weekly feature | Feb 25, 2016 |
My first deal: Brian Patrick Flynn’s lighting line with Crystorama

By Katy B. Olson
Designer Brian Patrick Flynn is expanding his growing empire with a mid-price-point lighting collection for Crystorama. The first for Flynn, the licensing deal will feature pendants, sconces and more, all with “shapes, materials, sizes or applications I couldn’t find,” he says, “and therefore Crystorama and I decided to make them ourselves.” Flynn chatted with EAL about the ins and outs of developing and marketing his first product line.

Did you approach Crystorama for the licensing deal?
Crystorama approached me, but they were no strangers, like, at all. Back in 2011, I started using several of their fixtures again and again and again, all throughout the country. My favorite is the Astro, which I’ve used in a half dozen homes. And as my work started to get regularly published, we kept the lines of communication open, and then we met up at High Point last year over pizza and made this collection happen. And that's that. I think I stiffed them with the bill, now that I come to think of it.

Did you broker the deal yourself?
The brokering part is kinda numbers-y, and that is not something I generally love dealing with, because it has to do with logistically heavy things like manufacturing costs, passing code evaluations, the value engineering of packing and shipping, and lots of things that all come together to decide what kind of per-unit royalty makes sense to the designer. So I left the brokering part up to my agent, who is based in High Point, and that is kinda where I want my licensing agents to be, because they’re submerged in all things related to interior design. He did a great job and made it easy and actually kinda fun. Our first brainstorming session together in New York was more like a lunch party than work in any way, shape or form.

How do you envision your next licensing deal?
Probably high-fashion scarves for cats, or maybe stylish footwear for marsupials. Just kidding. In a perfect world, furniture would be happening in the near future, and I think the ultimate category I’d like to break into would be fabric and wallcovering. But lighting has been such a massive part of my aesthetic for so long that it truly is the perfect fit for my first licensing deal.

Let’s talk about the collection. What is it composed of?
Pendants and sconces, for both indoor and outdoor use. Most of the pieces came to fruition based on shapes, materials, sizes or applications I couldn’t find, and therefore Crystorama and I decided to make them ourselves. Aesthetically, the collection is pretty eclectic. We’ve got a lot of transitional pieces in super-classic finishes, but also some 1960s-inspired fixtures in fresh colors and with sizes that, until now, haven’t been available unless custom-made or scored from super-expensive antiques dealers overseas.

Did you work within any set parameters?
The only parameters we’ve really dealt with have been materials and finishes. Crystorama knows all about manufacturing and what can be done in what sort of time frame, realistically and with efficient shipping methods. So I pretty much come to the table with my CAD drawings and shoot for the moon, and then as a group, we pare things back or manipulate ideas as needed, until that original idea comes to life in a practical manner.

Why was Crystorama the right fit?
Overall, Crystorama and I are the perfect fit because we both love the middle price point. Sometimes, I have projects for which 30 percent of the budget can go to lighting. Other times, I may only have 5 to 10 percent allotted for it. So, having a range of styles available in the middle-price-point range allows designers to afford great lighting regardless of their budget constraints.

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