Insight Spotlight: Expert advice from Anne Brown of Studio M


Welcome to our ‘Insight Spotlight’ column, where we share insights from industry experts in some of the hottest markets out there. This week we are pleased to offer expert advice from Anne Brown of Studio M

Primary Market: Our focus is servicing Gift Stores, independent specialty retailers. I really enjoy this market as it supports the “buy local” movement and is never stagnate. There is always a desire to make something new or to put a modern twist on an old idea. Be aware of the industry. I always encourage new artists to become familiar with the industry and walk one of shows during Market before they really start designing for it. Ask retailers what is selling, what is working for them. Research!!

How can this market be lucrative for an artist?

If the artist takes the time to really understand what works for the client, there can be great success. Coming to the table with a concept for a product line, rather than simply a body of art, there is far more appeal and opportunity for long term success. It is rare that I work with an artist who just furnishes flat art. The artists who have seen great success in our industry have often introduced a new idea, not just a new piece of art.

What is going to be hot in your market in 2015 such as subject matter, colors, products?

Being mostly outdoor product, our colors need to be as bright and bold as possible. I am seeing less layered, mixed media and seeing more simplified designs on clean flooded backgrounds. I am thrilled to see more humor….I enjoy reading copy that is clever. We always do well with outdoor subject matter: birds, butterflies, seasonal icons, etc but are excited to be exploring more surface design and typography!

What kinds of products/offerings are a growth sector for your company?

We have a unique business model. We specialize in functional outdoor products that are decorated. We are having the greatest success with concept-driven lines and less lifestyle collections.

What do you look for when buying new art?

I am always looking for something I feel like I haven’t seen before or a new approach to a timeless motif or icon. That being said, great art is where is all starts. I like to see that someone has thought through the application of the artwork on the product and whether it is a good fit stylistically.

Is there any rhyme or reason to why some products sell well and why others don’t?

It is a perfect storm of great price, quality, design and timing. The perceived “price-value” of the product is important. In any wholesale business, retailers need to buy into the idea and then endorse it. The product needs to sell itself, but the support of the retailer is critical in the success of the product.

What is the one thing you wish artists would do differently when pitching art to you?

Or what do you love that they do when they pitch to you? I love it when an artist knows what I make! You would be surprised how many people send portfolios of images and really do not think through whether the designs are appropriate on the products I produce. Not all art is a good fit for all products!

What one piece of advice do you have for artists trying to sell their first piece of art in that market?

If you get a “no thank you” from a company, clarify if it means “no thank you” to a specific design or “no thank you” to your look. If it is “no thank you” to a design, keep trying, find out what didn’t work for them and try again!! Also, while we are collecting artwork year round, there are peak seasons. Find out when those are and what the Creative Director might be needing that others haven’t provided! If the “no thank you” was for your look….move on! There are plenty of fish;)

About Anne

Anne Brown_headshot

Anne has always been drawn to creative people, fascinated by their courage and ability to express themselves through their craft. With her own passion for design, Anne’s entire career has been in product development for the home décor and specialty gift industries. She is someone who took a creative spark as a child and filled her life with a career and people who keep continue to keep that spark ignited.

After graduating from the University of Kansas, where she studied textile design, she began her career with Seabrook Wallcoverings.

A few years later, she became the Creative Product Manager of a new Home Division for Demdaco, later becoming a Senior Product Developer, working on collections including Kelly Rae Roberts, Embellish Your Story, and Lyricology.

In 2011, Anne joined Magnet Works as the Director of Product Development to help expand their current line of products. Through a shared passion for community – artists, employees, suppliers, family, etc., she helped the team at Magnet Works to create a new division, Studio M, where she has the opportunity to work with many more artists and bring art to the garden.

Find out more here: Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/blog

Anne is one of the esteemed judges on the Global Talent Search judging panel.


Want to learn more about making more commercially viable art whilst staying true to yourself? Join our acclaimed online course ‘Make Art That Sells‘, led by top agent Lilla Rogers. Next class starts March 2 – find out more and register here!



  • I love the StudioM lines…I have met Anne and she is such an authentically nice person! Hoping for a lot if new opportunities this year since I signed with Penny Lane.

    February 11, 2015
  • That was a very insightful interview – thank you Anne.

    It was the second time today I heard (or read) someone recommend we find out what didn’t work and pitch accordingly. It was a PR professional that mentioned it earlier. It really is a collaboration of a innovative team not an individual that creates exciting new ideas for successful product isn’t it?

    Thanks again!

    February 13, 2015
  • Thank you – great insight and advice.

    February 20, 2015

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