Stephen Key Invention Licensing Seminar in Belfast November 13th 2012

Stephen Key InventorStephen Key, inventor and author of One Simple Idea will be part of a Licensing Seminar to be held in Belfast on Tuesday 13th November

Cost £50 +VAT (which includes lunch and a copy of Stephen’s Book).

If you want to learn more about licensing your ideas you can find out more at:

Stephen Key Licensing Seminar

Tuesday 13 November 2012, 09:00 → 17:00
Riddel Hall, Stranmillis Road, Belfast

New Book One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs by Stephen Key Coming Soon

One Simple Idea by Stephen KeyIf you have read my blog before you may be aware that I am a big fan of Stephen Key’s method of licensing ideas without spending much money. Stephen Key’s previous book “One Simple Idea” is one of my favourites on invention and licensing so I was excited when Stephen emailed me to say he has a new book coming out soon. This time still called “One Simple Idea” but aimed at “Startups and Entrepreneurs“. The book will be out on November 5th from Amazon and Barnes and Noble and I am very keen to get reading. Stephen has also volunteered to do a Skype interview when I have read the book.

You also can get special bonuses ordering the book through the Inventright website

One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs

A brief Synopsis from One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs from the notes Stephen sent me

One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs, helps people understand how to kick fear to the curb and start a business. There are four major things to do to be able to make a dream become a reality.

Keep it simple

If you focus on simple ideas, it can help you face your fear and overcome anxiety. It isn’t necessary to reinvent the wheel to start a business.

Ways of testing an idea

It may seem like a huge undertaking to try and test a simple product, but there are easy ways to do this to help shove the anxiety of starting a business aside.

How to plan

The best way to plan your business is to do the math. The bottom line is, at the end of the day, can you put money in your pocket?

Keeping it going

This is one of the most daunting things to consider when starting a small business.

Everybody has an idea. The idea of starting a business is frightening, but these things helped me understand how to take away the risk, and find the courage to jump off the ledge.

Cheap and Free Photos for your Invention Sell Sheets

royalty free photos for Invention Sheet

If you are putting together a sell sheet for your new invention idea you probably need some good images to make your sell sheet look more convincing. Let’s say for example you are creating a sell sheet for a new toy invention and you need pictures of happy children, then avoid the clip art as it generally looks cheap and unprofessional and instead here are a range of sites where you can find free or cheap royalty free photos.

Cheap Royalty Free Photos for your Invention Sell Sheet
This is one of the websites I use most frequently for my design work and sell sheets. There are a large range of photos (and illustrations) to choose from and you can either buy them by purchasing credits or on a subscription.
Each photo only costs a pound/dollar or two
or you can buy a subscription if you use a lot.

Probably one of the most well known of all the photo libraries, and they also do illustration, video and music too. A few years ago I used to use them almost exclusively but then they were acquired by Getty Images and the price went up quite a bit. That being said the prices are still relatively cheap.
A reasonable sized photo costs from about £10 ($16) or you can buy a subscription if you use a lot.

Another large collection of royalty free images of decent quality
A reasonable sized photo costs from about £10 ($16) or you can buy a subscription if you use a lot.

A collection of royalty free images that are very cheap to buy
Each photo only costs a pound/dollar or two
or you can buy a subscription if you use a lot.

Free Photos for your Invention Sell Sheets
Morgue file has a selection of completely free to use photos. In general the photos are not as good as the paid libraries, but you can’t argue with the price.

This is a another website that offers free photos. I have only used it very occasionally.

Public Domain Photos
A site which shows public domain photos.


Please note: the links to the cheap royalty free images sites are affiliate links. This means if you buy through my link, you pay the same but I will make a commission and be rich, rich, rich 😉 well I might be able to save up to buy a few pics for my sell sheets too.

British Invention Show and Brand Licensing Europe 2011

British Invention Show 19th to 22nd October 2011

I first heard about The British Invention Show in the book Mother of Invention by Sharon Wright, but I had already missed last years show. The British Invention Show is on again soon from 19th to 22nd October 2011 at Old Spitalfields Market E1

. There are also award nights as well as the exhibition during the day

According to the British Invention Show Website:

“250 inventions, innovations and new products are expected from over 20 countries. This years event promises to be the largest in the history of this important annual show-case.”

