity to Help Grow Your Creative Business, that gives tips anyone can use – whether you have or want to try essential oils or not.  It will only cost you your name and email and you will receive three more emails with more ideas you can use.  If you decide the oils sound interesting and you want more information, please reach out! I’d love to share what I have learned and help you implement them into your life. If not, that’s fine too – there are still some good ideas here that you can use to take care of yourself and grow your business.

Want the FREE REPORT?  Click here to sign up

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Help spread the word: shopping at Big Box Stores Support Small Businesses Too…

It’s the week of Thanksgiving here in the US and that means lots of food, family gatherings and shopping.  Thanksgiving Thursday is followed by Black Friday – the day retailers hope to “be in the black” – as in, making money.  It’s to official kick-off of the holiday shopping season.

small business saturdayThen comes Small Business Saturday… Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express corporation.  There are lots of images floating around Facebook… like this one. (I couldn’t find the original creator or source of the image – it isn’t mine, no copyright violation is intended)

While I like the basic concept, there is definitely some black-and-white thinking that I feel compelled to address.

Specifically – “Let’s make sure our money goes to individual people and not multinational companies.”

Well… multinational companies aren’t just nameless, faceless money funnels.  They need a lot of people, resources, etc to survive.  And many, many small businesses are helped when you shop at places like WalMart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowe’s and more…

THIS small business owner, for example.  And many of my friends and clients. Pretty much any artist working in art licensing is a small business that counts on people shopping in large stores so they can earn a living.

I am ONE PERSON, working out of a home office, making a living, paying my bills and taxes and contributing to my community.  I do art that goes on products that are primarily sold in large chain stores… so if you boycott “multinational companies” – this artist is going to be in a world of hurt.

Many of my clients, who are vendors to the big stores, are US based small businesses.  Their livelihoods are also tied to big stores.

I’m not saying don’t go to that craft fair or locally owned hair salon – don’t get me wrong.  But I think the message is getting a little too cut and dry – David vs. Goliath if you will.  Goliath supports a lot of David’s in this new world economy.

I posted this same post on my art blog and posted it on Facebook last weekend. One person commented, “Very good point, Tara…I had not looked at it this way.”  And THAT is the point – we need people to look at things a little differently… see more than the black and white of  “Etsy shopping good, Chain store shopping bad”.  Many of us make a living from both of those distribution channels.

How about we all “mix it up” this holiday season?  Don’t ONLY shop at WalMart but don’t avoid it out of principle either.

Napkins at Walmart - 2014While we are on the subject of WalMart, if you do find yourself in there, look for these cocktail napkins – designed by me.  Manufactured by a company in Philadelphia.  Moved around to all the locations by trucking companies who bought gas, food and probably coffee, all across country.   If your WalMart has canvas wall art for Christmas, you might be supporting my friend Jennifer Pugh – another one-woman artist business out of Utah.  Her family thanks you for your support as well.  Paul Brent has everyday wall art in WalMart – he thanks you.  I’m sure, do many other artists who might read this blog also have a wide variety of products there.  I’m just using WalMart as an example of course – we could talk about any chain store and come up with many of our peers who would benefit.

If you find yourself at HomeGoods or Marshalls, check the coffee mugs.  I have a lot of designs in those stores as well – my logo will be on the hangtag so you can feel good about supporting a small business.

Just some food for thought – BIG doesn’t necessarily mean BAD. If we all share this concept perhaps there will be a little more understanding that simply SHOPPING helps businesses of all sizes.

Have a very happy holiday season – wherever you choose to shop!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Don’t forget about Cyber Monday either – that’s when you will find the deals for online shopping. ;)