“In reality owning an online business throughout the effects of the pandemic has been a real blessing.”
Like many businesses, Vanilla Underground originally started from a spare bedroom, in this case belonging to husband and wife team, Jason and Deniz Yarnell. While this was back in 2010, until last year the online retailer had been somewhat light on press coverage. Then two things happened: it hired Laura Kelly – a familiar face in the licensing industry thanks to her tenure at Fashion UK – as brand marketing and licensing manager, and it appeared in The Sunday Times Fast Track 100, which recognises Britain’s top 100 privately owned companies with the fastest-growing sales over their latest three years.
“2020 certainly had its moments and threw many challenges our way, but in reality owning an online business throughout the effects of the pandemic has been a real blessing and, fortunately, we were able to grow due to the increased demand for our products online,” Deniz tells us. “Our USP is that we are a one stop licensing destination online. We always want to keep our product offering fresh and exciting for our customers while being able to provide licensed products for the whole family, where customers can come to our store and find something for everyone. This means covering all bases, from hugely popular licences to up and coming brands, or even ones that have smaller cult followings.”
Vanilla Underground currently stocks products from over 150 licensed brands across TV, movies and gaming. Deniz explains that numerous projects are underway with licences the retailer felt had bigger potential or that had generally been uncatered for when it comes to licensed merchandise. “You will start to see the new promotions and licence activations trickling through as we move into Q2 this year,” she says.
Continuing to successfully navigate the challenges from the pandemic and Brexit are undoubtedly key for 2021, but Deniz also shares: “Mostly it would be to continue strengthening the awareness of our brand as a destination for licensed merchandise and certainly injecting some fun into that journey, for both ourselves and our customers along the way.”