I am hoping to go to the show, what about you?

Below a video of the British Invention Show 2009


Brand Licensing Europe 18th – 20th October 2011

Also on at around the same time is the Brand Licensing Europe is taking place in Olympia, London 18th – 20th October 2011. I have been to the Licensing Show a couple of times in the past and also took a stand one year to show some of my character designs.The show consists of both well known brands and characters along with the work of individual artists and designers.

I am hoping to go to the show, what about you?

Below a video of Brand Licensing Europe 2009



Interview with Joan Lefkowitz an Accessories Licensing Agent

Joan Lefkowitz licensing agentJoan 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

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.

topsy tail accessory inventionTara: What have been some of your favourite inventions that you have worked on and why?

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.

fantail inventionTara: What would be the first steps you would advise an inventor to take if they have what they think is a great idea for a fashion accessory?

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 . I look forward to hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this interview you can read more here and check out the podcast here.

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

Have you used Video for your Presenting your Inventions?

video cameraI have heard from several sources while writing this blog that creating videos is a great way to show off your invention ideas to potential licensees. In several of his webinars, inventor Stephen Key has spoken of how video can be used instead of (or as well as) a sell sheet as a useful way to show off your idea to it’s full potential. Mary Ellroy, a toy inventor and agent has also told me that toy companies often like to see ideas presented in this way too. Of course if you already have manufactured your invention then video is also a great way to promote it to your potential customers.

So now you are probably expecting me to say I am a video producer extraordinaire, well unfortunately not 🙁 . I have made a couple of screencast videos for my graphic design blog, talking through my design process, plus a few home videos of the dog, 🙂 but I have yet to use it to present an invention idea. Well ok, don’t tell anyone, but I did try to make one video to show off a golf gadget. I created a prototype and enlisted my boyfriend, the golfer, to be the demonstrator, but stupidly picked the windiest day of the year and the prototype kept blowing away, so I reverted back to a humble sell sheet. I do however think video is going to be the future way to present ideas and plan to try again soon.

Youtube lets you set your videos so that only people with a link can see them

YouTube now has a great feature which allows you to make your videos private, so only someone you send a link to can see it, you can read more about it here or check out the video below. This enables you to send a video link to a potential licensee after you have your signed NDA or provisional patent application in place.


Free Video Tutorials

I have done a fair bit of research on video creation and so would like to share with you a great resource which gives excellent tips on creating online videos. The video expert’s name is Gideon Shalwick and I have been following him for a while now. Gideon runs paid video courses but also gives away a lot of great free tutorials. I would highly recommend signing up for his free Rapid Video Blogging ebook and free mini courses (I am NOT using affiliate links here). Read the free book and watch Gideon’s great video tips for making videos with simple equipment. Once you are on Gideon’s mailing list he will send you further video tips and of course promote his video course. If like me, you can’t afford a course (though I am sure it’s good) at the moment just stick your fingers in your ears and continue with the free stuff. Another good book on video making for web is Get Seen by Steve Garfield

Different Ways of Creating Video

Using Skype with Call Recorder

It’s amazing the number of different ways you can create video nowadays, I use a little piece of software called Call Recorder (use Pamela on PC) to record my audio Inventor Podcast on Skype, but if you want you can also record video with it too. This could perhaps be used to interview people who have bought your invention product so they can give out testimonials.


There are free online screencasting sites and free downloadable screen casting software which allow you to record your computer screen. You could use these to talk through a presentation or you can use the more industry standard paid software such as Camtasia or Screenflow

Record direct from your webcam

Youtube will allow you to create videos direct from your webcam.

Video slideshows

You can also create video from a series of photos using a service like Animoto.


3D animation

Of course if you are a 3d whizz or know someone that is you could also make a 3d rendered animation of your invention. There are plenty of free and low cost 3D software options available too.

It’s about time I had another go at video, maybe a screen cast, it’s better for the camera shy like myself. Have you tried making videos of your inventions, how did you do it?