F13 Art Brand Management & Consulting
| what our clients say |
We are a small but nimble organization, proud to work with truly remarkable artists. We’re honored to be able to share testimonials from several of them here.
I often refer to two very different periods of my business: “before Betsy,” and “after Betsy.” As an illustrator who came upon success at a young age, I felt very accomplished, but overwhelmed when it came to the unfamiliar world of legal agreements and client relations… not to mention organizing my licenses, dealing with copyright infringement, defining my brand, and getting my business finances in order. One day Betsy stepped in and changed everything. With grace and care, she began working with my licensees and has since negotiated better terms for every contract I’m presented with. Betsy makes sure I’m involved in every business decision—I’m cc’d on every client e-mail and we go over every contract together. Because of our close relationship, I consider Betsy more of a business partner than a manager.
When we started working together, Betsy understood and respected that I had a very clear idea of my brand, but wanted to solidify it. We had a branding retreat/seminar (in an enchanting yurt under the Redwoods!) where we talked about Katie Daisy as a brand. Together, we defined my ideal client and customer, and the values that center me. I even envisioned myself and my business 5 years in the future. I felt that this information was in me all along, but Betsy was able to extract it in the most gentle, inspiring way and put it on paper. Now, I’m able to look back at my branding guidelines to decide whether working on a particular project is in alignment with my brand’s health and well-being.
Having Betsy as a business manager has been an absolute joy. Her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn is a breath of fresh air. She is one of the most intelligent and business-savvy women I have ever known and I am constantly inspired by her. We’ve already accomplished so much in the short time we’ve worked together—I can’t imagine what’s in store for the future!
Each conversation with Betsy leaves me feeling inspired, optimistic and focused. Who could ask for more than that?
I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Betsy! She’s a great sounding board who intuitively knows the best next steps to make your business succeed. I worked with Betsy to get a better understanding of how to transition from being a licensed artist to a branded artist. I had worked for many years as a licensed artist with a leading fine art publisher. This company also acted as my agent, handling all of my art licensing. After many years, and many transitions in the business, I decided to go out on my own and do self-licensing. However, I wanted to grow my business into an art brand, not just licensed art. Betsy was the first person I contacted. She gracefully encouraged me to let the business evolve as it was meant to be. I was looking for immediate results and she reassured me that success would come in time. And it has. And it’s still growing—just as Betsy had promised. I highly recommend Betsy for any step along the way of your creative journey. She is genuine, heartfelt, and an expert in the field. What more could you ask for?
For licensing artists, contract negotiations are par for the course. But I think most of us would admit that it’s the most dreaded part of what we do. Though I’ve grown to be more comfortable through the years, sometimes a contract situation comes up that is just beyond your abilities… or worse, a situation where you need to get out. When this happened for me, I was completely overwhelmed — I knew that I needed to handle the situation very delicately but I wasn’t sure how to approach it. I was feeling in over my head when I reached out to Betsy (who I had an immediate connection with; her warmth and good nature is undeniable), for advice on how to proceed.
Which is when I had the great fortune of connecting with Chuck.
As with many lawyer interactions I've had, I was prepared for an intimidating phone call filled with legal jargon I didn’t understand. But I was instantly relieved when I spoke to Chuck. He was kind, patient, understanding, and spoke to me in terms that I could fully comprehend. His approach was graceful, down-to-earth and collaborative — I truly felt like I had a partner to help me through the situation. It was a massive relief. He helped me figure out my goals and focus on them, helping me create a strategy for every possible angle, and approach the situation with a calmness and confidence. He helped me successfully negotiate, with a better outcome than I could have expected. Honestly, I’m not sure what I would have done without him. Out of a bad situation, came something really positive and good. I can’t thank Chuck enough.
I am often contacted by fellow artists asking if they can “pick my brain.” I am glad to occasionally give out free advice, however I can only help others get to the point where I am, in my own painting career. So where do I go when I need help advancing my own career goals? Enter Betsy Cordes.
Betsy reviewed my portfolio, social media accounts, and my answers to her extensive questionnaire. We then met for two hours via Skype to discuss all of it. She pointed out strengths and weaknesses I didn’t even know I had and gave me action steps to transform both to my advantage. Hello secret weapon!
I am so thankful that she has followed her passion and turned her strengths into a niche service that artists can use as a valuable tool. Can you imagine getting the full attention beamed at you for hours from a person who has worked for decades helping artists of all levels, supporting and advising them to achieve their dreams? She is a great resource for me and my questions, and I can refer her to others who come to me for advice when I don’t have time to sip coffee with them.
Plus her husband, Chuck Cordes, is a built-in copyright and intellectual property attorney who specializes in helping artists! Finding a professional like Chuck is always one tip I tell any artist who asks me for advice. Chuck has helped me tremendously already in the short amount of time I have known him.
