Joan Lefkowitz, an original marketer of TopsyTail tm, is president of ACCESSORY BRAINSTORMS, NYC, a licensing agency, sales representation and consultancy for Fashion/Beauty Accessory and Lifestyle Inventions. Accessory Brainstorms is always looking for inventions in these categories, and offers one-on-one consulting for inventors who need guidance. ACCESSORIES Magazine awarded Joan for the “Most Inventive Products” and also cited her as one of the 100 most important accessories industry “Movers and Shakers”. Contact her at through her website at www.accessorybrainstorms.com
Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about where you are based, your background experience how you first started in the fashion accessories business?
Joan: Accessory Brainstorms is located in New York City in the Accessories Building. I started in the business world in 1984 ‘cold turkey.’ previously having taught public speaking at a University. Always very interested in innovative products and fashion accessories, I decided to follow my passion to bring unique products to the marketplace.
Joan: Topsy Tail™. It was the first fashion accessory product to appear in a DRTV commercial. Accessory Brainstorms sold it to department stores. Tag Tamers™ by Hollywood Fashion Tapes. This product covers garment labels so that they don’t itch. It is great to work with a product that solves a universal problem.
Tara: Your company offers sales representation and acts as a licensing agency for inventors and designers with fashion accessory products. Please can you explain what a licensing agent does and why an inventor might want to consider using one rather than going it alone?
Joan: A Licensing Agent is the matchmaker between the Invention and companies that will manufacture and distribute it and pay the Inventor Royalties on sales. The Licensing Agent will help negotiate the Licensing Agreement to be of greatest benefit to the Inventor.
Joan: To create a working prototype to see if the Invention really works. Also to search the internet to see if it has already been invented by someone else. Every first time Inventor should educate themselves by reading articles and books on the subject of Invention.
Tara: What are the most important things an inventor should consider when designing and developing their accessory?
Joan: See Tips and Insights on my website
Tara: At what stage of development should an inventor come to someone like you with their invention?
Joan: When the Invention is Patent Pending and there is a working prototype.
Tara: What level of importance is placed on patents within the accessory industry. Is it an essential part, or is more emphasis placed on being first to Market and developing a trademark and brand?
Joan: When it is just another version of an accessory or a new design, first to market is what counts. However, if it has a unique utility and you want to keep exclusivity in the market, the Utility Patent is important.
Tara: What are the most common mistakes you see inventors make with their inventions and how should they avoid them?
Joan: Investing in the development of the Invention before it has been tested for interest in the marketplace or without financial support to back up the product. A safer bet is to have the product evaluated by a professional company and consider Licensing the Invention to an established manufacturer if financial resources are limited.
Tara: If a inventor decides to manufacture and produce their own accessory do you have any advice on getting their products into retailers and how to get PR for their products?
Joan: Make the product available through an 800 number and a website and drive traffic to the site. Promote to blogs and to magazines. Exhibit at tradeshows. Get a sales representative showroom to sell the product to specialty retailers.
Tara: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Joan: Most first time Inventors are busy with their day jobs or other responsibilities. The most efficient way to get your Invention out there and to profit from it, is to have it Licensed so that you can collect passive income. This provides a space to concentrate on creating more Inventions.
Tara: Where are the best places where inventors can find out more about you and what you do?
Joan: Through my website www.accessorybrainstorms.com . I look forward to hearing from you!
Are you an inventor with an interesting story to share or an expert in the industry? Please get in touch via the contact form or email tara (at) ideasuploaded (dot) com