Designer Nerida Hansen has created a new app that helps surface pattern designers to connect with companies looking to license artwork.
Photos courtesy of Nerida Hansen
Like many designers, Nerida Hansen had an annual ritual. She would count her money, pack her bags, and travel to the major design trade fairs like HeimTextil in Frankfurt Germany. It was a far trip from Australia where Hansen lives. But as the creative director of Nerida Hansen Fabrics, it was a necessity.
“The beauty of those trips is that you meet buyers from all of the big retailers and small companies. And you’ve established great relationships. They know that they can come to you as a source design,” she said.
But the trips are expensive. Booths alone run thousands of dollars. Plus more and more, transactions are moving online. So Hansen looked around for an app that allowed designers and buyers to connect. When she didn’t find one, she created it.
Hansen has just launched the PatternField app. The app is available for iOS through the Apple Store. An Android version is slated for March or April.
Hansen believes it’s the first of its kind.
“I really felt there was a huge need for a platform where designers could showcase their work. And buyers could go onto that platform, knowing that if they saw something they loved, they could have it then,” she said.
Here’s how it works. Designers who have an iPhone or iPad subscribe for $39 AUD or $28 USD a month and create a profile.
Hansen gives several tips for designers interested in using the app. Instead of loading all examples at once, she says designers should emphasize quality over quantity.
“Start with a small selection of your best designs and add to them as you feel ready. This is a continuous journey, and buyers will be encouraged to visit your socials, website or contact you out of the app,” she advises on the app’s website. Designers should also have keywords to tag their visuals and know what kind of licensing option they’re seeking. The choices on the app include licensing, buyout, or both. Finally, she suggests designers have a rate card, as well as a boiler-plate contract ready when buyers contact them.
Hansen recruited buyers from contacts she has gathered throughout her multifaceted career.
“I’ve been an agent for six or seven years. I still license and offer creative services to the big retailers around the world,” she said.
“After working with so many fabulous artists, I just had the desire to print my own fabric, because a lot of the retailers out in the world, I felt were just super commercial. And I wanted to offer something really different.”
Once designers and buyers connect via the app, negotiations are handled between the principals.
“So when a buyer likes a design, there’s a direct button for them to connect to the artist,“ Hansen said. “An email comes through to the artist and all the transactions occur outside of the app.”
Hansen stressed the Patternfield app isn’t meant to replace the big industry shows. But she sees it as a compliment, especially as the world goes more and more online.
“So (Patternfield App) is not a full end-to-end solution for the surface patent and textile design industry,” she said. “But it’s one of those fantastic little add-on tools to your marketing or your sourcing strategy.”
Afi Scruggs is our starff writer. She is a freelancer based in Cleveland, Ohio.