A Day in the Life: Lucy Salisbury, director of licensing, Funko EMEA

From early morning dog walks, through to product development team meetings, licensor business reviews and Succession, the popular Funko exec takes us through her day.

My working day: Lucy Salisbury, director of licensing, Funko EMEA

Over the course of her 20-year career, Lucy enjoyed stints at Ministry of Sound, ITV Studios and Saban Brands before landing “the best job in licensing” at Funko five years ago. Her role encompasses traditional licensing management – pitches, contracts, forecasts and more – as well as working closely with Funko’s major licensors on joint business planning, an approach that is resulting in “big results” for the company and its partners.

6.30am: I do two days a week in the office and three days at home, but I usually get up at 6.30am regardless. If it’s a home day I get to fit in a workout or take my whippet cross, Dora, for a walk before I sit at my desk. My commute from Bermondsey to Funko’s West London HQ isn’t so bad – around 40 minutes.

8am: I’m typically online between 8am and 7pm, and sometimes longer; we’re a US company so I might need to make or take calls from the West Coast. Before I even switch on my computer, though, I sit and think: ‘What’s the one thing I have to achieve today?’ If you dive straight in to checking emails, you get bogged down really easily and end up doing the minor stuff instead of focusing on your goals. So I start by writing down one big thing and maybe a couple of smaller things I need to get done, and those are my targets for the day.

9am: I’ll start making or taking calls. Funko has over 1,000 licences, so it’s always mega busy. Essentially, my job breaks down into a couple of key areas. I’ll sign deals with EMEA-based licensors, then, once the deal is done, I work with our internal product development and marketing teams to really understand what that property is about and what the fans are looking for, with a view to creating really cool products they’ll love.

IndyJonesFunkoFrom starting out making niche bobbleheads, Funko has grown into this immense pop culture and collectables business – and, along the way, it has become the world’s largest proprietor of licences. We get to support more of the licencing industry than anyone else; we’re investing in all these different types of IP, supporting so many fandoms, and I get to work with incredible companies, from the world’s biggest movie studios to gaming companies, record labels and sports brands. I think I might just have the best job in licensing!

10.30am: I might have a meeting with the product development team to discuss a particular property. If it’s an entertainment property, we’ll talk about whether there are any key scenes that we can turn into Funko Pop! Moments, like our two-pack of Darth Vader fighting Luke Skywalker.

11.30am: I might conduct a business review with a licensor, have a business development call with a retailer or do some trouble-shooting. With that number of licences and many renewals and acquisitions on the go at any one time, managing that size of rights roster can have challenges. But one thing that we always do at Funko after completing any project is sit down and review it as a team. We look at what went really well – the ‘wins’ – and what we learnt, and what we’d change next time. That way we can just tweak the process each time, and it’s pretty much eliminated a lot of hiccups.

Loungefly12.30pm: I make sure to take a full hour for lunch. If it’s a home day, Dora might get another walk, or I might prep some food for me and my husband. I love to cook!

1.30pm: I might get stuck in to some project work. One of the biggest projects I’ve overseen recently has involved delivering a major shift in focus for the licensing team, to concentrate on best in class joint business planning. We are proactively growing the joint business of Funko and our licensor partners, making sure Funko is part of all licensor activations in the territories and leveraging licensor resources in-market to develop distribution and presence at retail. It’s a really exciting drive for the business and we’re seeing big results, for us and our partners.

3pm: I might have a senior management team meeting, or I might prepare some forecasts or review a 100-page licence agreement. To be honest, I never do the same thing at the same time on any given day, which is part of the reason I love my job so much.

BittyPop4.45pm: I might have a plane or a train to catch. There’s quite a bit of travel involved in my job, whether it’s visiting licensing shows like the Vegas Expo or BLE, or the toy fairs in Nuremburg or London. Funko is also involved in a couple of dozen trade and consumer events across EMEA and we attend some of those as well.

5pm: If it’s an office day, I’ll head home, but I might do another hour or two of work when I get there. I really, really enjoy what I do, and I honestly don’t think there’s anywhere else like Funko. What I love most is the way the company works really hard to create the best type of products for the fans, from our micro 2.5cm Bitty Pops – which have just had a fantastic European launch – and our core 12cm figures that retail for around £13, to our Loungefly range, which I believe is the best licensed accessory collection in the world! And now Funko has acquired Mondo, so we can offer fans super-high-end, very high-quality collectibles as well. All through the value chain, there’s a brilliant execution of product, for multiple licences. Funko truly does have something for everyone.

7.30pm: I’ll rustle up something for my husband and I to eat. We might settle down in front of a show (I’m addicted to Succession) with a glass of wine, or play football on the PlayStation. Going out is mostly a weekend thing these days, but I do have a Pioneer DJ mixer setup at home, so you might catch me mixing some tunes from my youth – badly!

10.30: I try to get to bed at a decent time, but I’ll usually spend an hour or so reading. I’m a passionate sci-fi reader, and I love history. I guess I’m a little bit nerdy that way!

If you would like to appear in LicensingSource.net’s A Day in the Life column, simply email Samantha Loveday or Tessa Clayton.

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