Thinking of licensing your name or brand to another company? I’ve learned a ton about how this whole animal works over the last year. It’s not for the faint of heart, but if navigated in the right way it can be WONDERFUL both professionally and financially.
When you hear of licensing, you make think, “oh I’m not ready for that right now,” or “that’s only for celebrities.” Well, both are not necessarily the case. For me, licensing sort of dropped in my lap by way of developing product for Taylor Burke Home. However, once you make the decision to move forward, I will say that it has to be well thought out and incorporated into your long-term business plan and goals.
In October, I launched my first collection: Julianne Taylor Style for Mitchell Black wallpaper. You will see some of those patterns next month at the Summit! In early January, I also launched an artwork collection with Oliver Gal Artist Company. Both of these collections were lots of work, but in the end they were incredibly fun and rewarding! On the heels of my second licensed collection, here are some of my tips on how you can prepare now for potential licensing in the future.
Start to Separate Yourself from Your Brand. This is a little tricky, as a lot of us feel so connected to the brand and business that we’ve started. However, for me this separation has been very strategic. In January 2016 we created the Julianne Taylor Style brand, which has been key to supporting the launch of my collections and has allowed me to sell myself as an individual instead of a company.
Develop a Signature Style. Create product and images that have a common thread of your signature style. Your stamp needs to shine through your product so you can differentiate among others looking for the same opportunities.
Stalk the Brands of Your Dreams. Go low and go high! Some may be a stretch, while others you may already have an “in” through a brand relationship. I recommend you become a customer of the brand, shower them with love and learn all you can about the brand before you approach them with your idea.
Understand Target Customers. When seeking out companies to partner with, research their targeted customers to ensure that they align with your strategy. Taylor Burke Home is mid to high-end furniture and lighting company, however I’d like Julianne Taylor Style branded products to target more mass market consumers through direct to retail channels. This allows me to reach a wider range of consumers without diluting the Taylor Burke Home brand.
Network…All the Time! This may be obvious, but it’s essential in all aspects of our businesses. It’s really about who you know, right?! Someone who starts as a friend may become an incredible resource down the road, and vice-versa!
Get an Agent. If you are really ready to approach brands and you have the financial means to do it – HIRE AN AGENT. They can negotiate on your behalf to make sure your interests are taken care of. Can’t afford an agent? Find a really good attorney to review your contracts in detail.
I look forward to seeing all of you in just a few short weeks! If you’d like more one-on-one time, please sign up for my mentoring session during the Summit.
See you there! XO, Julianne
Julianne Taylor, Founder + Creative Director of Taylor Burke Home