Society6 and The Cotery for Independent Artists
I always appreciate the local artists…big brands are fun and nice and all, but what about the little guys? It is ridiculous how many extremely talented souls out there who are fighting for recognition, but competition can be bloody and gut-wrenching out there. When I started this blog, I thought I’d focus purely on my love for denim and a few of my top favorite contemporary brands, but I’ve always had an appreciation for the lesser known talents and the overall theme of this blog kind of fell into place once I realized how much I loved having at least a little power in my hands to get their names out there.
Getting your name recognized is just one piece of the puzzle, however. Whether you are simply a painter, a digital artist, a clothing designer, or whatever, having the resources, knowledge and capital to actually mass produce and sell your work through multiple channels can be a gigantic bottleneck to your success. I’ve recently seen a few sites out there that cater to those issues, which to me is a tremendous idea for a business model in itself! Two stand out to me in particular: The Cotery and Society6. I discovered Society6 when I had been browsing all over creation for some neat leggings to wear to Lightning in a Bottle, and upon my return Facebook decided to show me an ad that I could have really used (even though I did grab a sweet pair from Onzie for the festival). A few days later, super talented local artist Jeff Claassen disclosed via a Facebook post that his work was now available on the site in the form of leggings, wall prints, mugs, pillows, and a whole lot more. I can’t really remember how I stumbled across The Cotery, other than the fact that one of my favorite visionary artists of all time, Android Jones, is featured there. His work is so amazing it warranted its own gallery at Lightning in a Bottle last weekend, and his work is featured on album covers of a few of my favorite electronic music artists! Anyway, this website/business model is neat, and it’s opened a whole new door for independent artists to get the leg up they truly deserve! Check them out!
The brilliant minds behind The Cotery state, “We do what we love, so designers can do what they love” and “Behind the scenes is good. It’s where we thrive.” Obviously, a painter paints his heart out until he is great at what he does, but merging into the apparel industry can prove to be a dilemma as there are full-on colleges for fashion designing and education about different textiles and merchandising for a reason! At Cotery, they handle everything…”trend forecasting to tech packets; sourcing to sample development; pattern drafting to fit assessment.” Their staff members are extremely experienced, with a CEO who taught herself to code at at age 15 before entering college for theoretical mathematics and began building tech companies, and a product director with extensive experience in the fashion industry. The Cotery specializes on apparel, from tanks to tees to leggings, and offer both ready-to-wear items as well as upcoming concepts and presales.
Society6 features the traditional wall art, mobile and laptop skins, home decor (like shower curtains, throw pillows, bedsheets, tapestries, rugs, clocks, cards), as well as apparel for men and women (hoodies, leggings, and a variety of types of tees and tanks), and accessories such as tote bags so you could say they went all out! They have a pretty similar business model as The Cotery, reproducing artwork on high quality goods without letting the artists lose the rights to their work. They’ve participated in numerous collaborations, including one with Trekell art supplies in which they created a signature product line of acrylic paint! They’ve also worked with their artists to release yearly calendars. Society6 also offers a curator program, which is similar to an affiliate program in regards to the fact that a curator gets a commission for artwork sold that they refer others to purchase. Not only does Society6 help out independent artists, but those who appreciate it as well!
Here’s the awesome art from local artist Jeff Claassen I was talking about! There’s so much more, so click to view the whole collection.