Selling Textile Designs with Pat Nugent

Marketing

Each month in The Textile Design Lab we welcome an industry expert who offers training in their area of expertise. This month our guest expert has been Pat Nugent, the founder and president of Patricia Nugent Design & Textiles, and a fashion and textile trade expert. You can read more about Pat in our interview here.

In today’s excerpt from her 17-page training PDF, Pat talks about the various ways of marketing and selling prints, focusing on bringing the customer in to your studio, and visiting the customer at their offices. In the full version available in The Textile Design Lab Pat also discusses tactics for presenting at trade shows and the differences in buyer behavior between trade shows and in-office appointments. Enjoy this free excerpt!

 

Self marketing for artists and designers is often the biggest obstacle to business success. It is very hard to do. But it is a learned skill so is possible to accomplish with effort and a thoughtful approach.

 

My experience

Owning an independent business like Patricia Nugent Design and Textiles has allowed me to learn about sales and marketing through a hands on approach. Having bought Sarah Truitt Textiles in 2005 and then Christine Greiner Designs in 2008 I jumped right in to self marketing from day one. My perspective is informed by also having been a customer of Sarah’s and Christine’s, as well as many other studios, during my 25 years in the apparel business prior to 2005. I can think about what I liked as a customer and what worked to find brand right prints and patterns. It helped having years of experience in Merchandising and Design on the inside of brands, where we “sold” our design and product concepts to company owners, sales people, key accounts and investors.

 

Selling your work

The business has changed and continues to evolve so that alone takes thoughtfulness about how to adjust to the changes. What you plan to do one season to self market may need to be adjusted the next season. We all have multiple opportunities to present and sell designs. This actually makes it easier to be successful even though it may add confusion at first. There may be one approach you are most comfortable with and others less so but together it all balances out and makes for a less risky plan, overall.

Your choices are four, as we see it:

1. Invite customers to come to your studio

2. Go to your customers’ offices for appointments

3. Send customers your designs on approval (this is based on mutual trust) either digitally or the actual prints

4. Participate in the trade shows for our industry

 

Continue reading–download a free excerpt of the training here. You can access the full 17-page training and all of our Textile Design Lab courses and members-only content by joining today.

Featured Designer: Tracy Miller

Tracy_Miller_animal_spaceTracy_Miller_Floral56Tracy_Miller_Floral16Tracy_Miller_Geo218Tracy_Miller_Floral65

As a Photoshop-loving gal (and I might even go as far to say slightly Illustrator-phobic!) I must admit I am feeling quite a change of heart after seeing the work of Tracy Miller! With a thousand repeating patterns in her personal library, this prolific pattern designer is the veritable queen of Illustrator and her masterful use of the program is really inspiring me to give vector patterns another chance. In contrast to Illustrator designs that can feel somewhat “cookie-cutter” and lacking in depth, Tracy’s work is richly detailed and the longer you stare at it the more you are rewarded with subtle variations in color, layers of texture and other visual treats. Tracy writes:

 

“I always find it a challenge to choose which images define my style; I often say I don’t have style, as my preferences change from week to week. Whatever I am working on today is my focus, and needs to be since I work for, and sell to, a wide variety of clients, each whose requirements are unique. Of course, I create patterns that are commercial and have sold, through my agent, to some big names: Kleenex, Walmart, CVS, Target, Smashgal, Nordstroms, and Barnes & Noble, to name a few. But my passion – commercially viable or not – really lies with honing my technical skills in vector. How can I create repeating patterns with rich textures, depth and complexity in Illustrator without the use of any filters? (I do use transparency.) So, what I’ve shown here are designs that embody the excitement that vector inspires in me. Perhaps it is this excitement that defines my style!”

 

You can see more of Tracy’s wonderful patterns at tracymillerdesigns.com. Tracy is also a Modern Yardage designer and you can check out her fabric collections here. Have a great weekend! -Chelsea