Licensing is Back!
After a brief hiatus, my Sublime Stitching Licensing Program is back! I thought I would do a blog entry about it. If you want to sell what you make with my patterns, thus making some extra cash for your crafts, this might be a great way to do it! I try to make it as easy on you (and me) as possible. I've already done the hard part: you know, made updated embroidery patterns people seem to love and want on stuff, earned lots of traffic coming to my website where they can find my dear licensees, oh, and a few other things to make this business somewhat recognizable and unique.
I mean, I can't possibly embroider my designs up for everyone who asks (as much as I would love to) so having an army of licensees at my back let's me say: why don't you ask one of these wonderful and capable stitchers to do it, or see what they already have stitched up for sale on their site? And seeing as how I have over 50 sheets of designs that you can combine in a gerzillion different ways, there should be no problem for you to make something unique and desirable. Get creative, people!
I sense you have questions. I have answers. Let me guess. You want to know...
Uh, why is there now a fee to apply?
Because I have to read all your applications all by my lonesome (which is harder if you have bad handwriting, but stitchers tend to have impeccable handwriting), approve them, sign the contracts, file them and mail a copy back to you. When applying was free, I was getting an overwhelming amount of applications and I couldn't keep on top of them. Because anyone could apply for free, it seemed like everyone applied. Having a modest fee should help stem the tide a little bit, and make for a more serious and robust group of licensees.
So, it's possible that I pay the application fee and am still denied?
Technically yes, but to be honest it's highly unlikely. I rarely, rarely turn anyone down.
How much does it cost if I'm approved?
Possibly nothing to very, very little. 5% of your sales is collected, but I generally don't collect royalties unless a large amount of items are being made / sold. It's decided on a case-by-case basis what that means and I expect you to be honest with me about that. Okay?
So, if I'm a freelance designer or employed by a manufacturer, I can apply for your licensing agreement myself and use your designs for projects I submit to my boss / company to make, right?
Wrong. The company manufacturing the product will have to apply for the license themselves and I will have to work out terms with them. My licensing program is first and foremost designed to be indie-maker friendly, and allow me the opportunity to work with larger manufacturers in an ethical fashion if they want to produce goods bearing my designs.
Do I have to be hand-embroidering your designs to obtain a license?
Nope! You can be using them as a basis for painting, digitizing, woodburning, screen-printing, beading...anything. Depending on the method of manufacture will determine the royalty. In other words, if you are making hundreds of product by machine with my designs on them, the royalty will be higher. If you are doing them entirely by hand by yourself, in small batches, the royalty will be little to nothing.
So, why do this at all?
Because if I don't, I lose the ability to enforce my copyright. If you don't, you are making it harder for me to enforce my copyright. If I say "yes, you can sell what you make with my designs and don't need written permission from me" then *anyone*, including major manufacturers (who just looove my designs but don't looove to pay me or ask permission first) could take my designs, use them on a product and sell them without any formal approval and without me being able to stop them. And, I'm not just being paranoid. Three lines of clothing have been manufactured without my permission in recent years, bearing my designs. Unaltered. Bought by the company directly from me. I'm not kidding. (I successfully stopped them in each case, and I didn't make a big deal out of it, so you may not know this happened to me at all). So instead of saying no one can do it, I try to make it as easy as possible for most everyone to do it -while still having a system in place for legitimate licensing. Make sense?
If you have more questions, you might find this Crafting a Business column I wrote about this very subject for Venuszine.com helpful and informative.