Update from the Bright Agency
last updated 26 May 2020
Below is an update from Bright Founder and Director Vicki Willden-Lebrecht on the work we’re doing on the behalf of our artists and authors, and some of the changes we’ve made in response to the continued pandemic.
Artwork: Margarida Esteves
With the challenges facing everyone, we’ve moved quickly to diversify our business. We’ve carefully identified areas of new work, discovered where the opportunities lie and pursued business to win work. Where clients are unable to continue with ‘business as usual’, we have re-focused on the active and potential work out there. We continue to pitch, share our artists’ portfolios and create bespoke light-boxes. We are still booking projects and negotiating the best for our artists and authors.
Artwork: Gillian Blease
Our financial position is strong, and we have maintained our expected payment collection. We have restructured our credit control by linking our accounts team with the agents, enabling them to pursue direct contact with commissioners over any outstanding accounts. This has worked well in the past weeks, ensuring we are bringing in money in a timely manner.
We will continue to take any steps necessary to stay in our current good position. We have furloughed one member of staff and we are taking all additional steps that are available in anticipation of the lockdown continuing to ensure our business with clients and artists remains uninterrupted. All this ensures that, in the face of so much uncertainty, we will keep on working as hard as ever at representing all our artists and authors to the best of our abilities and winning new work.
Overall sales results for April show a healthy situation. We had our best quarter to date from January – March 2020, so we were expecting a slight downturn in comparison in April, and this has happened almost exactly as we forecasted. Our figures are down on the previous month by 20%, but we remain only -1% affected in new sales orders. We have shared these figures as a mark of transparency and to demonstrate our confidence going into the next few months ahead.
Artwork: Grace Easton
Away from financial updates, we also want to give you an overview of our clients and the business coming in. Advertising, packaging and editorial is still very active, and if anything we are seeing even more opportunities than usual. Illustration is in demand as an alternative to photography as production companies find themselves unable to shoot new content. We have already secured some wonderful projects for our artists in this sector.
Our Education division is booming with the new normal of home learning, and we are taking full advantage of this. Meanwhile, our Children’s Trade division has seen one of its strongest starts to the year so far. To expedite our contracts and royalties management we have welcomed back Begonia Filgueira, one of Bright’s original contract experts and negotiators. She will support Sandra and the contracts team.
We are working closely with artists most affected by the lockdown in areas like Art Licensing and encouraging them to develop and diversify their portfolios. We have been offering developmental briefs which have been well received, as well as encouraging artists to develop any creative ideas outside of their usual range.
Artwork: Manuel Šumberac
We believe the best form of defence is attack, and we took the unprecedented move to launch our Chinese website despite the current situation. We are really using this market to expand and pick up new work to balance out any downturn that might come from other areas. This was a bold move that is already paying off, and our intention is to ensure that our artists remain working and secure the very best contract terms possible regardless of which market or division they work within.
Artwork: Viola Wang
Bright has also upped our marketing with additional campaigns, newsletters and social media featuring not only relevant and well-curated artwork but highlighting some of the incredible Covid-19 response work that our artists have shared online. We love seeing all the amazing things they are doing!
We are also currently developing new features on our website to direct traffic to areas where buyers are looking. We are constantly collecting and interpreting user data from our site so that our decisions and developments are informed and based on what people are looking for right now.
In another branch of our marketing drive, our main Instagram account has now reached 50,000 followers and to celebrate, we ran a ‘Draw This In Your Style’ competition, hosted by Bright Artist Nicola O’Byrne. The winner of the competition will win an online portfolio review with one of our Bright Agents.
We have also converted our Emporium to a fully online resource. This has been a real success in offering our artists and authors discoverability. Through our consumer-facing Emporium channels, we can offer our artists and authors extra marketing opportunities despite book launches and normal promotional opportunities ceasing for the time being.
Whilst our main priority is always to promote and protect our artists, we also have a strong place in our local London community, and we have therefore donated almost half of all the book stock currently in the Emporium to schools who have a large number of vulnerable children. Our books are being included in the food packages sent out to children, and we have also donated additional resources to shelters and food banks in our local area. (On a practical note, the books from the Emporium were purchased by us through regular trade channels, so authors and illustrators are still receiving full royalties for these donated books!)
Finally, I wanted to update you on the Bright team more generally, and to share my pride in all the Bright employees are doing. We are all working in extraordinary circumstances, and everyone is doing a fantastic job. Thanks to their hard work and proactive approach, we look to come out of this time with new and exciting projects and client bases that we would not have before accessed as well a sustaining the relationships we have worked so hard to build over the years.
Bright UK Zoom meeting
Bright US Zoom meeting
I’d like to end by reiterating how proud I am of all our artists and authors. Many of them are facing difficult situations with health, family or home-life and I am always so appreciative of their continued professionalism and hard work.
Stay safe, happy and healthy, and my very best wishes to all of you,
Founder & Director