LicensingSource catches up with Mordy Benaiah to find out how the licensee is looking to reap the benefits from some major investments as the business celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
“2021 was in some ways a more challenging year than 2020,” begins Mordy Benaiah, licensing director of Pyramid International. “Hard to imagine that after all the Covid and Brexit disasters of 2020, but the complications in getting stock produced and shipped from China and rising costs have made it very difficult to operate.”
Thankfully, though, armed with some strong licences and products matched with Pyramid’s drive and energy, the company succeeded in making 2021 a good year overall.
Mordy continues: “The strength of Disney, Warner Bros., Nintendo and Netflix brands (especially Squid Game which came from nowhere) have all done their part in providing us great and stable licences to sell. The surprise mainly from a UK perspective is the rise in anime/manga which is surging in retail at present. Great streaming and genuine interest in these programmes have driven new sales growth in areas we didn’t expect.
“Pyramid products cover a wide range, but we have seen amazing sales across hydration and gifting that sell so well, combined with our other product areas. One of our core strengths is our ability to mix and sell product cross category.”
With 2022 marking the licensee’s 30th anniversary, Pyramid is also eyeing further growth and continuing to make major investments in the business.
Mordy explains: “Like everyone facing rising costs and delays/issues from China, we wanted to have more independence. So, In December 2021, we opened a new POD facility in Leicester to give us more room to manufacture in-house. Pyramid has for many years been manufacturing wall art and printing mugs, but we decided to invest heavily on new state of the art machinery to expand what we can do. This investment brings into us new mug ovens from the US which are more efficient and higher quality. We will be making in-house more designs offering speed to retail and a lot of options.”
In addition, Pyramid has also pushed itself into the world of fashion, representing brands like Cobra Kai, Stranger Things, Squid Game, Pusheen and the Warner Bros. slate. “We can make in-house t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags and a lot more… add to that all the wall art areas and then bring drop ship and personalisation into the new world in which we all live and it gets very interesting,” Mordy adds. “The apparel areas are quite new to us, but we will also be launching a new range of tableware for Harry Potter, Friends, Star Wars and Marvel Comics this year. This is a totally new area for us and we are excited to push further into home areas.”
When it comes to territories, most new growth is likely to come from areas like CEE, the Middle East and South America, with Mordy saying that the company will be pushing “a lot harder into Europe, especially with the new categories”.
Looking at potential challenges for the year ahead, Covid will, of course, continue to throw curveballs, with Mordy admitting that it looks like this will continue for a while. He continues: “We really hope we can get back to major trade shows to conduct face to face business with our buyers and showcase the new products. The online world continues to evolve and we have a great team working on how to grow that further and really get our products seen in the widest way possible.”
However, there is lots to look forward to and there is an overall feeling of optimism about the business and its plans.
“I am looking forward to finally seeing all the movies delayed from 2021 like Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World: Dominion and Minions come out and supported with products which have been delayed,” Mordy offers. “Streaming has made a huge impact so the likes of The Witcher, Stranger Things 4, The Mandalorian season three and Obi Wan are all going to be fantastic for the industry. Pyramid will have some amazing content planned for all of these and more.
“What I would want more than anything in 2022 is some stability. It has been a rough two years for all, so getting back to a point of normality would be amazing for us. Otherwise, we are going to push ourselves hard again to grow and achieve our goals,” Mordy concludes.
30 years of Pyramid
2022 marks Pyramid’s 30th anniversary, with Mordy telling LicensingSource that it’s hard to believe that the company has been around for three decades.
“When I joined the business back in 2002, we were essentially a poster company with around 40 staff in a modest office/warehouse in Blaby, Leicester,” he says. “At that time, we only had a handful of licences, mainly based around music and television. I came into Pyramid with a licensing background, having worked for Scandecor and Starline (now Trends International), bringing with me the entertainment knowledge and so, started to build a solid licensing platform for the business. We then began to push ourselves and our creativity into more products. Our ceo Ally Mayer was always a great thinker and had a vision to expand the business into a global market.”
Pyramid America (based in New York) opened first, with the company then buying into Impact Posters in Australia. As Mordy elaborated, from there Pyramid opened offices in Germany, France and Hong Kong building to the picture today with combined staff of over 200 worldwide with creative teams in the UK, Germany and the US. Still very much full of gumption, Mordy added: “Into 2022 we will still be looking to expand further into the CEE, LATAM and Japan.” The top of the Pyramid has yet to be reached!