Leading poet Inua Ellams beautiful words printed across silk for Jigsaw's autumn collection...
One of the best things about my company, Lola, is our clients - individuals and companies whose work and talent I truly admire. Largely based in the creative, cultural and tech sectors - I love who they are and what they do. Helping them devise new revenue models and develop greater commercial resilience is part of the work we do together.
When Nigerian-born poet Inua Ellams first came on my radar I was looking for a poet to contribute to a book for a design company. He provided several poems - one of which brought tears to my eyes. An email or two later, he asked for a meeting.
The meeting was to discuss how he could turn this Midnight Run 'side line' into a more formal business. With his producer, Georgie Bednar, we worked together for some months to devise a workable strategy and revenue structure. Many artists face similar issues, turning events they have founded into solid revenue streams.
But his next project came as a real surprise and utter delight.
Approached by fashion retailers, Jigsaw, Inua was asked to provide a poem they could feature as part of their autumn/winter 2017 collection.
We are all used to seeing artists and designers work across fashion clothing. Nothing new there. Words and slogans feature on many brands' t-shirts and exercise kit. But it is rare that poets get offered this 'platform'.
Inua's poem The Child-God of Chaos is featured across a Jigsaw printed silk range this autumn. A beautiful swirling pattern of words. And the label credits him fully 'Jigsaw x Inua Ellams'.
But along with a new opportunity such as this comes the complexity of what the fee should be, what the licence should be, how the contract is best structured... Whilst not being lawyers, we work in this space the whole time - new creative outlets and intellectual asset usage need different approaches to revenue structures. Having been both a creative head and a financial director - I feel comfortable playing in both spaces.
Inua will benefit from this collaboration in a variety of ways... with Jigsaw introducing his poetry to people perhaps unfamiliar with his work. Seeing this word pattern may encourage other companies and brands to explore working with the poet, recognising his words and creativity introduce a totally different dynamic to their offer.
If you want to better understand how to develop and harness your creativity to find new outlets and revenues, take a look at our e-book Cake: A Creative's Guide to IP.