Source finds out how the licensee has continued to grow and its future plans.
Having recovered from the busy Q4 period, Enesco wasted no time in launching its silver anniversary celebrations at Spring Fair this year. The company showcased over 800 new lines and nine new collections at the show, proving there is no sign of the gift and collectable licensee slowing down any time soon.
Helen, who also celebrated 25 years with the company in 2018, explains the strategy for the coming year: “After the huge product launch we had in January, we will very much be focusing on creating, marketing and selling the very best within the licences we now have.”
The impressive start to 2019 followed a successful year in 2018 for the company, which saw the portfolio change to be much more global, with more products being sold in the US and Europe than ever before.
Despite the trend for collectables having slowed since the company’s conception in the 90s, Enesco has not been affected by the changes. Helen explains: “I believe it has a lot to do with our values as a company. We strive to offer exclusive, high quality giftware. We protect our brands, limit exposure and seek out the best retailers and distributors across the UK and Europe.”
She continues: “As the company has matured, we have found our niche, what makes us special and with licensed properties, we are also somewhat protected from cheap copies.”
Launching at the very height of the collectables era in 1994, Enesco started life offering brands such as Cherished Teddies, Lilliput Lane and Border Fine Arts. And in fact, its licensed portfolio began over 30 years ago with Beatrix Potter back when Border Fine Arts was a standalone company.
Enesco now boasts nine licences, with a further six sitting under the Disney umbrella. The Disney brands range from Disney Showcase, which features all the best-loved characters such as Mary Poppins, in figures and gifts; through to the Disney Enchanting Collection, featuring functional homewares including bamboo tableware, ceramic moneyboxes and imaginative figurines based on the likes of Dumbo, Stitch and Simba.
“Disney has been our most successful licence to date,” Helen explains. “A rare licence which appeals to almost every market.”
The portfolio also includes some heavyweight properties – Peppa Pig, Harry Potter, DC Comics, Pusheen and Jimmy the Bull. And the original Beatrix Potter licence still has a starring role in the offering.
With so many ranges in its portfolio, Enesco strives to ensure it is continually offering innovative lines for each property which work for the individual audiences. Helen comments: “We have a very strong and experienced product team across the globe. With subsidiaries in the UK, France, US, Canada and Asia, we all share our ideas, but them also develop product with more regional appeal.”
This approach obviously serves the company well as the ranges are currently exported to over 40 countries worldwide. The UK sales team, headed up by the UK sales director and national business manager, comprises seven area sales managers and two national accounts managers. As well as a carefully selected retailer base, the company also now sells direct to consumer via its website.
The German operation services German, Austrian and Swiss markets, while the French office covers France, Italy and Spain, with a network of agents and distributors servicing Scandinavia, Holland, Belgium, Russia, South African, Greece and Australasia.
But despite their idiosyncrasies, the secret to success across all of these markets for successful licensed gift ranges is simple, as Helen succinctly explains: “Quality and innovation.”
The marketing campaigns behind each of the ranges are carefully crafted to serve the individual audiences, with a huge range of touchpoints. Helen heads up this department: “Marketing really does depend on the brand, but we have our website, we still print full sets of catalogues, trade advertising, press releases. We use Filament PR to seek out any online blogging and consumer opportunities.”
She continues: “Then of course, we are on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, with many individual brand pages. We also attend the major trade fairs, we host our own regional events and support retailers at consumer events like Comic Con.”
Despite the anniversary festivities having already been enjoyed with retailers earlier in the year, the team is still working on plans for well-deserved company-wide celebrations, but Helen assures us of one thing – it will definitely involve food.
The Gund story
Enesco sold the Gund brand to Spin Master in April 2018, ten years after it acquired the plush portfolio. The company handed over design of all the lines except the Gund Peter Rabbit range, which Helen describes as ‘a very important part of our portfolio.’
Enesco remains the distributor for Gund in the UK and certain European markets to independent gift retailers.
The partnership with Spin Master now also extends beyond the Gund brand, with Enesco also acting as distributor from this year for Moonlite, Fuggler and Marbles the Brain Store Games.
Outside of Gund, Enesco also offers an extensive Beatrix Potter range featuring homewares, toiletries, gifts and – new for 2019 – the Peter Rabbit Baby collection.