• Kris Pepper

What Do You Have that People Love?

Updated: Jan 13, 2019


In 1936 when Sylvia Shaw Judson sculpted “Bird Girl” for a family’s plot in the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia, little did she know the commercial success it would bring. Flying ahead to 1994, Bird Girl was featured on the cover of the bestseller, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and the statue became an overnight hit. Fans of the book and movie flocked to Savannah to pick up poorly made knockoffs of the statue including framed prints, key chains, jewelry—everything you can imagine. This outraged the family of the original sculptor, who began legal measures to remove the reproductions from the marketplace.


There were two ways to manage this problem:

1. Fight a losing battle by trying to stop the knockoffs, or

2. Gain proprietary rights to the image and manage estate-approved, exclusive licensing for the replicas in a way that would honor the original artist and be profitable as well (which is what the family did).


Do you have something unique, useful, or relevant to your clients? Maybe, like the Judson family, you don’t even know you have it in your hands yet. Be mindful of what you have (or the services you provide) and be on the lookout for the demographic who will buy it, and how you can maximize its potential.



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