Betsy and Chuck are a powerhouse team of experts that can clear up illusions of how the art world works, hold your hand while you navigate professional relationships, give your art brand building a serious boost, and provide legal advice. I am just thrilled to treat myself and my art career to their services. Thank you Betsy and Chuck!
I count my lucky stars, daily, for Betsy and Chuck. Before working with them, my business was in a pivotal moment and I needed a lot of guidance (and management) in several areas, including licensing management, getting clear about my vision/mission, building relationships with freelancers, and creating strategies to build my business while at the same time creating much needed time so that I could do what I love to do: create! After a year of having them on my team, I not only have more time to focus on the creative pieces of what I do, but I also have full confidence and trust in how my business is growing thanks to their helping me manage my brand on all levels. They are incredibly capable, highly respected, but also full of heart. I am constantly recommending them to all my creative friends and consider myself incredibly fortunate to have landed in their capable hands.
Working with Betsy is easily one of the best decisions I've made over the past year. I went from feeling uncertain about working with clients on custom illustration projects to feeling clear and empowered. I now have a strong understanding of how illustration fits into my graphic design business and a trusted advisor I can call on in a pinch if I need some back up finalizing a licensing contract. My favorite part was when we took it a step further and Betsy actually reviewed my portfolio, gave me amazing feedback, and helped me establish a plan to grow! It takes special folks to handle law, coaching and art direction at the same time. F13 is truly a valuable resource!
I came to Betsy with a big vision for a new brand, Art+Alchemy. I was ready to make changes, but struggled with where to start. Betsy helped me bring it all to life, coaching me through my sense of overwhelm with a gentle spirit that kept me focused on my goals and helped me honor the progress I was making toward them. With her licensing industry and art business experience, I knew that I was in good hands from the start. Betsy delivered consistently and beyond my expectations, always providing just the right tools, resources, design feedback, brand strategy, moral support and more. Her nurturing and thorough approach boosted my confidence, and supported me as I launched a new art brand that fully embodies my heart and my story.
I am really happy with the insight and goals that came out of our conversation. I appreciate your combination of constructive critique and your intuition. This gives me some good things to work on over the next few months.
I met Betsy through word of mouth referrals when I began exploring licensing opportunities for my photography/design work after over a decade of success in publishing. I was immediately impressed by Betsy’s knowledge of and experience in the world of licensing and her obvious love of helping artists realize their goals which really shows in her warm, personal approach. Since I began working with Betsy she's helped me get my first licensing projects off the ground by assisting me with pitching my work to prospective licensees, facilitating partnerships, and consulting on contract reviews. Throughout the process Betsy has supported me when pursuing the things I know how to do and am comfortable with doing myself, while providing guidance to understand and execute the things I did not understand — for example, her skills as a representative guided an introduction to a prospective licensee and successfully positioned and empowered me to execute an agreement on my own. I have learned so much from Betsy and am super excited about the new opportunities for my work she has helped create.
Having Betsy on board my solo creative adventure feels like having the very best of all worlds rolled up into one. I love what I do and most days feel quite motivated, grateful, and happy to just keep on keepin' on. But there are also days when being the boss of a growing business is overwhelming in ways that can easily crush the creative spirit. Like most art entrepreneurs I'm really in this for the creative parts—the businessy parts not so much. Yet I know how incredibly important those other non-creative parts are to ensure a thriving, growing and sustainable business.
Betsy brought the best of everything to "my" table. She's like having an agent and a coach, one who's learned my strengths and challenges and has helped push me (gently) to be the best I can be. She's my confidante and sounding board, a best girlfriend, my own personal cheering squad and accountability partner. And she'll tell me like it is when I need most to hear it. She motivates and encourages me, and she has celebrated large along with me my many recent successes. She's helped me to set realistic and achievable goals for my business and helped me to learn to create better, more efficient business practices—scheduling, systems, organizational tools. She’s also given me great advice on my licensing contracts and helped me get a better handle on my social media marketing. The result is that the business side of my creative world runs more smoothly and is far less likely to feel daunting.
Above all that, Betsy is also one of the most genuine people I've known. I can't remember how or where I first heard about February 13 Creative back in the fall of 2013 but I know this for sure: our meeting was meant to be!
I am so happy that I was referred to Betsy and Chuck in 2015, what an amazing and experienced team! Chuck has been so great to work with on the legal side; whether it is simple advice, an in-depth contract review or building my base contract from scratch, he has been invaluable to my business in the short time we have been working together.
And Betsy, let's just talk about her for a minute… quite possibly the most kind, genuine and knowledgeable woman I have spoken with. I had all of these business dreams and ideas and fears tucked away in my mind for years; how to expand, how to work more efficiently, do I have a recognizable brand identity, do I want to grow into wholesale, a lifestyle brand, all of those burning questions. After spending an hour talking with Betsy during my brand session, the answers became clearer. She helped to prioritize, set aside the things that were less important and focus on the action steps to make the big ideas happen! I felt so refreshed and motivated after our chat and look forward to making it a bi-annual check in.
