When Paul and Lana Jane met they had no idea that one day they would be partners in an art licensing business. Paul was a talented artist and Lana Jane was already the Senior Vice-President of her family’s supermarket and convenience store business. Paul worked for architecture firms and later started his own home design business. Lana Jane became President and CEO of her retail food industry business listed on the American Stock Exchange when her father passed away.
Paul began showing and selling his original paintings and then began publishing prints of his work. Lana Jane gave him advice on business decisions such as how to hire employees, and how to set up a small business. Paul’s business in print publishing took off and he began licensing his work in 1988.
Lana Jane was recognized as one of the top women in business by Working Woman Magazine and joined the Committee of 200, an organization made up of the top women executives in America. Paul began licensing his work to home décor manufacturers including Springs and Seabrook Wallcovering. Along the way the two collaborated with Paul designing annual reports for Lana Jane, and designing exteriors, interiors and signage for her stores. During this time they also had two sons that they equally helped raise.
When Lana Jane had the opportunity to sell her stores (350) in 1992, it was a natural for her to join Paul in the publishing and art licensing business. He wisely suggested that she become President of the firm and he then became Vice President.
While working together on many business issues they separated tasks according to each partner’s ability. Paul created the art work and was the idea creator for collections and new directions. Lana Jane took responsibility for financial matters, as well as directing all business concerns in their gallery, publishing and art licensing business. Lana Jane handles all business matters and legal issues. When the print publishing business began to change, that part of the business was licensed to a print and poster publisher, Gango Editions, and the two focused on their gallery and art licensing business. Prints were now just another license to create art for, along with canvas reproductions and other forms of wall décor.
Their business has been rated one of the top 100 licenses by License Magazine and they have agreements with over 90 manufacturers who produce products in home décor, stationery, apparel and gift categories. Paul specializes in coastal subjects and paints in watercolor, oil, and pen and ink. The Brents’ business, Paul Brent Designer, Inc., has sold over one million prints and Paul has created over 100 coordinated wallpaper designs.
Today Paul and Lana Jane continue to run their business together and have a gathered a lot of insight into what makes a good marital and business relationship. Additionally they have known couples who share business responsibilities and have talked with them and shared common issues like: when does the business end and the marriage begin, who is responsible for what in the business and marriage, how do you negotiate when you have differing opinions?
While many artists in art licensing share duties in their business with a spouse, many of these issues are the same with business partners that are not married. These and other topics will be discussed in the upcoming tele-seminar hosted by Tara Reed on Wednesday Nov.16th at 5:30 pm Pacific / 7:30 pm Central / 8:30 pm Eastern.