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Should you get a design agent?

Apr 15, 2020Design Business10 comments

Are you wondering whether you should get a design agent to represent you and sell your pattern design?

This is a great question and I know one that designers often ask.

If you are creating pattern designs and are wanting to sell them then one of the things you obviously need to do is to be able to market and sell them. What an agent is going to do is take care of the marketing and the selling of your designs for you.

So basically you will be able to give your designs to them, and then they will then hopefully find people to buy them.

They will be required to do all of the marketing, organising contracts and the general business side of selling your designs which can feel really overwhelming when you are getting started. Having an agent can be a great way of allowing you to focus just on designing so you don’t have to worry about the marketing side of your work.

What to consider when using an agent

If you are considering having an agent, here are a few things to think about.

First of all is an agent is going to take a percentage of your sales and this could be anywhere between 30 to 50% (depending on the agent). So that means for every sale you make, they will take their commission.

Before you sign a contract work with an agent, make sure you read it really carefully so you understand what your rights are. I would highly encourage you to have a look at the exit clause for the contract as well so if you decide that you want to leave the agent you know what terms you are bound by.

You might decide that the agent is not a good fit for you in the end or something’s gone wrong and you want to part ways so you want to make sure that you know how to get out of the contract in case you need to.

The other thing that you need to think about is selecting an agent that is if they are going to be able to consistently sell your work for you. You could be with an agent that promises you the world and does not sell any of your work which is, of course, no good for you at all.

Make sure that you are picking an agent, that you’ve done a bit of research about them and that you’ve considered whether they will be able to sell the kind of designs that you create.

Have a look and see what sort of artists that they already represent and see if you can compliment them. An agent will most likely not take on another artist that creates artwork that is too similar to somebody who is already on their books.

Selling your work yourself

The alternative to not having an agent is for you to represent and sell your work yourself. That will mean will need to do all of your own marketing and getting your own clients. This is absolutely possible and lots of artists choose to represent themselves. It’s really up to you and which you would prefer.

If you do decide to sell your own work you will also need to make sure you have some contracts set in place and that you get your clients to sign them when purchasing your designs. In some instances, a client may have their own contract (usually large companies) and if they do make sure you read through it thoroughly and make any changes if there’s something that you don’t agree with. You don’t have to sign anything you don’t agree with, you can negotiate with them of course.

If you are using your own contracts, remember that it’s a legal document so you should always seek legal advice. Make sure that you’ve got all of the clauses in there that are necessary to cover yourself as well.

Representing yourself will also mean that you will need to chase up payments and make sure that payments are being made so it will involve a little bit more admin but of course, you won’t be paying any agents fees.

A lot of artists will go through phases in their careers where they may have an agent for a while and then choose to represent themselves. It’s really up to you where you are in your business, what you think you will benefit most from having, and then just choosing that method.

10 Comments

  1. Jennifer Labre

    Great post! Just what I’m needing right now.

    Reply
    • Pattern and Design

      Glad you liked it 🙂

      Reply
  2. Ally Andrews

    How do you find an agent?

    Reply
    • Pattern and Design

      It does involve research but you could get started by looking at some of the major design fairs (agents often exhibit there)

      Reply
  3. Sophie

    Is there any contract sample you consider? Also, should we have the contract ourselves?

    Reply
  4. Debra Boulay

    How much work should you have before approaching an agent? Do agents look at large scale designs that have not been put into repeat?

    Reply
    • Pattern and Design

      It really depends on who you’re approaching and the way they work. I’ve worked with Design studio’s who are happy for designs to not be in repeat yet agents who have required my designs in repeat. You do want to have a reasonable body of work to show what you can do

      Reply
  5. Soheyla Azarian

    Hi this is soheyla
    Thanks Rachelle ❤️❤️
    If I like to have agent for my patty design, so how to do this?!
    I don’t know anyone or anything about this???
    Please let me know about the agent

    Reply
    • Pattern and Design

      Finding an agent is something that will take lots of research. A couple of places you could start is by looking at exhibitor lists at the major trade fairs such as Surtex and agents often exhibit there. The other thing you can do is have a look at other designers you admire and they will often mention who their agent is on their website. You then want to research which agents would be a good fit for you.

      Reply

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Should you get a design agent?
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