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Culture club: “Brand collabs help us make Vincent’s art and life accessible for diverse audiences”

LicensingSource chats to Rob Groot, md, Van Gogh Museum about how its licensing programme continues to develop, challenges and focuses for 2022.

“After a long period during which museums were forced to close due to the coronavirus restrictions, the second half of 2021 has been a little brighter for us so far. The Van Gogh Museum reopened in June, and we are slowly getting back on track with our activities.

The effect of the pandemic on our licensing activities was less pronounced, as licensing is not directly impacted by the museum being open or closed. In fact, we noticed that, especially in times when a visit to our museum is not a matter of course, brand collaborations offer us the possibility to make the art and life of Vincent van Gogh accessible for diverse audiences.

We’ve already launched several very exciting brand collaborations in 2021, helping us to reach new audiences all around the world. To highlight a few of them: in spring, we announced our long-term collaboration with the Dutch brand Royal Talens. We launched a collection of creative materials, which are now available in our webstore and through Royal Talens’ retail partners.”

Blueprint's stationery and gifting collection won Best Brand Licensed Gifting Product or Range at the B&LLAs earlier this year.
Blueprint's stationery and gifting collection won Best Brand Licensed Gifting Product or Range at the B&LLAs earlier this year.

“This summer, we announced the perfume Sunflower Pop, created in partnership with sustainable British brand Floral Street, our first fragrance partner (a deal brokered by Licensing Link Europe). The scent really celebrates the brightness of Van Gogh’s masterpiece Sunflowers. We are currently working on a range of scented living products, which will be available in spring 2022.

Following partnerships with Peacebird, MeetLady and Balabala, our latest collaboration in China is with DUIBAI, which is presenting an apparel collection that features contrasting colours from Van Gogh’s masterpieces at the Van Gogh Museum. And this autumn, we’ll present our collaboration with international lifestyle brand Manduka, a line of yoga equipment inspired by Van Gogh’s nature paintings.

We also are delighted that our brand collaborations are being noticed. At the B&LLAs 2021, our stationery and gifting collection with Blueprint Collections won in the category of Best Brand Licensed Gifting Product or Range, and were nominated in the Best Licensed Heritage or Institution Brand category. It goes without saying that this recognition motivates us to keep searching for great brand collaborations to help us inspire people around the world with Van Gogh’s work and life.

Our focus for the remainder of 2021 is on offering the best support to our partners and assisting wherever possible with the launches that are scheduled for Q4. We aim to reach the most diverse audience possible, and this will be reflected in our chosen categories and target groups. The world is cautiously getting back on its feet, and as such, we will also plan ahead for 2022.

Focusing on getting back to normal, but taking things one step at a time.”

This feature originally appeared in the autumn 2021 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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