Source checks in with director Anne Bradford to find out more about the growth of the new division and 2021 plans.
It’s been well over a year now since apparel licensee Poetic Brands set out its stall to establish a baby and childrenswear division, complementing its successful adult offer.
“When I walked through the doors of Poetic Brands for the first time over a year ago and someone had said that it was going to be a tough year, I would have agreed with them without having a heads up on what was to come,” offers Anne Bradford, who joined the licensee to head up the new division, bringing with her a wealth of experience from her time at Blues Clothing and TVM Fashion Lab.
Despite the difficulties of 2020, however, Poetic Brands’ new arm has got off to a solid start. The end of last year saw it announce a slew of signings including The Baby Club, Brambly Hedge, Tiny Tatty Teddy, Gigantosaurus and Early Learning Centre. At the same time, it’s continued to build its older portfolio, too, with Sunny Side Up’s Let’s Get Lyrical, Van Gogh Museum, FIFA and Fender among the new additions.
2021 has also seen it confirm a deal for three of Moonbug Entertainment’s properties – CoComelon, Blippi and Morphle.
“We have received incredible support from our customers and licensors alike who have taken time to listen to what we are doing as a business and we have subsequently taken on a number of licences that we truly believe in and are committed to delivering,” Anne tells us. “We are growing licences into categories that they may not have been in before and creating cohesive ranges and collections. As a new business everything that we sign is ‘big’ to us. We won’t commit to anything without truly believing that we can deliver it and create something commercial around it.”
Anne continues: “We have been thrilled to have the opportunity to work on some incredible properties going forwards and are very much looking forward to seeing these launch at retail.”
Talking more about the setting up of the new division, Anne explains that the company identified gaps in the supply chain and product offerings that it could fulfil. “Poetic Brands adults business was already set up with all major high street retailers with active factories so there was no need for us to be set up as a new supplier, so we were able to start trading immediately,” she says. “Our factory base is vast and we can produce all categories and articles from babywear, daywear, outerwear and swimwear across adults and kids. We also have the capability to produce accessories and luggage, so there are a huge amount of opportunities for product extensions with any licences that we sign.”
Anne acknowledges that Poetic Brands will be facing the same challenges as everyone else in 2021 – “retailers actually being able to trade and goods being able to move” – but all it can do is continue to be as agile as possible and navigate the way through.
“We have been hugely fortunate to be able to grow over the course of 2020,” she offers. “This year I’d like us to be recognised for the team’s design excellence and ability to deliver beautiful, fun, commercial and cohesive ranges. I have worked with a number of team members over the years and it’s been incredible to bring them all together again.”
Having started her career as a buyer, Anne is in the key position of understanding what it’s like from a retailer perspective. “It’s imperative that we deliver on each and everything that we say we will,” she concludes. “In an ideal world there would be no issues, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. The integrity of how we work with our customers and factories has always been incredibly important to me personally and will continue to be for years to come.”
Numerous trends emerged through the prolonged lockdown period of 2020, which Poetic Brands believes now present a number of opportunities.
“Gaming is still key to so many, but in addition to this there has been a huge amount of engagement in other areas as children and adults have reconnected with board games and books and are generally feeling nostalgic and looking for feel good properties to engage with,” says Anne. “We know that content is being constantly streamed and watched 24/7, allowing children and adults alike to connect with what they want to when they want to.
“Launching a new show is no longer at the mercy of a limited amount of broadcasting channels and as such the landscape is growing at a huge pace. There will always be much loved evergreens, but there are now a huge amount more out there to choose from and this will continue to evolve.”
Anne continues: “Families have also re connected with each other. I personally love the fact that most nights we are able to sit down together around a table and talk about anything and everything. Life is normally so fast paced with juggling work, travel, kid’s clubs and activities.”
People have identified the importance of families and friends and there are many positives that will come from this.