Episode 38
Erin Dollar, Cotton & Flax

on navigating licensing partnerships

Erin Dollar, the owner of Cotton & Flax is an artist and textile designer, focused on creating home goods and bold surface pattern designs. Her background as a printmaker guides her work for Cotton & Flax, and the entire collection of Cotton & Flax home goods are designed, silkscreen printed, and sewn in California.

On today’s episode we’re talking about how Erin licensed her artwork for a line of fabrics manufactured by Robert Kaufman. She’ll share her story of how this licensing partnership came to be, considerations when partnering with other brands and things she learned along the way.

ON TODAY’S EPISODE:

  • Cotton & Flax’s product offerings
  • What motivated Erin to start Cotton & Flax
  • How she came up with the name when she decided to re-brand
  • How the collaboration with Robert Kaufman came about and why she chose to work with them
  • How she crafted her licensing pitch
  • Considerations smaller companies should take into account when looking at a partnership with a larger company
  • Red flags when it comes to contracts
  • Flat rate compensation versus royalty compensation
  • Brand strategy when co-marketing your products with a larger company
  • How diversifying her income has allowed her to feel more confident in her ability to be self-employed
  • What she would do differently on her next licensing deal
  • How Erin defines success in her business
  • The advice she would give to someone starting out in a product-based business

Download These Quotables to Save and Share




KEY TAKE-AWAYS

“Cotton & Flax was a weird experiment that got out of control. It was almost completely accidental.” – Erin Dollar

“I wanted to explore working with manufacturers who have that expertise, have that ability to scale up and really create a quality product but without having to do it all myself.” – Erin Dollar

“Thinking about the way that I could craft a pitch that would be appealing to their end use customer was really important.” – Erin Dollar

“It has to be a blend of the strength of your work and your ability to get that message across in an effective way.” – Erin Dollar

“It’s really about that partnership. It’s not, ‘What can I get out of it?’ It’s, ‘How can we work together to have a successful collaboration?’” – Erin Dollar

“If you don’t feel comfortable looking over legal documents and really feel like you can understand those documents, get someone to help you” – Erin Dollar

“Licensing has been a way for me to really grow my brand beyond my own product line while holding onto the rights to my work to be able to use in other ways.” – Erin Dollar

“If you’re not comfortable with what’s in the agreement, ask for more of what you want. Don’t be afraid to speak up.” – Katie Hunt

“The diversification in income is something that’s really helped me to feel more confident in my ability to be self-employed.” – Erin Dollar

“Success to me means freedom to do the type of creative work that I want to do.” – Erin Dollar

“I feel like we’re all our own worst critics. We need to get ourselves out of that mindset and give ourselves more credit for the amazing things we’re doing.” – Katie Hunt

“Having a network of folks that you can turn to who care about you and want to see you succeed is so vital.” – Erin Dollar

CONNECT WITH ERIN:

Erin Dollar is an artist and textile designer, focused on creating home goods and bold surface pattern designs. Her background as a printmaker guides her work for Cotton & Flax, and the entire collection of Cotton & Flax home goods are designed, silkscreen printed, and sewn in California. Erin’s collaborates with companies to see her pattern designs come to life, most recently as a collection of linen fabrics called Arroyo, manufactured by Robert Kaufman.

When she’s not in the studio, Erin loves to share her knowledge of printmaking, and teach hands-on workshops. Erin’s focus on building community around art and craft has led her to teach at conferences like Craftcation and CAMP, as well as for an audience of over 3,000 on CreativeLive. As she continues to grow her creative business, Erin is looking forward to many creative collaborations to come.

Website: Cotton & Flax
Facebook: @cottonandflax
Instagram: @cottonandflax
Pinterest: @cottonandflax
Twitter: @cottonandflax

Ethical Pricing Guidelines Handbook for Designers — new 2018 version available for pre-sale here

JOIN THE TSBC FAMILY:

Paper Camp

Our signature Paper Camp program is back and we’re now enrolling for Winter 2018!

We’re talking about product development sales tools, trade shows, marketing, working with buyers, sales reps and the press. Attend live or online. It’s the similar content, available in different formats.

Paper Camp Conference: an intensive 2-day program taking place March 1-2 in Los Angeles.

Paper Camp E-Course: 4-week online program with live Q&A calls starting January 16th.

Figure out which program is best for you and grab your seat at www.tradeshowcamp.com/papercamp