From having worked for ten years as the Senior Agent at one of London’s most leading illustration agencies, you’ve taken the step into the creation of your own agency! What led you to launch Lipstick of London?
I had been busy freelancing around the industry after having my three daughters, and when the smallest one went off to school I really felt I wanted to get back into Agenting. The time was right and I’d missed the role. A long lunch, a passing comment here, some thinking out loud there, and things started to fall into place. Loved the idea of something small, juicy & personal and it evolved from there really.
How, initially, should illustrators approach your agency?
I don’t mind how people get in touch but I do like people to use my name! If I get a ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ it instantly puts me off. It makes me feel the artist hasn’t done their homework, or looked into the type of agency they’re asking to join. There’s no law against a blanket coverage type of approach but for me it doesn’t land well. Initially I welcome a friendly email or message; bit of a personal insight is nice and links to their portfolio is a good first move.
When an illustrator approaches your agency, what are the first three factors that you look for?
A consistency of style, Originality & WOW factor…
Describe Lipstick of London in three key words…
Authentic, Attentive, Inspiring
As illustration is ever changing, how do you and will you maintain an upkeep of the sector with your illustrators?
Blimey that’s quite a big question! I would say it’s vital for any artist to keep on practising, keep drawing and challenging yourself. You may think you’ve really found your form and your portfolio is looking incredible and the work is flowing in as a result, but if you you don’t keep on moving it on, so to speak, then things don’t feel fresh or look fresh to your audience. Huge cliche but there is no finishing line, you have to dig deep and keep the momentum up, no matter what. Constant reviews of online presence and direction are a critical part of a smaller agency. Your shop Window has to shine out and compete with lots of ‘noise ‘ out there.
What and how do you feel the agent and artist relationship works best?
Experience has taught me that its crucial to stay in touch with your artists, whatever is going on. I am fairly old school about my use of the telephone and Skype, I try and touch base with my team as often as possible if they are busy or not. A friendly ear and all that. If you’ve built up a relationship with your artists, it’s so much easier to work and plan together. Honesty is a biggie obviously and generally keeping those channels of communication open works best for everyone.
What means do you use to promote your artists to new clients?
Well there are lots of ways that Agents do this, essentially we are all competing for the attention of a global audience and there are thousands of illustrators in the world. Everyones at it! It’s tempting to try and reach out to everyone, however with a small Agency I don’t think you can appeal to every one. I take a more individual and direct approach depending on which artist I’m trying to promote. Nothing worse than being sold something you don’t need and would never use is there? We look at who a target audience would be, a demographic almost and start from there. The usual fabulous 21st century techniques can be applied, but I try and find a bit of a niche to start from.
Working as an Agent, and being creative yourself, is a time consuming job. How do you keep your own creative work going in your spare time?
I’ve been juggling for years. I don’t watch as much telly I used to put it that way!