Thank you, February 13 Creative!
Betsy and I met a while back through mutual contacts in the art licensing industry and went on to collaborate on a fun project for Madison Park Greetings. I always admired Betsy's thoughtful, insightful, steady approach to her work as well as her creativity. When she began consulting
I found myself at a crossroads in my career. After 2008, many industries
I had depended on were challenged and the marketplace was changing.
I needed to rethink my direction and thought it could be an opportunity to do the type of artwork
I previously didn’t have time for.
I decided to work with Betsy and it was the perfect conversation at the perfect time in my professional development. Betsy had so many great suggestions and insights. She picked up on my anxiety about pushing myself in new directions. After we hung up the phone I scribbled on a post-it note “replace anxiety with intention.” They were my words, but Betsy’s message. I stuck it on my computer and it is still stuck there today. Shortly after our conversation I created a piece of artwork that became a turning point for me. I did a promotional mailer with this new image through my literary agent and multiple offers came. I have had children’s book contracts with major publishers lined up ever since that card went out, including a really fabulous opportunity I couldn’t have dreamed of. Recently, recollecting on this wonderful new direction in my career, I connected the dots back to that conversation with Betsy, and that little post-it note. As new opportunities arise I am hopeful to work with Betsy again. I highly recommend her and the services she offers through F13 Brand Management and Consulting.
Note from Betsy: Jan Avellana first published the words below on Instagram. I’m grateful for her permission to repost them here. This is really a testimonial for Jan and her diligent work. which is just the way I like it! I’m guided in this work by my firm conviction that my clients are their own best advisors and advocates. I listen and observe; then I drop ideas, questions and suggestions that I intuit will help my client find her own way. Jan’s reflection is so inspiring to me, and I hope to you, too!
"Read yourself." — Betsy Cordes, February 13 Creative
When I asked Betsy over at February 13 Creative to recommend something to read to further my journey and gain more clarity on my creative direction, without hesitation she said, "Read yourself." That seemed like silly advice at the time because surely there were experts who could give me the answers I seek. I mean, what the heck do I know?! But then, I went back through my journals and nine years’ worth of blogging and I discovered the obvious expert on me was (of course) me. It is a painful, vulnerable exercise in unearthing desires, and practicing getting really clear about who I am, what I want, what feels right for me and why. It's like examining all of yourself — bumpy parts, saggy bits, while standing naked in front of a mirror — and learning to accept each and every part. So I've been lying fallow for the last couple of months, grieving some truths I re-learned about myself and learning to listen to my heart. It's really, truly the hardest thing. I can't seem to hold onto the things I've confessed or dreamed about out loud without them slipping through my fingers like sand through a sieve. I dismiss these truths I've spoken and written of, like flies at a picnic. But as I've stood in the emptiness these past couple of months, I practiced listening, validating myself, affirming what I feel and know to be true for me and slowly learning to be ok with who I am and why. I need quiet. Peace. Stability and financial security. Writing and art, and much more generous margins of uninterrupted downtime in my life. There is still so much I want to gain clarity on, but for today, this is what I know. And it's enough.
You can check out Jan’s original post, here on Instagram, where it’s accompanied by a small painting she did of my words. The first time I’ve been quoted in an artwork!
When I came to Betsy, I knew I needed to make some changes to the way I was working, but I didn’t really know where to start or where to focus, and I wasn’t even clear on exactly what I wanted. So basically, it turned out I needed a business therapist, and Betsy turned out to be a phenomenal one. She helped me clarify some major decisions, personal and professional goals, and the mission of why I was showing up to work every day. The two days we spent working together ended up being the catalyst for some huge, much-needed changes in my business in 2016, and I’m so grateful for her help.
At the same time, we began working with Chuck on the constant stream of IP issues, trademarks, contracts and everything else that comes with owning a creative business. Chuck is now an important member of our team, and we feel very lucky to be working with him. He’s pragmatic and kind, explains complex legal issues clearly and concisely, and is very good at helping us determine which battles to choose. We love Chuck and Betsy, and I recommend them every chance I get!
My creative consultation with Betsy is probably the single best investment I’ve made in my business to date. Betsy was smart, organized and focused on my concerns throughout the consultation. I confess I hesitated for a good while before considering a creative consultant, as my business is a small one, but the information she shared in our two hours together showed me that size doesn’t always equal value; that it’s ok to be small and grow at my own pace; that small doesn’t mean inconsequential. Before Betsy, I believed my many varied creative interests showed a lack of focus; I thought that part of my personality was a detriment to my business. Betsy was able to help me tap into this piece of myself and see it as a plus, not a negative. She helped me prioritize and let go of things that were not serving me, and embrace others that will. In short, I feel re-energized and, more important for me, validated in my own abilities. I couldn’t be more pleased, and look forward to working with her again.