Surtex 2016 Recap – Insights and New Perspective

Surtex 2016 Recap, new insights this year!

This year’s Surtex was very different for Dari Design Studio for two main reasons. One, we didn’t have a booth and two, we didn’t travel together to NYC. I went to NYC by myself and my sister stayed in Cali taking care of business. Naturally, you might expect our perspective to be a little different from our previous Surtex experiences.

I was fortunate to coach a dear friend (Corinne) through her first show experience, not only preparing for the show but also helping her set up and take down the booth, and also guiding her on how to interact with prospective buyers, and so on.

Surtex 2016

I saw the show from a different perspective than how I used to see it and it was an insightful experience. I recommend everyone to take a year off the show and just go and observe the show as an outsider. It will bring new insights that can be very helpful indicators of new paths to take with your business.

Here are some of the insights from this new perspective of Surtex:

  1. First Timer Lack of Support. There is still a lack of support for first timers. Even though there are lots of helpful information for Surtex first timers on the web, Facebook groups and also tools provided by the show, there is still a huge gap and need for support. Not only for the technicalities of the show, but also (and mainly) support is needed psychologically and emotionally since artists are stepping into a new culture that triggers all sorts of doubts and insecurities. There are many crucial decisions that an artist must make on their own that can be nerve-racking.
  2. Importance of Multiple Income Streams. The licensing world can be deceiving. Seeing an artist show their work for 2 or more years at Surtex (or any other show) by themselves or with an agent and seeing their patterns in products, doesn’t always mean they are living off licensing or that they are making profits with their business. The importance of diversifying and creating multiple streams of income together with a brand following has become equally important for today’s artists.
  3. Impacts of Technology. Technology and the market are changing the industry and that is allowing for new ways to reach buyers. The communication between buyers and artists is becoming easier while changing the licensing culture rapidly.
  4. Designer and Agency Relationships. Relationships between designers and Agencies are also changing. Because Agencies are also looking into creating multiple streams of income,  artists can learn so much from agencies without having to be represented by them.
  5. Information Sharing. The industry has become more generous, honest and more willing to share. Information is more available and we as a collective understand that there is space (and enough demand) for all of us to succeed. We are willing to share so many more tools, tricks, supplies, advice, and insights. We are also willing to put our artwork out there for everyone to see and little by little we are getting rid of the password protected portfolios.

Besides coaching and gaining a new perspective, I was also meeting with clients, picking up on trends and getting inspired by so many talented artists. I spent some time learning as well, learning from other artists’ journeys, and from two classes I took at the show. And finally and most importantly, sharing and connecting — this is my favorite part, visiting some booths and getting to make new friends. Being an artist can be lonely, so when I get the opportunity to meet other artists in person I enjoy the company very much!

 Networking a Surtex 2016


In conclusion, Surtex and the surface pattern licensing world are aligning more with the way we do business. And that is great news!! We are happy about these transitions and we are embracing the industry more than ever since this just reassures and confirms the vision we have for Dari Design Studio within the  industry.

If you’re considering exhibiting at Surtex or any other show next year, let us know in the comments below what your major concerns and fears are about it. Are you in need of more time, creativity, financial resources, working space, community? We would love to know.

Also you might want to check all these other Surtex related posts, mainly here, here, and here. We love growing and sharing with you!

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