When Sonya Griffith opened the packet of holographic stickers, she said “it was like Christmas in my mailbox.”
Those tiny, reflective stickers were her ticket to selling licensed Husker items at her Kearney storefront.
Griffith is part of the first crop of local vendors to nab crafters licenses from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The program, new this year, allows local craftspeople and small businesses to sell Husker-branded goods, said Lonna Henrichs, UNL’s director of licensing and branding. Under the program, licensees can sell up to 500 items or net $2,500 in revenue, whichever comes first. The university awarded 118 licenses this summer.
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Wooden door signs, like the ones Griffith sells, are among the most popular items being sold through the program, Henrichs said. Other items include metal signs, jewelry, and pet collars, leashes and beds.
Products must be made by hand, rather than with an automated process.
Without the license, Griffith had to turn down customer requests for décor items that said “Huskers” or “Go Big Red” at her country stores, called The Rustic Patch, in Kearney and Broken Bow, Nebraska.
There is a list of exceptions to the program: Crafters cannot sell apparel, headwear, drinkware, tailgate games, consumables, decals or digital downloads.
Griffith shipped off five sample door hangers to Henrichs’ office. All were approved, but Griffith opted to produce only three. The door hangers are about 23 inches wide. Henrichs wants the decorations to be visible from down the block.
Griffith made 40 signs, each priced at $60. She’s able to sell six more signs before she hits the revenue limits imposed by the license.
Any changes to products being sold require university approval. Henrichs said they check to make sure logos and branding are current.
“I like to make sure my i’s are dotted and my t’s are crossed,” Griffith said. “It’s a lot of detail work and it’s worth it at the end.”
It’s gone well enough for Griffith that she plans to pursue a local license with the university.
Local licenses don’t limit the number of items sold or revenue brought in like the crafters license.
They require a $100 application fee, and the university takes royalties on the products. Royalties range from 14% to 16%, Henrichs said. The crafters license does not require royalties to the university.
Michaela Lampert started sewing up hair bows as a hobby.
The Omaha woman was looking for a way to test the licensing waters with her bow business, Pipsqueak Bowtique. The crafters license gave her the perfect opportunity.
“You always wonder how well something will do,” Lampert said. “It’s great to not (have to) put a huge investment out there and to see how people respond.”
Within two hours of posting the Husker bow options to her business’ Facebook page, Lampert took 50 orders.
This year’s license application period is closed. The window to apply in 2020 runs from July 1 to July 31 and costs $150.
The licenses are good for one fiscal year and must be renewed annually.
Griffith said she would encourage other local craftspeople to try the crafters license when next year’s application period opens.
“Go for it,” she said. “You just never know. It’s a great thing they did for us to be able to give it a try.”