What’s Happening With The West Coast’s Largest Textile Design Agency?
Today we are speaking with Peri O’Connor, founder of Periscope Art, which represents 14 extremely successful textile design studios and is based in Los Angeles, California. Peri will be presenting live to the Textile Design Lab community on March 3rd at 3pm EST, you can ask her any questions you have regarding Textile Design Agencies. We are looking forward to learning more!
How long have you been in business and what do you see happening for the future of design agencies?
I’ve been selling artwork for 31 years and I started my company PeriscopeArt in 2000. I think the future of design agencies has actually been solidified the past two years during the pandemic. Art studios from around the world found it impossible to travel and therefore needed agents to show their artwork. I think most of the studios I represent would say they have an agent because we have close connections with the customers in our area, we do all the scheduling, and most importantly we collect all the invoices, leaving them to do what they do best, create fabulous artwork!
Do you only represent textile design studios or do you take on individual designers as well? What do you look for when you are searching for new studios to represent and how do you find them?
Out of the 14 textile design studios I represent, only one is an individual artist. I find that most individual artists cannot produce enough work or have enough varied styles to make the large and diverse collections that my customers need. For me to ask one of my customers to stop what they’re doing and look at some artwork I need to make sure that it is worth their time. I get studios 3 different ways 1) studios approach me to ask me to represent them. 2) Occasionally I will be on Instagram and follow someone whose artwork looks like something we don’t have and I message them to see if they have an agent on the West Coast of the United States. 3) I go to Premier Vision in Paris every six months (pre-Covid of course) and always walk up and down the rows to see if there are any studios that I think would do well in my market. When I look for studios I am usually looking with an eye for something different than what I already have and of course something that appeals to a big cross-section of my customer base.
In our (nearly) post-pandemic, fully-immersed-technology-world are buyers switching to online platforms? Have buyers and agencies found this to be a more effective solution?
This is kind of a mixed bag. I have some customers who have never stopped looking at artwork in person, even through the pandemic. Several appointments took place outside. We had to get very creative at times as temperatures rose over 100° F in Los Angeles. Of course, there are many customers who did virtual appointments with me and still do to this day. Now, I would say about a day and a half of my week is spent doing virtual appointments, the rest is face to face. There are a few customers who look at designs exclusively online. Six of my studios are housed on the PeriscopeArt Pattern Cloud site and another six have their own platforms. I would say the major advantage of the online access is customers like to spend time on the weekend browsing the site and purchasing designs. In the past we were limited to selling during business hours. The majority of customers prefer to see designs in person. And to be honest, even though we like those days when we can stay in our slippers, we to prefer seeing the customer face-to-face. We get to see their reaction, hear each and every comment, and keep the connections strong.
All of March The Textile Design Lab will be focusing on applying to work with print studios and agencies. There will be three presentations from successful print studios and agencies as well as two demonstrations on how to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to organize your files and present your portfolio. We will also be sending out archived tutorials and tips from previous presentations the entire month to help you prepare your portfolio and resume so you can be hired be your dream clients! Members of the lab who sign up for the course can also get access to WGSN to help research trends and color palettes. You can find all the info to sign up on the Textile Design Lab website.
At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and our private design community, The Textile Design Lab.