the blog


Jan 06

Advice and call outs Edward Burns says Happy new year!

It’s that time of year again for an Advocate update! Read Ed’s letter to find out about our new heads up calendar and book, the growth of the company and what exciting things we are doing this year, including fairs and events. We need some fantastic new designs to take to all of these shows so keep sending in new ideas! Check out the Resources section of the website at the bottom of the ‘About us’ page for plenty of inspiration and ideas.

“Hope you had a great Xmas and Happy New Year!- for me, the break is usually the one time of year I don’t get e-mails so can turn the blackberry off, however since we now do more work overseas with countries that take less time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve I think this year has seen a possible end to that tradition. I should not complain, usually we don’t cover our staff costs in December and actually record a loss- however this December our sales were double (yep 100%) last years, which was a record year itself.

Heads Up 2- has just gone out phew! but hold on… it’s a calendar and has a CD resource folder as well this year..that’s going to be useful. We have sent out to 1100 publishing contacts worldwide, (eye watering when they cost $10 to post each) we have another 400 to go out this month.

2011 has been a busy year here at Advocate, we moved to larger premises and doubled in staffing (what’s that story about fish growing to fill the size of a pool?). We believe bigger makes us stronger, we can do more things for you, hey like the heads up book and more besides. I think being bigger means we have become a destination agency, by giving clients choice and back up. It also means the artists and clients get a better fit, like a store that is big enough to stock half sizes…..but we don’t want to act like the biggest, the (more creative) team here are all about working like a one-man-band would work from a kitchen table, one- to- one attention – ahhh those were the days.

Oh, did I mention “we” picked up 15 awards last year? Check our blog for details. We have even commissioned a little animation to celebrate it on the front of the site. Sure it’s about the art, being paid for a good job, seeing your work out there and working with great people but nothing quite beats a swelling trophy cabinet as well. Just enabling talented people to carry on working is enough to see them simply get better and better at what they do each year…….. actually it’s that, which gives me the biggest kick.

We are planning for growth in 2012. We now have Becky Reece on staff who runs telesales, lead validation, and works with Lesley. Also new is Martin Tidy who is a trainee Agent, that brings the team to 14. What’s on now -Kate is off on Sunday on a week’s sales trip to the US, she is going to Boston, Atlanta (including Americas Mart) and Florida. She’s seeing a mixture of greeting card and book publishers. – We have taken space at Paperworld in Frankfurt at the end of the month and then the Spring Fair in Birmingham on the 5th of February. I’m panicking already about what work we have available for this, please dedicate some time to new designs! We have a new large stand at each….now just to pay for it.

We have some cool things in development that will benefit you coming up later in the year. -New upgraded back end engine to the website. (cumulus 8.1) The site will be faster, compatible with the next generation of browsers and have better SEO capability. It’s a £25,000 project intending to get your folio out there to new art buyers and make it easier to find that perfect fit. -New artists internet interface. Means you can login, check what work is pending, what jobs you have in progress, what is waiting to be be paid and how much $$ is going out to you. You can print statements and create invoices. (It will be similar to your on-line bank statements). It will be completely transparent i.e all credit control notes will be recorded so you can see at first hand the often epic battles we have to get your money in! It will also have a note page that we will be able to add what call outs we have had for you etc. -New lifestyle calendar, based on the success of the “heads up book” we are producing one for art licensing clients. It will run from May to May and be a working day calendar so 252 pages long.

20 years ago I went freelance and set up the advocate cooperative, this year is also my 10th year married, the Queens Jubilee, London Olympics, Kate’s 30th and Caroline’s 40th. I hope there is even more to celebrate to come. Don’t forget new designs for the shows! Happy New year Ed.”