Licensing furniture and/or selling to stores

Hi Guys

I have a number of furniture/product designs which I would love to license to international distributors. I am receiving a lot of interest in my
products but I have not got the means or finances to develop and manufacture them myself. Can anyone here suggest how a designer normally approaches Large companies (Vitra, classicon etc) with designs, or do they usually come to you?

If the licensing does not work out, I reckon I am going to have to bite the bullet and go it myself, and in that case can anybody here tell me the best way to approach furniture stores with new designs, and what the usual mark up on home products and furniture would be, especially in the UK and Europe. Any tips or advice on any of the above will be greatly appreciated
as it is so difficult to find this information!

Thanks in advance

large furniture companies develop relations with designers through networking. also, good press about your work in publications will also get you noticed. mainly, it’s about who you know.

i realize this thread is at least a month old, but what I’d really like to know, is how does a designer prevent some company from stealing his designs? eg. they turn you down after your presentation, but then you see a product just like that out in stores later on made by them? i mean does every single idea/product need to be patented before one goes out to market them? that would be incredibly expensive and time consuming i reckon.

any thoughts anyone?

You don’t, unless you have a lot of money. Lawyers are expensive. Designers (or at least the ones who post on the internet) seem to worry about it all out of proportion to the scale of the problem. Half the threads in here are people asking how they keep companies from “stealing their designs.” American and European companies (and most Asian ones too for that matter) as a rule are not going to invite you to submit something and then steal it once you leave. I’m sure it’s happened, but it doesn’t happen a lot more often that it does. Once it reaches the marketplace someone might copy you, but what can you do? Don’t worry about it. If you’re making something at the high end, a cheap low end knockoff is not affecting your business to any significant degree. And if you’re at the lower end, the key is to deliver value- that’s much harder to copy than a design.