Secrets of Art Licensing Trade Show Success

by Carolyn Edlund

A familiar face in the art licensing industry, Khristian Howell has exhibited at many trade shows, and has a lot of commercial success to show for her efforts.


Artist Khristian Howell

Artist Khristian Howell


Not only does Howell create fabulous designs for many products, but she has business savvy as well, and has written an ebook to assist other artists who would like to pursue a career in this field. She graciously agreed to share some of her trade show secrets with us.

AS:  Khristian, you are very involved in the world of Art Licensing.  Who are your customers and what types of merchandise are your designs used for?

KH: I am currently licensed in fabric, online stationery, paper, tableware, scrapbooking, wallcoverings, lamps, and the list is growing everyday!  Some of my current clients include Anthology Fabrics, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Creative Converting, IMGS Wallcoverings, Alluminare, Tiny Prints, etc.


Anthology Fabrics by Khristian Howell


AS:  Please share with us some of your secrets for creating a super-successful trade show experience.

KH: Sure, I’d be happy to.  Here is my list:

    1. Presentation IS everything: Always think of your business as a brand.  When you are designing the pieces of your marketing package for the show (booth, promo pieces etc.), make sure they all speak to and compliment each other.  They should all make a cohesive statement about you and your art.  You want to create synergy across all your platforms.
    2. Use social media.  Don’t be shy! Use all the major social media outlets to let everyone know your are doing the show.  Create excitement around the event.  Let everyone know that you are excited about the show and your new work!
    3. Do your research. Contact the companies that you are really hoping to connect with at the show.  Try to set up appointments in your booth with art directors.  Taking the initiative to get on their calendars will show them your are VERY interested in working with them, and a potentially great business partner.
    4. Tell, don’t sell. You do not have to sell great artwork.  Just be you, be excited, and be optimistic!  Remember licensing is not a hard sell. You are at a show to foster and develop lasting working relationships, so be authentic.
    5. Have a follow up plan. The vast majority of new contracts will happen weeks or even months after the show.  You must have a super organized plan for how you will follow up with the contacts you met.  Often times it will take your diligent efforts to really seal the deal. Be prepared to take detailed notes on who was interested in what pieces, what is their timeline like, etc.


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  1. I am very new to art world and interested in tradeshows I have no website or any show experience. Do you have any recommandation please?


  1. […] Surface designer Khristian Howell, author of two eBooks on trade shows, shared some tips with ArtsyShark on making the most of trade shows that we’d like to pass on to […]

  2. […] Surface designer Khristian Howell, author of two eBooks on trade shows, shared some tips with ArtsyShark on making the most of trade shows that we’d like to pass on to […]

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